Atascadero State Hospital employee illicitly accessed medical records

March 19, 2021


An information technology employee at Atascadero State Hospital improperly accessed health information, including coronavirus test results, belonging to more than 2,000 ASH patients and staffers.

The employee accessed names, Covid-19 test results and health information related to coronavirus tracking belonging to approximately 1,415 current and former patients and 617 staffers, according to the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH). The hospital staffer who accessed the medical information had access to ASH’s data servers as part of the individual’s job duties.

Officials discovered the data breach on Feb. 25 as part of DSH’s annual review of employee access to data folders. DSH is investigating the breach with assistance from the California Highway Patrol.

The staffer who accessed the medical data has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation. Thus far, investigators have obtained no evidence indicating the employee used or attempted to use the private health information.

DSH reported the data breach to a variety of state and federal agencies, in accordance with privacy laws.