North Carolina, Virginia VA officials illegally accessed whistle-blower's medical records, lawsuit alleges

A former employee of  the Veterans Affairs North Carolina and Virginia regional office is claiming senior staff illegally accessed his medical records after he filed a whistle-blower case, according to CBS affiliate WBTV.

In February 2018, Joseph Edger, then a deputy network director at the regional office, filed a whistle-blower complaint accusing DeAnne Seekins, regional office director, of retaliating against him.

Mr. Edger said he took action against Ms. Seekins when she served as director of Durham (N.C.) VA Medical Center, where they once worked together, accusing her of harassment, defamation and creating an inappropriate work environment.

Mr. Edger claims in his lawsuit that after he filed his whistle-blower case, Ms. Seekins set up a plan to fire him, and records indicate senior officials began viewing Mr. Edger's medical records.

A report given to Mr. Edger showed four senior officials at the regional office and Durham VA Medical Center gained access to his medical records 12 times in less than two weeks from June 15-25, 2018. The report also stated the senior employees who viewed the medical records worked with Ms. Seekins.

As a retired Army officer, Mr. Edger receives treatment at Durham VA Medical Center. In his two years as a patient, physicians viewed his records 20 times in a span, he said.

The report gave no evidence that Ms. Seekins herself viewed the medical records.

Ms. Seekins and the regional office declined to comment on the allegations to WBTV.

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