Michigan governor's patient records breached by hospital employees

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Mich. Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. Source: www.michigan.gov  

Sparrow Health System of Lansing, Mich., has fired or disciplined employees that electronically accessed the medical records of Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm without permission.

Granholm received abdominal surgery at Sparrow Hospital in late April.

A hospital spokesman said that an unspecified number of employees were disciplined but did not provide details, according to the Detroit Free Press (Freep).

The breach of Granholm's medical records was discovered in a routine audit, John Berg, market development director for Sparrow, told Freep.

Sparrow informed Granholm of the security breach and employee discipline Wednesday for the first time. “We had no knowledge of this; we were as surprised as anyone,” Granholm’s spokewoman Liz Boyd told Freep

Berg said that federal privacy laws forbid the hospital from releasing information about the incident and that it was an internal personnel matter.

He also told Freep that employees must sign a statement upon hiring that they will not violate privacy policies, such as improperly viewing medical records. Berg said that the hospital has seven security specialists, who monitor records security and train employees.