Navy: Medical records of Portsmouth stabbing suspect, victim compromised

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by Nick Ochsner, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on July 23, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 24 at 6:13 AM

PORTSMOUTH- Commanders at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth are investigating a security breach after the records of two sailors involved in a June stabbing were accessed by hospital staff who were not involved with the patients' treatment.

Captain Bradford Smith, deputy commander of the hospital, sent an email to all medical center staff on June 23rd addressing the unauthorized access of the sailors' records.

"It the aftermath of the Code White on 6 June 2014, it appears that numerous staff members have accessed medical information of the individuals involved," Smith wrote in the email.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE E-MAIL

A Code White was issued at the medical center on June 6 after MA2 Justin Powell was stabbed inside a barracks on the medical center compound.

PO3 Wilbur Harwell was arrested in connection with the stabbing and faces charges through the military courts-martial process.

According to Smith's email, accessing medical records without a medical or business reason is against hospital policy and is considered a HIPPA breach.

Deborah Kallgren, a spokeswoman for Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, declined to comment specifically on the breach addressed in the email.

"NMCP has always taken the privacy of our patients seriously," Kallgren said. "This is not new."

Smith's email to all medical center staff said that employees found accessing information without a need to know will be held accountable.

Kallgren declined to say whether or not any hospital staff had been disciplined, saying there is still an active inquiry into the breach.

On Wednesday, Congressman Randy Forbes, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, reinforced the need for a full investigation into the breach.

 "Our Navy's sailors, like all Americans, have the right to know that their personal medical records are kept private and handled respectfully," Forbes said in a statement. 

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