The number of patients whose hospital records were improperly accessed by employees at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center earlier this year has now topped 1,000.
Kathleen Billingsley, director of the California Department of Public Health's Center for Healthcare Quality, said the records of 1,041 patients have been breached, up from 939 in the state's last report in August, according to the Los Angeles (LA) Times. The total number of employees who have been disciplined for breaching patient records now stands at 165, up from 127 since August.
The report, released Oct. 29, is the sixth issued by the California Department of Public Health after UCLA employees earlier this year pried into the records of celebrities and prominent patients, including California First Lady Maria Shriver, actress Farrah Fawcett and singer Britney Spears, the LA Times reported.
According to Billingsley, the report concludes the department's investigation into UCLA unless authorities learn of other cases.
UCLA said that the breaches disclosed Oct. 29 were found during a retrospective review of records between January 2004 and June 2006 at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA.
The hospital said it has taken measures to ensure patient confidentiality, including increasing audits of employees who can access patient files and requiring employees to identify reasons for accessing clinical records.
Additionally, new medical privacy rules are in the works in California legislature to impose stiffer penalties for such medical records’ breaches.