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Alberta Health Services says employees face discipline for patient privacy breach

The Alberta Health Services office.
The Alberta Health Services office. File/Global News

CALGARY — Alberta Health Services says four dozen of its employees in the Calgary zone are facing disciplinary action for inappropriately accessing a patient’s information.

CEO Vickie Kaminski said the 48 work at South Health Campus and across the Calgary region.

She said one person is facing termination, while the others are being suspended without pay from two to five days.

Kaminski said all AHS employees are accountable for patient privacy.

She said user activity in AHS electronic systems is recorded and audited, and suspicious activity or accessing information are flagged.

“All AHS employees, physicians and volunteers are accountable for patient privacy. It is not only the right thing to do; it is the law,” Kaminski said in a statement Wednesday.

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“AHS also reports privacy breaches to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner … the body that holds authority to pursue prosecution of any individual who perpetrates breaches under the Health Information Act.”

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the United Nurses of Alberta said it “vigorously disputes the conclusions reached by the employer in all cases and is confident that upon application of due process the actions against our members will be shown not to be justified under the circumstances and the law.”

“UNA strongly disapproves of Ms. Kaminski’s publication of a statement about a serious and confidential disciplinary matter that remains in dispute,” read the statement.

The UNA said Kaminski releasing the information is an illegal breach of confidence and the honourable thing for her to do is to resign.

“UNA members and the public can be confident that our representation of our members will be forceful and determined.”

The Calgary zone stretches north to Didsbury, south to Claresholm, west to Banff and east to Gleichen.

Kaminski said prosecutions can result in fines and are reported to the appropriate professional regulatory bodies.