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>>

  • Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Hyundai recalls 888,700 Sonata Sedans

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:14 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:14:48 GMT
    Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled. Over 800,000 Hyundai Sonata Sedans have been recalled.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
    Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.Stay connected with the news of the day.
  • Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Removal of tons of stinky rice near Port of Tampa begins

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:06:23 GMT
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
    The nasty stench near the Port of Tampa may get better soon. Dump trucks worked to remove some of the 1,000 tons of rotting rice on the private land Wednesday. 8 On Your Side discovered the shipment of bad rice, rotting under tarps on property owned by Tampa Marine Terminals on Tuesday.
  • SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:50:00 GMT
    WFLA file photo.WFLA file photo.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Pinellas commissioners to tour new public safety complex

    Thursday, July 31 2014 5:30 AM EDT2014-07-31 09:30:41 GMT
    The complex renderingThe complex rendering
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
    Pinellas County Commissioners will have a VIP tour this morning of the brand new public safety complex.
  • Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Family, friends hold vigil for slain Sarasota teen

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:49:45 GMT
    Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota. Family and friends of 17-year-old Teria'le Rawls gathered for a memorial service Wednesday night in Sarasota.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
    There wasn’t a dry eye in sight as friends and family of 17 year-old Teria’le Rawls gathered for a memorial outside her Sarasota home on Wednesday night.Rawls was shot and killed early Monday morning when she was hit by a stray bullet while in the parking lot of the Royal Palm Movie Theater in Manatee County.
  • Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Seminole man injured in crash on Blind Pass Rd.

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-31 02:00:01 GMT
    The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.The crash occurred just after 1:30 pm Wednesday.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
    A 27-year-old Seminole man was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Blind Pass Rd. and 77th Ave. in St. Pete Beach.Adam Keehnle was transported to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Dramatic doggie makeovers put new face to pet adoption

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:14 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:14:31 GMT
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
    What a difference a bath can make! Millions of shelter dogs across the United States just need a little bit of grooming and TLC in order to shine, as evidenced by these photos.
  • SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    SAFETY ALERT: Saltwater bacteria kills 1 in Sarasota

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:50 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:50:00 GMT
    WFLA file photo.WFLA file photo.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
    A death in Sarasota County has health officials reminding people about a bacteria in Florida's coastal waters that has the potential to cause serious illness, even death. Other counties in Tampa Bay have reported cases of Vibrio vulnificus.
  • Lakeland gymnastics coach accused of sex with minor

    Lakeland gymnastics coach accused of sex with minor

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:56:59 GMT
    A man who works as a gymnastics coach in Lakeland has been accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
    A man who works as a gymnastics coach in Lakeland has been accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl.
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.