New York hospital fires employees for breaching patient information

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Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, N.Y., terminated an undisclosed number of employees after hospital officials identified breaches of patient health information during a recent internal investigation, according to North Country Now.

A CHMC spokesperson would not disclose the number of employees involved or the number of patients affected, citing the hospital's human resources policy. However, the hospital has notified all affected patients.

Although the breaches may constitute a HIPAA violation, the spokesperson said CHMC has not involved law enforcement.

In response to questions from North Country Now, the spokesperson provided the following statement:

"Patient privacy is very important to Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. Our employees cannot provide care without having access to patient information, but Claxton-Hepburn maintains detailed policies, procedures and safeguards relating to privacy and security of patient information and all employees are required to comply with those standards. Beginning the day an employee is hired, they receive education on the requirement to protect a patient's personal health information. Additionally, employees receive ongoing training on the requirements of HIPAA and our policies and procedures and Claxton-Hepburn monitors compliance with those standards through random audits. Employees who violate our standards relating to privacy of patient information are subject to termination. During a recent internal investigation, breaches of patient information were discovered. The employees involved have been subject to disciplinary action. All patients involved in the breach have been notified via registered mail.

"Claxton-Hepburn strives to provide the best care to patients possible, and that extends to protecting the privacy of patient information. As part of those efforts, we regularly assess our practices and update those practices where we identify opportunities for potential improvement. We are honored by the trust our patients place in us, and we work hard to maintain that trust and provide quality care."

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