June 16, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Medical Assistant Takes UCLA Hospital to Court for Disclosing Medical Information

UCLA
(Courtesy Photo)

A medical assistant who alleges her private health records were disseminated without her consent by a temporary employee of a doctor affiliated with Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center can take her case to trial, a judge ruled.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph Kalin on Thursday denied a motion by attorneys for the University of California Board of Regents and UCLA to dismiss Norma Lozano’s causes of action for disclosure of confidential medical information and invasion of privacy.

The judge took the dismissal motion under submission after hearing arguments July 8.

Lozano sued in April 2013. Other defendants in the case include Dr. John Edwards, an OB-GYN whose former employee at his private practice allegedly accessed Lozano’s medical records in September 2012, made copies with her cell phone and sent them to the plaintiff’s former boyfriend and a third woman.

Lozano, who works at UCLA and receives her medical treatment there, was pregnant with the baby of her ex-boyfriend, who at the time also was in a romantic relationship with Edwards’ employee, according to the UCLA attorneys’ court papers.

Edwards was not Lozano’s treating physician, but he and all doctors who worked at the UCLA medical center had access to the records of other patients, according to her lawsuit.

UCLA’s lawyers maintained their client is not responsible for the actions of Edwards or his employees and that the doctor should not have given his password to his office worker. They also said the measures taken by UCLA to protect patient confidentiality are comparable to those at other medical facilities.

But Lozano’s attorneys contended that most of UCLA’s 4 million patients would be better protected if more security systems were implemented, such as those now given celebrity and neuropsychiatric patients. That so-called “break the glass” layer of security requires those attempting to see patient medical records to enter their password a second time and select a reason for viewing them.

UCLA instead relies on an honor system, according to Lozano’s lawyers.

“There was nothing to protect her, there was this honor system and the honor system failed,” Lozano’s lead attorney, J. Bernard Alexander, told Kalin during the July 8 hearing.

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