VA: Fourth time’s the charm for fired UVA nurse

In most cases, I’d want a medical center to discipline or terminate an employee who snooped in a patient’s records. But here’s an unusual case where a medical center improperly fired an employee who had been authorized by the patient – who was both an employee and her ex-spouse – to look at his records. Lisa Provence reports:

Up until last week, everyone who has reviewed Susan Jordan’s firing, from state hearing officers to a circuit court judge to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, agrees that she was unfairly terminated—everyone except her former employer, the University of Virginia Medical Center.

It wasn’t until a February 2 appeals court decision affirming her reinstatement that UVA finally threw in the towel and decided not to appeal a fifth time. “We are not going to appeal any further, and we are not going to have any additional comment,” says UVA Health System spokesperson Eric Swensen in an e-mail.

According to reports, Kurt Jordan had asked his ex-wife to help him understand his medical records.

He had cancer and was in an advanced stage of myeloma, and in 2012, he had made Jordan his agent for his durable power of attorney and his advanced medical directive. He’d filed a form with the medical center that authorized her to access his records, which was lost, according to the appeals court memorandum, and he filed a new one after Jordan was fired.

Four times after a clinical visit, Kurt, weak with tremors and having a hard time seeing, came to Jordan’s department and asked her to help him understand his lab results. At least two of those times Jordan’s supervisor was present. Because Jordan used her own code to access his records, she was shown the door April 23, 2014.

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