Board ends HIPAA inquiry of Board President Laurie Endres

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BELOIT - The School District of Beloit Board of Education is closing the inquiry into whether President Laurie Endres may have violated patient privacy laws.

Former board member Dennis Baskin had alleged in open session that Endres shared with him information pertaining to Superintendent Tom Johnson's private medical situation. Endres' employer, Beloit Health System, had cleared her of any misconduct. The school district agreed to investigate, asking Baskin to provide district lawyers with any information he had.

The board ends the investigation after obtaining no information from Baskin.

The board went into closed session at its Tuesday meeting to get a legal update on the issue. The board issued an official statement following the meeting:

"The board considers the allegation made by Dr. (Dennis) Baskin against board president Endres to be closed. The board through its attorneys reached out to Dr. Baskin for clarification of his allegations. As of this date no information has been received from Dr. Baskin and therefore the board deems this matter to be closed."

On May 23, the district issued a statement that it would consult with legal counsel regarding the allegation.

During the May 22 televised meeting, Baskin said Endres revealed to him some personal medical information about Johnson, which he considered to be a violation of Johnson's rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Baskin said he asked Endres how she obtained the private information, and alleged she replied that she had connections and access. Endres is director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Beloit Health System.

Baskin later told the Beloit Daily News he had a contemporaneous conversation in November with another board member - now a former member - who would corroborate Baskin's version of events. Baskin declined to name the former board member until he had communicated his accusations to Beloit Health System.

By presstime today, Baskin had not presented any further evidence to the Beloit Daily News and was not responding to phone calls seeking comment on whether he had or intended to provide any information to school district attorneys.

The board member to whom Baskin had referred for corroboration has not come forward either.

Beloit Health System (BHS) found the allegations against Endres to be unfounded. After "an access audit" by BHS's Health Information Department a letter was issued to Endres saying no evidence was found indicating she violated policies and the matter was considered closed. Endres released the letter to the public.

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