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Kaiser Fined $250,000 for Violating Octomom's Privacy

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KTLA: The state of California is fining Kaiser Permanente $250,000 for violating patient privacy laws, two months after the hospital disclosed that several of its workers illegally accessed 'OctoMom' Nadya Suleman's records.

Kaiser spokesperson Jim Anderson said Thursday that state health officials had taken action against Kaiser, and that the hospital did not expect the reprimand.

He said Kaiser told the state about the violations of health care privacy laws and fired 15 employees in March.

In addition to the fine, Kaiser must also draft a plan of correction for its privacy controls that specifies both temporary and permanent provisions, names a responsible person and sets up a monitoring system to prevent recurrences.

Kaiser will be able to appeal the fine.

Kaiser warned employees at its Bellflower facility about keeping away from Suleman's records, but the California Department of Public Health found the hospital did not do enough to prevent the violations, according to Anderson.

According to the state report, 21 employees and two physicians inappropriately accessed Suleman's files.

Kaiser's own investigation showed that at least eight employees who accessed Suleman's record didn't work at the Bellflower facility where she stayed.

The fine is the first against a California hospital under a law passed in 2008 designed to protect patient privacy and address breaches of confidential information, the department said in a release.

The investigation into the privacy breach began in February, and Kaiser said it does not appear any of the information was leaked to the public.

Suleman's attorney Jeff Czech said he suspects Kaiser employees were looking for medical information on Suleman's sperm donor. He said the name is not listed on the medical records.

Suleman, already a mother of six, gave birth to octuplets on Jan. 26 at Kaiser's hospital in Bellflower.

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