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article imageMedical Center Employee Indicted For Selling Celebrity Records

By Susan Duclos     May 1, 2008 in Health
Lawanda Jackson is a 49 year old woman and a former employee of UCLA Medical Center who was accused and indicted of accessing medical records for high profile people and selling the information to media outlets.
The indictment was under seal since April 9, 2008, and was finally made public on Tuesday.
The patient names were not listed in the indictment but it was recently reported that these breaches included at least 61 patients at the University of California, Los Angeles' hospitals, including actress Farrah Fawcett, singer Britney Spears and California first lady Maria Shriver.
According to the indictment, beginning in or around 2006 and continuing through May of 2007, Lawanda Jackson has an agreement with a national media outlet, where in exchange for obtaining private celebrity health information and disclosing it to the media outlet, Jackson would receive at least $4,600 in checks written by the media outlet to Jackson's husband.
UCLA Hospital System CEO and Interim Vice Chancellor Dr. David T. Feinberg, issued a statement on their website, saying, "We are deeply troubled that a former employee may have illegally received payments from a news organization in exchange for providing personal medical information. We welcome the U.S. attorney's investigation and stand ready to cooperate in achieving a swift and fair outcome. Meanwhile, we continue to take steps to improve our staff training and information systems to further strengthen the confidentiality of patient records."
For more information on steps being taking by the UCLA Health System to strengthen patient privacy, see the Hospital Breach PDF provided by the UCLA Health System.
Jackson had previously denied that she was paid for this information and claimed she was just being nosy.
Jackson's arraignment is scheduled for June 9, 2008 and if convicted she could face 10 years in jail.
This leaves the question of whether the national media outlet, knowing patient files and information is confidential and paying for stolen, illegal information, makes them liable for any criminal charges as well.
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