At least 12 Washington Health System employees suspended following potential HIPAA violation

Alyssa Rege -

Approximately a dozen Washington (Pa.) Health System employees were suspended after an internal investigation of alleged inappropriate access to patient records, a health system official confirmed to the Observer-Reporter June 18.

WHS Vice President of Strategy and Clinical Services Larry Pantuso told the Observer-Reporter he was unsure how many employees had been suspended, but said the number may be higher or lower than the reported 12 individuals. He also confirmed the employees involved did have access to patient records, but that the investigation was primarily concerned with whether the method of access was "inappropriate."

"I can tell you as of right now nobody has lost his or her job," Mr. Pantuso told the publication. "With something like this, we try to do things [like an investigation] as expeditiously as possible."

The Observer-Reporter reports the employees may have violated HIPAA by accessing patient records that may have been related to the death of employee Kimberly Dollard, 57, who died June 6 after a vehicle careened into the side of the health system's outpatient center, where she was working.

Mr. Pantuso did not confirm to the publication if the investigation and Ms. Dollard's death were related, but said the employee suspensions were "related to a high-profile case," according to the report.

Mr. Pantuso told Becker's Hospital Review June 19 he could not comment further at this time, but confirmed the information released to the Observer-Reporter.

To access the full report, click here.

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