LAPORTE, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has confirmed the CEO of Northwest Health announced her resignation. Ashley Dickinson’s last day as the head of the hospital system will be at the end of July. The announcement comes as Northwest Health continues to face the fallout from mass HIPAA violations at LaPorte Hospital that were uncovered in an RNM investigation earlier this year.
BACKGROUND ON HIPAA VIOLATIONS
REAL News Michiana first reported on the mass HIPAA violations in an article on March 15th, after a whistleblower provided photos and videos showing thousands of patient files simply abandoned at the old LaPorte hospital. The files contain social security numbers, birth dates, healthcare information, even pictures of surgeries and naked bodies. In response to our investigation and inquiries into the HIPAA violations, Northwest Health requested RNM destroy the evidence we obtained. RNM refused the request as to not be part of any coverup.
The old hospital was vacated after Northwest Health constructed a new hospital that opened in 2020. Demolition of the old facility located at 1007 Lincolnway was to begin over the summer of 2022 and was supposed to be completed this spring. However, issues between the hospital system and the demolition company delayed the project. In fact, the hospital system took back control of the building from the demolition company earlier this year, according to sources.
WHO IS ASHLEY DICKINSON?
According to the Northwest Health website, Dickinson was appointed to the CEO position in 2021. Prior to taking the CEO position of the entire system, Dickinson was the chief executive officer of Northwest Health – La Porte and Northwest Health – Starke starting in 2017. It appears she was integral in the planning and execution of building and moving into the new hospital in LaPorte.
“Since she was appointed CEO of the hospitals in La Porte and Knox in 2017, Dickinson has worked with board members, physicians and colleagues to expand services, including building a replacement hospital in La Porte.” An article from 2021 on the Northwest Health website reads.
While the hospital system has not said Dickinson’s resignation has anything to do with the debacle at LaPorte Hospital, according to a statement from Northwest Health, Dickinson has taken a lower level job as the Chief Operating Officer at a hospital system in Texas.
In April, Northwest Health filed a lawsuit against the whistleblower who uncovered the HIPAA violations. In a 10 page filing full of false and frivolous allegations, the hospital system claims the whistleblower illegally “accessed, removed, and published confidential patient records.” When, in fact, he was a 3rd party contractor who was given a master key to enter the building by the demolition company to help remove and sell equipment that was left on the site by Northwest Health when the building was vacated.
Last month, the whistleblower filed a countersuit for defamation. In order to attempt to save face, representatives of the hospital also went on a media blitz in which they continued to make several false accusations regarding the whistleblower and his involvement in the HIPAA violations.
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