Several Yale University Health Services employees were reprimanded for improperly accessing the medical records of murdered pharmacology graduate student Annie Le GRD ’13.
The employees looked at the records soon after Le, 24, went missing Sept. 8, University President Richard Levin said. The records were sealed shortly after.
YUHS employees need to access electronic medical records to do their jobs, Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said. But federal privacy laws restrict what they are allowed to see.
“There are very strict federal rules about who can access medical records and what purpose they can be put to,” Levin said. “We do try to enforce those but that doesn’t mean we shut people out from being able to get access to those records.”
All YUHS employees undergo training about patient privacy before they start work, Conroy said. The electronic records are regularly audited to detect privacy violations.
“Employees in the medical care facilities would obviously have more access to records than the rest of us,” Levin said. “But on some level you have to trust people.”
Levin said the investigation into the misconduct is ongoing.
YUHS employees were instructed by e-mail not to talk to the press about the investigation, one employee said.
“Really, you should leave me out of this,” the employee said. “I don’t want to lose my job too.”
Of 20 YUHS employees interviewed, 11 declined to discuss the matter, sometimes by referring reporters to YUHS administrators. Nine said they had not heard about the issue.
YUHS Director Paul Genecin said he could not comment because issues pertaining to staff are confidential.
Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Michael Peel did not return several requests for comment.
Le was last seen Sept. 8 entering the Yale research facility where she worked at 10 Amistad St. Her body was found behind a basement wall five days later, on what was supposed to be her wedding day. The autopsy determined that she was strangled. Raymond Clark III, who worked at Yale as an animal lab technician, was arrested on Sept. 17 and charged with Le’s murder. He is set to appear in court today.