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Clara City respiratory therapist reprimanded by state for twice reading patient records without authorization

A respiratory therapist from Clara City has been reprimanded by the state Board of Medical Practice for unauthorized access to patient records.

Stock photo illustration of a medical record
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ST. PAUL — A respiratory therapist from Clara City has been reprimanded by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for looking at patient records without authorization.

In addition to receiving a reprimand, Kurt Lee Koenen of Clara City was ordered to complete courses about compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. He is also to complete courses on professional boundaries.

Within three months of completing the courses, he is to submit a paper describing what he learned and how he will include it in his practice, according to the stipulation and order approved by the board Jan. 8.

Koenen may petition to have conditions on his license to practice lifted after he completes the requirements of the order.

According to the stipulation and order document, the board received a report in March 2021 alleging that Koenen had been terminated after unauthorized access to patient records.

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The board’s investigation found that Koenen had admitted to looking at protected health information, something he called “a stupid decision.” He said he knew looking at the information was wrong, according to the stipulation and order document.

At a Nov. 8 meeting with a committee of the board, Koenen admitted to looking at two patients’ medical records in December 2018 and January 2019.

If Koenen does not complete the requirements placed on him by the board, the board could set a hearing to determine whether to impose disciplinary action that could include limitations on his practice, or suspension or revocation of his license.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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