Florida officials to tighten security for prescription database - WFLA News Channel 8

Florida officials to tighten security for prescription database

Posted: Updated:
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (WFLA) -

State health officials said Wednesday they were beefing up security of the statewide prescription drug database to protect patient information, a week after the American Civil Liberties Union said patients' personal information was leaked.

The Florida Department of Health said it was working with law enforcement officials and Attorney General Pam Bondi to explore addition safety measures, including limiting the number of people from state agencies allowed to use the database, creating a system requiring all agency administrators be notified when a user requests database information and potentially disqualifying users who compromise patient information.

State officials said they also want more clearly displayed penalties for improper disclosure on the program's web-based disclosure screens.

Health officials are currently working on rules about the enhanced security and access of the database and will hold a workshop next month where stakeholders and the public can weigh in.

State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong said the database "works daily to save the lives of those with prescription narcotic addiction and privacy is job one. That's why today the department is taking steps forward to put additional safeguards in place to prevent any unauthorized use of information that is intended to save lives."

The database, which lawmakers created in an effort to crack down on the state's pill mills, leaked thousands of patients' personal information, even though some of the details were not part of any criminal investigation, the American Civil Liberties Union said last week.

Personal details, including dosage amounts, birthdates, addresses and other information was given to Volusia County prosecutors and defense attorneys who were working on six criminal cases. The ACLU said someone who was not part of a criminal investigation found out their prescription information was also given to the lawyers. It's unclear how many patients had information leaked who were not part of a criminal investigation.

Law enforcement officials said Florida has become the nation's epicenter of prescription drug abuse, at least in part because it was among several states that were late to implement monitoring programs.

Florida lawmakers approved the database, which tracks prescriptions for painkillers and other highly abused drugs, in a 2009 vote that split GOP legislators for weeks. The system was plagued by a series of political, legal and financial obstacles. It wasn't up and running until late 2011.

The system was first was hampered by a lack of state funding and was forced to rely, instead, on federal grants and private contributions.

Gov. Rick Scott tried to kill it with help from House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park. The Republican governor relented in the face of opposition from Bondi, former Senate President Mike Haridopolos and other senators who refused to repeal the law that created the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

State health officials said Florida deaths due to oxycodone have decreased by 17 percent and the number of doctor shoppers has decreased by nearly 58 percent since the database started.

Bondi called the increased security efforts a "common sense step to prevent criminal defense attorneys from compromising the confidentiality of Floridians' prescription records. The PDMP will help us save lives, and it's important that Floridians understand that the law enforcement community respects the laws that protect their privacy."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • How to find out if sinkholes are in your neighborhood

    How to find out if sinkholes are in your neighborhood

    Monday, July 21 2014 5:43 PM EDT2014-07-21 21:43:25 GMT
    A 2004 sinkhole in Deltona was four lanes wide. Associated Press file photoA 2004 sinkhole in Deltona was four lanes wide. Associated Press file photo
    Wondering if there are sinkholes in your neighborhood? Or, are you purchasing a home and want to know about sinkhole activity in the area?
    Wondering if there are sinkholes in your neighborhood? Or, are you purchasing a home and want to know about sinkhole activity in the area?
  • Flood insurance refunds issued beginning Oct. 1

    Flood insurance refunds issued beginning Oct. 1

    Monday, July 21 2014 3:59 PM EDT2014-07-21 19:59:42 GMT
    Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) announced that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is continuing to implement the Grimm-Cassidy Substitute Amendment to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. Insurance companies will begin to issue refunds for applicable policyholders beginning October 1, 2014.
    Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) announced that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is continuing to implement the Grimm-Cassidy Substitute Amendment to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. Insurance companies will begin to issue refunds for applicable policyholders beginning October 1, 2014.
  • Code Violators Skate in Hillsborough County

