Body Bag- Why Does it Matter that Liz Morgan is STILL HIPAA Privacy Officer despite 3rd Degree Felony? (Glen Rose Medical Center)


 
Glen Rose Medical Center in Somervell County Texas

Body Bag- Why Does it Matter that Liz Morgan is STILL HIPAA Privacy Officer despite 3rd Degree Felony? (Glen Rose Medical Center)
 


17 August 2015 at 3:32:19 PM
salon

Have already said that I personally cannot understand why Liz Morgan continues in her position as Director of Human Management Information (ie, YOUR patient records) as well as HIPAA privacy officer. In May, Ms Morgan pled guilty to a 3rd degree felony for taking money from Cottonwood Baptist Church, will be on probation under deferred adjudication for 10 years, and will be unable to expunge her record at that point. That should be enough for honest, ethical people to, if not fire her immediately from the hospital, at the very least move her into some position of little responsiblity. 

To add to that, I'm going to bring up again something that happened a couple of years ago in late November, 2013. Liz Morgan's daughter took a photo of a local, well known Glen Rose resident who had passed away, and was in a body bag; the vantage point was out the window of the hospital at the driveway outside. The daughter posted it publicly on instagram with the caption "I see dead people'. As you might imagine, some pushback occurred from those appalled at that being Ms Morgan's daughter's idea of a joke. One of the moms communicated with Ms Morgan, probably figuring she simply didn't know what her daughter had done. Ms Morgan defended her daughter and said it had been a joke. I saw screen shots of the back and forth at the time, and was really surprised at her reaction. I spoke to the other mom, who a lot of people know and love, and she was equally astonished and disgusted. As a mom, had my daughter done this, I would have expressed condemnation of that type of thing, made sure publicly that not only was that photo removed but public apologies made. (Mistakes DO happen and, in my world, the measure of a person isn't whether that one is perfect, but what is done to correct mistakes and take responsibility).  I didn't know who Liz Morgan was, so looked her up and saw she was the HIPAA privacy officer. In other words, Liz Morgan is the person at Glen Rose Medical Center in charge of making sure that rules regarding keeping patient information confidential and in accordance with rules set out by the US Department of Health and Human Services are followed to the letter. And yet, THIS woman condoned and made excuses for the daughter taking a photo of a patient in a body bag FROM an office window IN the hospital. I can't be sure, of course, but is it possible the picture was done FROM Liz Morgan's office window? 

When I found that out, I filed a complaint with HIPAA by sending in a complaint to the address on the HIPAA website, which is how HIPAA complaints are handled. Got back a reply some time later that nothing was going to be done. I nonetheless was disquieted by knowing that this was the type of person in a position of trust and responsiblity at Glen Rose Medical Center and watched for a bit to see if Ray Reynolds or the board then in charge was going to do anything. Nope. Nothing was done. 

Ms Morgan continued on in that position and, from what I can see, had been taking money from the church since August 2011 through November 13, 2013-Mike Easter put in a complaint in April, 2014.  Did you catch those dates? Her stealing was NOT an *oopsie*- she was taking money for almost 2 and a half years. The grand jury of July 2014 indicted her, and as I said before, she did a plea bargain in May of 2015, and pled GUILTY to 3rd degree felony. 

I want you to imagine if it was YOUR family member that had been treated so lightly by, not just any old person hanging around, but the daughter of the person who knows YOUR family member's patient information and yet made excuses for her daughter. AND, by the highest and most disgusting irony, is the person whose position is HIPAA privacy. I don't have a description of what Glen Rose Medical Center expects from such a one but from another website

