12/01/2015 05:25 EST | Updated 12/01/2015 05:59 EST

Alberta Children's Hospital Employee Charged For Accessing Patient Records

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Modern Hospital

EDMONTON — A former Calgary hospital worker is facing 26 counts of accessing the health information of more than 200 people.

The office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner says it was contacted by Alberta Health Services in October 2014 and then conducted an investigation.

Spokesman Scott Sibbald says the results of that investigation were handed over to a Crown prosecutor in Calgary, who then laid the charges under the Health Information Act.

The name of the person facing the charges has not been released.

In October 2014, Alberta Health Services sent out a news release saying an employee in Calgary had inappropriately accessed the personal health information of 240 people.

Health Services CEO Vicki Kaminski said at the time that the staff member at Alberta Children's Hospital looked at files belonging to children, adults, physicians, nurses and high-profile people in the community.

Kaminski said the employee, who was fired, had no reason to look at the files and there's no indication the person did anything with them.

Kaminski said the affected individuals were contacted.

The breaches occurred over a 14-month period and were detected during a regular audit of Alberta Health Services patient databases.

The files were not restricted to the children's hospital as the employee, whom Kaminski described as a "lower-level'' secretary or clerk, had access to other health data bases in the province.

"We know that it was inappropriate for them to access,'' Kaminski said at the time.

"We know that they were not part of the circle of care. There was no reason for them to get information on the 240 patients they were looking at. They didn't have to pass that on to anybody. We have no idea what they were going to do with it.''

If convicted, the maximum penalty for each offence is $50,000.

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