A former resident physician at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences who was fired in 2010 kept some patient lists and notes regarding patients when she left, UAMS officials said Monday.
UAMS said it was notifying about 1,500 patients of the medical records breach by mail and through its website.
The former resident, Nasrin Fatemi, joined the UAMS neurosurgery residency program in January 2010 and was terminated from the program the following June 3, UAMS spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said. Taylor said she could not say why Fatemi was fired.
The documents the former resident kept were from January 2010 to June 2010 and contained patient names, partial addresses, medical record numbers, dates of birth, ages, locations of care, dates of service, diagnoses, medications, surgical and other procedure names, and lab results, the hospital said.
Patient financial records are kept separately and no social security, bank account or credit card numbers were included with the information, Taylor said.
“The information that this former resident produced did not include any of that,” she said. “She probably would not have had access to any of that financial information anyway.”
UAMS said it became aware of the breach on Oct. 9, when Fatemi produced the documents as part of a federal lawsuit she filed against the university hospital regarding her termination. On Nov. 7, UAMS became aware that additional documents she kept had been provided to UAMS attorneys on June 25, officials said.
The records are now protected by a court order which prevents them from becoming a public record and will prevent anyone from further using or disclosing the documents, according to UAMS officials, who said the Fatemi assured the university under oath that she did not share the documents with anyone except her attorneys, with whom she has a Business Associate Agreement that specifically protects the information.
Fatemi’s civil rights lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, alleges sex, race and national origin discrimination against her as the only female resident in the UAMS neurosurgery program. The university denied the allegations.
In a court pleading, Fatemi disputes whether the policy violation UAMS alleges actually violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. She alleges UAMS raised the issue only after she filed suit, as an after-the-fact defense for her termination.
Fatemi’s lead attorney, Nathan Goldberg in Los Angeles, did not immediately comment on the UAMS announcement Monday.