- Associated Press - Thursday, February 3, 2011

IOWA CITY, IOWA (AP) - The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will fire three employees and hand two others unpaid five-day suspensions after an investigation confirmed they inappropriately breached the medical records of hospitalized football players, a spokesman said Thursday.

UI spokesman Tom Moore told The Associated Press the move “is an indication of our commitment to patient privacy.” He said the breaches have been reported to federal regulators, who can choose whether to seek additional fines and jail time against those involved.

Moore said the hospital will not release the names of the employees involved or their positions. He said the school was “in the process” of seeking terminations and issuing the suspensions, but would not elaborate.

The hospital said last week it was launching an investigation into the possibility that the privacy of the medical records of the 13 Iowa football players who were hospitalized with a rare muscle disorder may have been breached. Moore said the investigation confirmed there were five responsible for the breaches, and that the student-athletes affected have been notified.

The players are affected by rhabdomyolysis, which causes muscle tissue to be released into the bloodstream and can cause kidney damage. They checked into the hospital last week after intense winter workouts and were all discharged by Sunday.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday he remains unclear about what caused the disorder, and that the university continues to investigate.

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