    Code Violators Skate in Hillsborough County

    Friday, July 18 2014 9:53 PM EDT2014-07-19 01:53:50 GMT
    If you want to let junk and trash pile up in your yard you can get away with it in Hillsborough county. 66 year old Brenda Owings has.She owns a property at 14508 Berkford Avenue in Citrus Park.Junk, trash and debris litter the lot from one end to the other. Neighbors have put up with the mess for 17 years."It's not a good situation, it needs to go," neighbor Larry Calder complained.County Code Enforcement can't make Owings do a thing at her property. Owings claims she lives in a house that's...
    If you want to let junk and trash pile up in your yard you can get away with it in Hillsborough county. 66 year old Brenda Owings has.She owns a property at 14508 Berkford Avenue in Citrus Park.Junk, trash and debris litter the lot from one end to the other. Neighbors have put up with the mess for 17 years."It's not a good situation, it needs to go," neighbor Larry Calder complained.County Code Enforcement can't make Owings do a thing at her property. Owings claims she lives in a house that's...
  • NewsMore>>

  • Family of 4-year-old boy killed on a Tampa street speaks out

    Family of 4-year-old boy killed on a Tampa street speaks out

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:36 PM EDT2014-07-22 03:36:45 GMT
    Marterrance AlburyMarterrance Albury
    "He's bad but he's a sweet bad. You know kids get into stuff and if he got into something, he would crawl up under the table and hide when he knows he is about to get in trouble,” said Williams as she remember her grandson Marterrance Albury who was killed Sunday
    "He's bad but he's a sweet bad. You know kids get into stuff and if he got into something, he would crawl up under the table and hide when he knows he is about to get in trouble,” said Williams as she remember her grandson Marterrance Albury who was killed Sunday
  • Tampa Police now question if boy rolled from SUV

    Tampa Police now question if boy rolled from SUV

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:18 PM EDT2014-07-22 03:18:48 GMT
    Tampa Police are investigating the death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night.Tampa Police are investigating the death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night.
    Tampa Police are investigating the tragic death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night. Marterrance Albury died at St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday morning.
    Tampa Police are investigating the tragic death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night. Marterrance Albury died at St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday morning.
  • New St. Petersburg Police Chief is Anthony Holloway

    New St. Petersburg Police Chief is Anthony Holloway

    Monday, July 21 2014 9:54 PM EDT2014-07-22 01:54:00 GMT
    Clearwater Police Chief, Anthony HollowayClearwater Police Chief, Anthony Holloway
    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will announce the new St. Petersburg Police Chief on Tuesday.
    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will announce the new St. Petersburg Police Chief on Tuesday.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    'Faces of Meth' program launched by Sheriff's office

    Monday, July 21 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-21 22:37:35 GMT
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
    'Faces of Meth' is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Tampa Police now question if boy rolled from SUV

    Tampa Police now question if boy rolled from SUV

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:18 PM EDT2014-07-22 03:18:48 GMT
    Tampa Police are investigating the death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night.Tampa Police are investigating the death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night.
    Tampa Police are investigating the tragic death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night. Marterrance Albury died at St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday morning.
    Tampa Police are investigating the tragic death of a 4-year-old boy who was found critically injured, sprawled on a Tampa road on Sunday night. Marterrance Albury died at St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday morning.
  • Family of 4-year-old boy killed on a Tampa street speaks out

    Family of 4-year-old boy killed on a Tampa street speaks out

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:36 PM EDT2014-07-22 03:36:45 GMT
    Marterrance AlburyMarterrance Albury
    "He's bad but he's a sweet bad. You know kids get into stuff and if he got into something, he would crawl up under the table and hide when he knows he is about to get in trouble,” said Williams as she remember her grandson Marterrance Albury who was killed Sunday
    "He's bad but he's a sweet bad. You know kids get into stuff and if he got into something, he would crawl up under the table and hide when he knows he is about to get in trouble,” said Williams as she remember her grandson Marterrance Albury who was killed Sunday
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.