Medical records breach at Tampa General, USF exposes woman's secret

Letitia Stein reports:

Jennifer Jones didn’t want her entire family to know about the baby girl she delivered five years ago at Tampa General Hospital and placed for adoption.

But a relative whose job as a nurse gave her access to the hospital’s medical records went snooping and found out anyway.

The breach came to light only recently, after Jones’ secret was aired at a family funeral. She contacted officials at Tampa General and the University of South Florida, which promptly fired the nurse over “inappropriate access” to a patient’s records. Tampa General is USF’s primary teaching hospital; the aunt was a USF employee.

Read more on Tampa Bay Times.

Sometimes, just losing your job isn’t enough of a consequence.  What other consequences could – or should – the employee face, in your opinion? Criminal federal prosecutions under HIPAA are rare. Is it even an option here? Or is Jones’ only option to file a state court action for invasion of privacy and public dissemination of private facts?

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