Commissioners Sound Off Over Health Department HIPAA Breach

CHARLOTTE, NC– “Heads need to roll,” said County Commissioner Vilma Leakes.

County Commissioners sounded off over the Health Department’s latest mess up. This time, in response to a TV station’s Freedom of Information request. They emailed a spreadsheet with some 1200 patients personal information.

“Something is wrong with managers not doing their job,” said Leakes.

The request came after last month,  the Health Department failed to follow up with nearly 200 women for irregular pap smear screening.

“To continue to make even larger mistakes is problematic,” said Commissioner, Jim Puckett.

Commissioner Trevor Fuller said the Health Department needs more attorney’s on staff and a set protocol for crises and information requests.

“Nothing should be released at any step unless the attorney is the last person who sees it,” said Commissioner Fuller.

County Manager Dena Diorio says there’s no excuse for the huge HIPAA violation mistake.

“Quite frankly this one is completely self-inflicted and if we had been taking more care and were more cautious about the information then we could have prevented it and that’s what upsets me the most is this was totally preventable,” said Diorio.

Commissioner Leakes says the Health Department and county owes her constituents an apology, since most patients impacted live in District two.

“My statement was going to be today was to fire everybody at the Health Department that’s what I wanted to say today, to let everybody go with pay until the investigation is over,” said Leakes.

HIPAA violations can come at a stiff federal penalty depending on the severity it’s determined to be. Fines could range from $100 to $50,000 per violation.