Britney Spears' health has caused a major headache at UCLA Medical Center.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that at least 13 hospital employees are going to be fired and at least six others have been suspended for poking around in the pop star's confidential medical records. Six doctors are facing disciplinary action, as well.
"It's not only surprising, it's very frustrating, and it's very disappointing," Jeri Simpson, hospital director of human resources, told the paper. "I feel like we do everything that we possibly can to ensure the privacy of our patients, and I know we feel horrible that it happened again."
Echoing the sentiments of many, to be sure, she added, "I don't know what it is about this particular person. I don't know what it is about her."
This isn't the first time inquiring minds have wanted to know too much—several people were canned following the birth of Spears' son, Sean Preston, in September 2005, as well.
While the most noticeable obstacle to patient privacy was the horde of paparazzi that accompanied Spears and a phalanx of law enforcement to UCLA in the wee hours of Jan. 31, when she was admitted to the hospital's psych ward on a 72-hour hold for evaluation, it turns out it was the staff inside that needed reminding to keep their distance.
Spears was released Feb. 6, although doctors originally prescribed 14 days of bed rest.
Insiders have said it wasn't Spears' most recent stay that led to the pending disciplinary action, however, but rather a series of confidentiality breaches stemming from previous hospital visits.
When Spears was admitted to the facility Jan. 31, officials sent a memo to hospital staffers reminding them of their patient obligations.
"Each member of our workforce, which includes our physicians, faculty, employees, volunteers and students, is responsible to ensure that medical information is only accessed as required for treatment, for facilitating payment of a claim, or for supporting our healthcare operations," wrote chief compliance and privacy officer Carole A. Klove in an email obtained by the Times.
"We regularly monitor access to patient records, and in the event of an inappropriate access, we will investigate it, and if a violation is found, we will take appropriate action which can include termination," she said.
Meanwhile, union representatives are investigating to make sure the employees potentially on the chopping block are treated fairly.