California's Northern Inyo Hospital Suffers Insider Data Breach

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The Inyo Register reports that Cherie LaBraque, a former employee at Northern Inyo Hospital in Bishop, Calif., inappropriately accessed a patient's medical record a total of 14 times (h/t PHIprivacy.net).

The patient, Tami Matteson, told the Northern Inyo Hospital Board that her medical records were accessed in an attempt by LaBraque to help Matteson's ex-husband gain leverage in a custody battle -- LaBraque is now married to Matteson's ex-husband.

The first 13 breaches happened over a two-day period in 2010 during which LaBraque wrote letters to the court regarding the custody battle, according to Matteson.

Hospital Administrator John Halfen told the Inyo Register that the hospital confirmed that a breach did take place, and that LaBraque was fired immediately. "What happened is, we had a corporately trained and trusted employee (in the hospital records department) who took advantage of that trust and accessed protected information. ... Every employee is aware of their responsibilities and the hospital can only do so much in the case of a rogue employee," Halfen said.

Regarding the possibility of future breaches, Halfen said, "We have a computer system that tells us who got into what files, the time and date and what they did. If anyone feels their medical files may have been accessed, we can check. The only thing is, we need to know to look."