Six hospitals and one nursing home in California were fined a total of $792,500 for failing to prevent snooping into patients’ medical records. The penalties stem from two laws signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008 after a rash of high-profile cases of hospital workers peeking at celebrities’ medical records. Medical facilities can be fined $25,000 per patient medical information breach, and an additional $17,500 for each subsequent breach of each patient’s medical data. The facilities that received penalties are: Biggs-Gridley (Calif.) Memorial Hospital; Children’s Hospital of Orange County, Orange; Delano (Calif.) Regional Medical Center; Kaweah Manor Convalescent Hospital in Visalia; Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield; Oroville (Calif.) Hospital; and Pacific Hospital of Long Beach (Calif.). The fines ranged from $5,000 to $250,000. Kern Medical Center was fined $250,000—the maximum penalty allowed—for not preventing the theft of nearly 600 patients’ medical information. Kern also was fined $60,000 because two employees on three occasions peeked at one patient’s records. “Medical privacy is a fundamental right and a critical component of quality medical care in California,” said Mark Horton, director of the state’s Public Health Department, in a statement. “We are very concerned with violations of patient confidentiality and their potential harm to the residents of California.”
A bankruptcy court auction produced a winning bid of $37 million for 115-bed Victor Valley Community Hospital, according to court records. Kali Chaudhuri is a principal of the two entities that submitted the winning bid, according to a declaration Chaudhuri filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Riverside, Calif. Chaudhuri, a physician, is the controlling shareholder
Victor Valley went for $37 million in a bankruptcy court auction.