State Officials Fine Prime Healthcare Services $95k for Alleged Patient Confidentiality Violations

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Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare Services was fined $95,000 after state officials found evidence of patient confidentiality violations at Shasta Regional Medical Center in Redding, Calif., according to a Los Angeles Times Report.

The California Department of Public Health imposed the fine after determining that the medical center had five deficiencies related to the unauthorized disclosure of medical information on a diabetes patient treated there in 2010. According to the report, the patient's medical files were shared with journalists when Shasta Regional was seeking to respond to a story published by California Watch, a non-profit news organization that featured the patient, Darlene Courtois, and allegations that the hospital was overbilling Medicare. In addition, an email about the patient's treatment was sent to 785 employees.

Prime Healthcare appealed the state's findings and penalties, citing Shasta Regional's belief that the disclosers were permitted under federal and state law.

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