Home Blunders Firefighters accused of releasing medical records

Firefighters accused of releasing medical records

SHARE

Three Jackson Township firefighters will learn Friday that they face an administrative hearing next month for releasing medical records related to their chief's wife. The firefighters face punishment, ranging from suspension to firing, when they meet with township trustees April 16. The township is not naming them because they have not been formally charged.

The incident apparently stems from long-standing animosity between Fire Chief Lloyd Sheets and his employees, said Township Administrator Mike Lilly. “I would say that there are rogue elements that would like to disrupt the authority of the fire chief.”

The records relate to a Feb.13 incident at Lloyd and Patty Sheets' home, during which Mrs. Sheets told a police dispatcher she was being choked.

Paramedics and Grove City police responded. An investigation determined that no crime had been committed, Grove City police said at the time.

During a Jackson Township trustees meeting last week, Mrs. Sheets complained that the medic-run details had been distributed within the fire department and community, Lilly said.

“If somebody took your own medical report … and was making fun of it and sending it around to your co-workers, you would feel very violated,” he added.

The department has since changed passwords so that only supervisors have access to protected information.

Daphne Hawk, a township trustee whose son-in-law is a firefighter in the department, said department morale has been bad for years.

“When you have 78 people working for you, there will come times when you make decisions that are not going to make everyone happy,” Hawk said.

She said the records — computer-assisted dispatching reports — were the same ones released as public records by the police department last month when The Dispatch requested them.

“It is sort of a frustrating scenario to say that it is a (HIPAA) violation,” she said, referring to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which protects patients' personal information.

“I was honestly a little surprised that (Mrs. Sheets) would have come to a public meeting, instead of sending a letter, when you have a complaint about keeping things private,” Hawk said.

Chief Sheets and his wife were on vacation today and didn't return calls.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here