Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law today a bill that would fine health care facilities where patient confidentiality is breached, as well as employees who do the snooping.
The law comes in response to a federal lawsuit against a UCLA Medical Center staffer who allegedly downloaded the medical records of celebrity patients and sold the information to tabloid newspapers.
Schwarzenegger said patient privacy is a fundamental right and critical component of good medicine. Patients seeking care at a hospital “should never have to worry that their private medical information will be shared,” he said.
Hospitals and other medical facilities where patient confidentiality is compromised could be fined from $25,000 to $250,000, as could individuals who illegally disclose medical records.
The legislation also creates the state Office of Health Information Integrity.