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Hospital Fires Employees for HIPAA Violations

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—U.S.

June 22, 2011

The Des Moines Register reports that a medical assistant has been fired for violating patient privacy after she reported that her colleague was doing just that. The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics fired medical assistant Shawn Sterner after she reported to her employer that she had looked over the shoulder of a coworker who was examining patient files without authorization to do so. In reporting the incident, Sterner used the patient's name. The hospital claims Sterner violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) when she glanced at the file and when she identified the patient's name to her employer. The hospital recently fired other employees for HIPAA violations.
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