Mecklenburg Co. Commissioners react after private information of 1,200 patients released

- Fallout at the Mecklenburg County Health Department. County Commissioners are fuming after 1,200 patients’ personal information was accidentally released to the media.

Commissioners who met late Tuesday afternoon weren’t happy at all. The accidental release of information is now the second embarrassing incident involving the Health Department in a month. Now, commissioners are discussing who should be held accountable.

“Heads need to rolI, I still say that,” said County Commissioner, Vilma Leake. 

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Emotions poured out of the commissioners at their meeting Tuesday afternoon after 1,200 patients’ information from the Health Department was accidentally released.

“Horribly disappointed that this happened. It shouldn’t have happened. We should have policies and procedures in place so we don’t have data breaches like this and you feel awful something like this happens. We have to go back and retrace our steps so we can understand exactly how it happened,” said County Manager, Dena R. Diorio.

According to the county officials, the release happened as the Health Department was sending back a public records request – that’s when they say someone mistakenly included a spreadsheet with patients’ private information.

While some county leaders tell FOX 46 Charlotte they still have faith in the Health Department, others aren’t so confident and are looking for accountability as the investigation into this latest mishap continues.

“We must stick together. We must demand what’s best for the people, this county and this city. All I’m saying is you owe us an apology and I’m waiting,” said Leake.

Now, because this breach violated federal HIPAA laws the county has 60 days to notify the federal government. As far as fines go, depending on the results of the investigation, the county could potentially be looking at millions of dollars in a worst case scenario that they’d have to pay out.

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