  • Assists in the identification, implementation and maintenance of the practice/organization’s information privacy policies and procedures in coordination with his/her immediate supervisor, a Privacy Oversight Committee (if applicable in larger practices or practice groups) and legal counsel.
  • Serves in a leadership role for the Privacy Oversight Committee’s activities (if applicable in larger practices or practice groups).
  • Performs ongoing compliance monitoring activities.
  • Works with legal counsel and his/her immediate supervisor to ensure the practice/organization has and maintains appropriate privacy and confidentiality consent & authorization forms, information notices and materials reflecting current organization and legal practices and requirements.
  • Oversees, directs, delivers, or ensures delivery of privacy training and orientation to all employees, volunteers, medical and professional staff and applicable business associates.
  • Participates in the development, implementation, and ongoing compliance monitoring of all business associate agreements to ensure that all privacy concerns, requirements and responsibilities are addressed.
  • Establishes and maintains a mechanism to track access to protected health information, within the purview of the practice/organization and as required by law to allow qualified individuals to review or receive a report on such activity.
  • Oversees and ensures the right of the practice/organization’s patients to inspect, amend and restrict access to protected health information, when appropriate.
  • Establishes and administers a process for receiving, documenting, tracking, investigating, and taking action on all complaints concerning the practice/organization’s privacy policies and procedures in coordination and collaboration with other similar functions and, when necessary, legal counsel.
  • Ensures compliance with privacy practices and consistent application of sanctions for failure to comply with privacy policies for all individuals in the practice/organization’s workforce, extended workforce, and for all business associates, in cooperation with his/her immediate supervisor, Human Resources, the information security officer and legal counsel, as applicable.
  • Initiates, facilitates and promotes activities to foster information privacy awareness within the organization and related entities.
  • Serves as a member of, or liaison to, the organization’s IRB or Privacy Committee, should one exist. Also serves as the information privacy liaison for users of clinical and administrative systems.
  • Reviews all system-related information security plans throughout the practice/ organization’s network to ensure alignment between security and privacy practices, and acts as a liaison to the information systems department, if applicable.
  • Works with all practice/organization personnel involved with any aspect of release of protected health information, to ensure full coordination and cooperation under the practice/organization’s policies and procedures and legal requirements
  • Maintains current knowledge of applicable federal and state privacy laws and accreditation standards, and monitors advancements in information privacy technologies to ensure organizational adaptation and compliance.
  • Cooperates with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Civil Rights, other legal entities, and organization on officers in any compliance reviews or investigations.

Can you imagine the hypocrisy? I'll bet that a LOT of people at the hospital, not to mention in the community, know about what her daughter did and mom's reaction. How could the people who were going through privacy training respect this person (and add to that the felony for taking money FROM A CHURCH!) Call me naive, but I expect more from the people who have these types of responsiblities, where, if this was the receptionist answering the phone, not so much. 

If you at all believe like I do, please raise a fuss about this. Why is Liz Morgan still in that position at all? Why does Ray Reynolds, the CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center, have so little regard for the privacy of his patients that he would allow this woman even one more minute to be employed at that high level position of trust? And why the fool isn't the Somervell County Hospital District board working to bring integrity back to the hospital, if Ray Reynolds will not. Since this has been ongoing for a few years now and the corruption has not been cleared out, I hope you will consider calling the board members and asking for them to promote accountability. 

P.S. I also wonder one other related thing. In the Joint Commission and DHHS visit done in December 2014, the reports after indicated that records, including assessments were missing. Since Liz Morgan is also the Director of Human Information Management (ie patient records) is she the one supposed to be in charge of that? Why were those records missing? 

 


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Comments!  
1 - Another Concerned Citizen   17 Aug 2015 @ 4:07:47 PM 

I think it's time to start asking some questions of the hospital board members who were against letting her go, as in, WHY is this woman kept in such a high position of trust?  I have not used GRMC in years but I was considering doing so since there are now new employees there and I'm paying taxes on it.  I am having second thoughts.



2 - bamajam   19 Aug 2015 @ 1:02:03 PM 

I have been fired one time in my 49 years and for a much smaller offense, of which I was unaware, .I am looking for work again and yet she keeps her high paying job? Go Figure.



3 - salon   20 Aug 2015 @ 9:36:27 AM 

@Another Concerned Citizen and @Bamajam. With you both. I don't understand it either. And good luck on finding a good job, bamajam! 


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4 - salon   29 Feb 2016 @ 3:24:49 PM 

Update 2/29/2016. Got a tip recently that someone in the community had anonymously received a packet of information that not only included the photo I had seen, but another one ostensibly taken by a member of Morgan's  family, of an elderly dead patient. I have not seen that photo but have seen references to it by others in the community. The tipster said the packet had been taken and given to one of the Somervell County Hospital District board members with the request that the information be disseminated to ALL the board members and including Ray Reynolds. This was apparently passed on some months back. I went to ask the board member in question about the packet and was told that the person who had handed it off had come in a couple of days later to take it back.The fact that there is information of this nature out there raises questions about privacy at the hospital, and especially the impropriety of the family of the one who ostensibly is in charge of HIPAA privacy. Even if the tipster took back the packet 2 days later, why would not the board member have immediately taken this seriously enough to bring it to the board right away? Disturbing


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