The Department of Corrections concluded that the name of an inmate should be erased from the video testimony of an whistle-blower at a Senate committee because of federal HIPAA privacy laws, an agency spokesman told the Herald/Times.
Doug Glisson, an inspector with the DOC’s Office of Inspector General, testified under oath at the March 10 meeting of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee that the agency covered up potentially negligent medical care, criminal activity and sabotaged investigations to protect high ranking officials within the organization.
Among the examples Glisson cited was the case of inmate Quintin Foust, whose death was listed as “suspicious” by the medical examiner. Glisson said Foust was “undergoing medical care” at Jefferson Correctional Institution but did not provide any details about his medical condition or ailments. He said Foust “started having seizures” and “wound up dying.”
Glisson said he and his investigator believed that a criminal investigation should have been conducted of Foust’s death but was told by “upper management at the Office of Inspector General to close that criminal case” because of a “conversation he had had with the state attorney’s office and that we would run that case administratively.”
Foust's cause of death is now listed as "natural" on the DOC web site.
Some time after the Senate hearing, DOC concluded that Glisson’s testimony violated the federal HIPAA privacy rule, which protects individuals from disclosure of identifiable health information, said McKinley Lewis, DOC spokesman.
Lewis then provided the time codes from the video to The Florida Channel and asked them to scrub the name references from the audio.
"The department notified The Florida Channel that some of the information released violated federal HIPAA law,’’ Lewis said. “We have a responsibility to protect the personal health information of all inmates and staff.”
Glisson has been under fire at the agency since he sought and was denied whistle-blower protection from Gov. Rick Scott’s chief inspector general, Melinda Miguel. Glisson attempted to alert Miguel of cover-ups within the Office of the Inspector General but she denied him whistle-blower protection.
Lewis told the Herald/Times that Glisson was was stripped of his investigative post in February. He now has no access to DOC records and is also being investigated for violating agency rules, possibly including the alleged HIPAA violation.