Health Care

Jackson Health: Investigation into NFL player’s leaked patient records ‘ongoing’

The New York Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital following a fireworks accident during the Fourth of July weekend. He’s shown here at a July 2014 press conference in East Rutherford, N.J.
The New York Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul had his right index finger amputated at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital following a fireworks accident during the Fourth of July weekend. He’s shown here at a July 2014 press conference in East Rutherford, N.J. AP

More than two months after the chief executive of Jackson Health System promised an “aggressive internal investigation” into the unauthorized release of the medical chart for New York Giants pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul — a possible violation of federal privacy laws — hospital officials have yet to explain how the breach occurred, who was responsible for the leak or what they are doing to prevent such incidents in the future.

Pierre-Paul, whose leaked medical chart revealed that surgeons had amputated his right index finger, made headlines again this week when he failed to reach a contract agreement with the Giants, largely because of concerns over the extent of the NFL player’s hand injuries, according to ESPN.

Jackson Memorial doctors were the first to treat Pierre-Paul following a fireworks accident in South Florida during the July 4 weekend. The details of the NFL player’s medical care were supposed to remain private as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA.

Since announcing the investigation, though, Jackson Health officials have yet to announce findings or corrective actions. A spokesman said in a written statement this week that the investigation remains “ongoing.”

“Concluding this investigation remains a top priority for the organization,’’ wrote Ed O’Dell, a Jackson Health spokesman.

O’Dell declined to provide a timetable for the probe, or to say whether the matter has been referred to federal health officials for further scrutiny. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is aware of the incident, but the federal agency does not release information about current or pending investigations.

Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya announced the investigation on July 9 after an ESPN reporter posted on Twitter a picture of an operating room log showing that Pierre-Paul had his finger amputated.

Following the revelation of Pierre-Paul’s hand injury, the Giants rescinded a $60 million contract offer to the star player, according to NFL reports.

It’s unclear how ESPN obtained Pierre-Paul's patient record, and the reporter has since stated that it was sent to him unsolicited. But if Pierre-Paul did not sign a consent form to release his records, it’s likely that at least one person — possibly a healthcare professional — violated the law.

Daniel Chang: 305-376-2012, @dchangmiami

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