Patient says someone she had run-ins with worked at doctor’s office and accessed her medical records

CHARLOTTE — A local woman says someone she knew was looking through her medical records.

Bethenny Bullard went to the doctor. “It was for a very sensitive issue that I was already a little anxious about,” she said.

“When I got back to the blood draw area, I noticed that someone that I had to file a cease and desist against was working there,” she said. “I would’ve never thought it. Never. And it was so surprising that, for a second, I just stood there.”

Bullard says she told the supervisor she was worried about that person having access to her personal information. “I’m concerned. I want my records locked down. It needs to be done today. I am fearful of any information getting out,” she said.

Bullard hoped Atrium would do something on the spot. But she says the process took time: multiple calls and emails back and forth. She says roughly two weeks later, someone in charge called her. “And she said, ‘Your records have been accessed,’” Bullard said. “I was devastated.”

She says Atrium sent her a letter, acknowledging that an employee “did access” her medical record and not once, but three times. The letter says the person did so without a legitimate reason. The letter says the worker didn’t see Bullard’s financial information, but did see her medical information, including diagnoses, medicines, and lab results.

The letter says the employee no longer works for Atrium. It’s not clear if that person was fired or quit.

“But that doesn’t take back all the stuff that she read,” Bullard said. She sees this as a wake-up call to all providers. “It should be cemented in each office’s mind. What do you do? Who do you call? What is the plan of action when someone comes and makes this complaint?” she said.

Atrium wouldn’t discuss specifics with Action 9 for privacy reasons, but emailed Jason Stoogenke this:

“At Atrium Health, privacy is critically important to us. We take allegations of a privacy violation extremely serious and investigate these claims immediately. If we discover someone who works for us has accessed a patient’s records without a work reason to do so, we take appropriate disciplinary action – up to and including termination. Federal and state privacy laws prohibit us from sharing any information related to the specifics of your inquiry, however, I can tell you the person in question is no longer employed by our organization.”

What to do if you’re worried someone may have seen your medical records:

- Check your credit: You’re entitled to free credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies: annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228.

- Freeze your credit: You should keep it frozen anyway, even before a scare. Contact each of the three credit reporting agencies (see list below).

- If you think someone stole your identity tell law enforcement, your state Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission. Also, follow the steps listed here.










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