Mayo Fires Employees in 2 Incidents

Both Involved Unauthorized Access to Records
Mayo Fires Employees in 2 Incidents
For the second time in recent weeks, organizations with ties to the Mayo Clinic have announced staff firings as a result of inappropriate access to confidential personal health information.

Fairmount Medical Center in Minnesota, part of Mayo Health System, announced last week it fired six employees for violating privacy policies. "In this situation, one patient's record was inappropriate accessed," the hospital said in a statement. "While the intent does not appear to have been malicious, it is a serious violation of a patient's privacy and the trust placed on us as a healthcare provider."

Hospital officials said they are increasing routine monitoring of patient records "and will take steps to ensure that similar situations do not happen again."

Earlier Incident

Earlier, a Mayo Clinic financial business unit employee was fired for accessing patient records beyond the scope of their job responsibilities. According to a notice on the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights' list of major breaches, that incident, which occurred July 15 and was posted on the list Sept. 20, affected 1,740 patients.

Under the HITECH Act's interim final breach notification rule, breaches affecting 500 or more individuals must be reported to HHS as well as those affected within 60 days.

Mayo did not provide information on the nature of the information accessed. The Rochester Post-Bulletin reported the employee was based in Arizona.

"A detailed internal analysis into the former employee's actions yielded no evidence of intent to use the information for fraudulent purposes," according to a Mayo Clinic statement.

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

Former News Editor, ISMG

Anderson was news editor of Information Security Media Group and founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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