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Simone Colgan Dunlap quoted in article “Phoenix VA Official May Have Broken Privacy Law”

AZCentral.com

Below is an excerpt:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating whether a top employee in Phoenix violated patient-privacy law when he sent an e-mail to staffers about a veteran's suicide highlighted in a political ad by U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

Glenn Costie, acting director of the Phoenix VA Healthcare System, sent the e-mail Sept. 4, defending the hospital's role in caring for Daniel Somers, an Iraq war veteran who took his own life last summer.

Costie was responding to a re-election ad for Sinema that features the parents of Somers, praising her efforts to reform the VA and criticizing the hospital's treatment of Somers.

Simone Colgan Dunlap, a Phoenix health-care attorney at Quarles & Brady LLP, said it's understandable that VA administrators would want to communicate with employees about a situation that has attracted media attention. She said it's possible that exceptions in the law could cover it.

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