- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department says 260 patient records were improperly accessed.

The department said in a statement Wednesday that an investigation found that a Health Care Center staff member accessed information electronically for an unauthorized academic data research project.

The department director, Dr. Takashi Wada, says so far there’s no reason to believe any identifying information was shared outside the department, and the staff member has been denied access to any further patient information.

Patients are being notified by letter and, depending on the case, credit monitoring has been offered.

Wada says privacy and security is a department priority and all Health Care Center staff members are being retrained.

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