December 23, 2009

It’s a Privacy Thing…

By Kelley Luckstein

Mayo CEO fires two for privacy violation

Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic's national CEO, has fired two employees who violated privacy policies.

"I authorized the termination of employment of a Mayo physician and a member of our allied health staff, each for inappropriately accessing and looking through a patient's confidential record," Noseworthy tells Mayo employees in a newsletter. He said it was one of the most difficult decisions he will ever make. He doesn't name the individuals.

Such a complaint would violate Minnesota Board of Medical Examiners' rules concerning mismanagement of medical records and unethical conduct, said Ruth Martinez, complaint review unit supervisor.

The board regulates physician and allied staff licensure and handles two to four patient privacy complaints a year, Martinez said. The story Noseworthy tells fits the definition of a violation, she said.

Post-Bulletin, by Jeff Hansel, 12/23/09


Mayo doctor snoops then loses job

An "esteemed" Mayo Clinic physician, along with an allied health staff member, has been fired for "inappropriately accessing and looking through a patient's confidential medical record."


Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo's new national CEO, wrote about the incident in a letter to employees that appears in the clinic's internal newsletter. Noseworthy said despite the fact that the individuals were "esteemed professionals, nevertheless, their actions violated the sacred trust each of us holds with our patients, and this cannot, and will not, be tolerated."


In other words (or, more accurately, I should note that the following is part is in my words), if you want to check to see how your neighbor did after his surgery, if you want to see if your ex from a decade ago caught an STD this year or if you want to know if Jeff Hansel has been undergoing treatment for disease X, Y or Z, think again. It's against the law, as Noseworthy points out.


But, he says, it also violates trust.


"Protect our patients and yourself by taking this role seriously. It is in the best interest of the patient.  It is in the best interest of our profession.  And it is vital to the continued success of this most trusted institution," Noseworthy says.


Post-Bulletin by Jeff Hansel, 12/23/09

Tags: confidentiality, Human Resources, Mayo Clinic Rochester, patient privacy

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