CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Mecklenburg County Health Department inadvertently released private personal health information of between 700 and 1,000 people to two news organizations.
This latest gaffe comes just weeks after the department had to admit that it had failed to contact and tell 200 women they had abnormal Pap smears.
At a meeting of the County Commission this afternoon, County Manager Dena Diorio told commissioners, "I am absolutely speechless with anger about how something like this could happen."
The patient information was released to two media outlets as part of a response to public records requests the organizations had filed.
Releasing patient information is a violation of what is known as the HIPAA law that would require strict confidentiality when it comes to patient information.
Commissioner Trevor Fuller said the result could be fines in the millions of dollars and said he was not satisfied with measures the Health Department was planning to make to ensure something like this did not happen again.
Said Fuller, "We need to do more than stop-gap measures. We need to go back and review our whole process."
Commissioner Vilma Leake demanded to know who was responsible.
"Somebody is not taking their job seriously, but yet a paycheck comes every two weeks," she thundered.
The County Manager said, "We are going to get to the bottom of it. I think we have gotten to the bottom of it and we will do everything possible to make sure it doesn't happen again."
Commissioner then went into private executive session to discuss what they had heard and to talk about the performance of an as-yet, un-named person or persons.
When they returned to open session they adjourned the matter saying nothing of what they had concluded.
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