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Longview, Texas News

Longview Fire Department Investigates Breach of Patient Information by Employee

The Longview Fire Department has launched an investigation into a potential breach of patient information by one of its employees, which could potentially violate department policies as well as state and federal laws. The incident came to light on August 3, 2023, when the department received information suggesting that a staff member might have shared private patient information without authorization.

In response, the Longview Fire Department promptly initiated an internal investigation to ascertain the veracity of the claims and the extent of any wrongdoing. In line with state regulations, the employee in question was slated to be placed on unpaid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. Texas law mandates that public safety personnel can only face punitive disciplinary actions following a thorough investigation.

To ensure compliance and transparency, the Longview Fire Department took action by self-reporting the incident to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the regulatory body overseeing the department’s emergency medical services. Subsequently, the information was also relayed to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, underscoring the department's commitment to upholding healthcare data integrity.

Efforts to notify the employee about the investigation were met with several unsuccessful attempts on August 4, including phone calls, text messages, and in-person visits. On August 5, the employee voluntarily reported to the Longview Fire Department at 7 a.m. and subsequently tendered their resignation.

Emphasizing its commitment to adherence to rules and regulations, the Longview Fire Department ensures that all employees undergo comprehensive training on local, state, and federal laws safeguarding personal information. This training is of paramount importance, especially for healthcare providers subject to regulation, to prevent any lapses in patient data security.

“The Longview Fire Department upholds the standards and practices of emergency services,” affirmed Longview Fire Chief J.P. Steelman. “Unethical behavior of any kind will not be tolerated in our organization.”

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