The University of Iowa has launched an investigation after a routine check determined that someone may’ve accessed the electronic medical records of 13 Iowa football players who were admitted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Medical records are protected by federal law, and cannot be viewed unless authorized. University spokesman, Tom Moore, says they know records were accessed, but he is not sure how many.
Moore says that is the focus of the investigation, to determine how many records were accessed, and the person who accessed them. “At this point in time we believe there may’ve been some potential breeches of confidentiality, and that’s why we are investigating,” Moore said.
Moore says there are controls in place to ensure that the records are only viewed by those who have the right to look at them. He says the access is controlled by a password and those passwords are generally only given to hospital faculty and staff. Moore says it is too early to tell if there was any information on the players that may’ve been looked at and then released to the media or other sources. Moore says those who illegally access records could face some stiff penalties.
Moore says disciplinary action can go up to and include termination of the person or persons involved. The players were admitted to the hospital early this week for treatment of muscles problems that could’ve been brought on by heavy offseason workouts. The University has not released a list of the players because of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA law.
One of the player’s father, Biff Poggi, did volunteer to appear with university officials at their news conference Wednesday to talk about his son Jim’s condition.