The National Health Insurance Service has punished 74 employees for the past four years due to a variety of wrongdoings such as personal information leakage, taking bribes, embezzlement and sexual harassment, a lawmaker, said Tuesday.
One in five of those punished had leaked private information, raising an alarm that NHIS’ holding of big data on the Korean people’s subscription and medical information should come under tighter watch.
Rep. Song Seok-jun of the opposition Liberty Korea Party said the number of NHIS employees who received a penalty from 2014 to July 2017 stood at 74. Among them, 15, or 20 percent, were penalized for “inappropriately processing personal information,” including checking private information without permission.
Mostly, those punished were officials between third and fifth grades and the punishment was either a reprimand, suspension or a wage cut. Some cases included a three-month suspension for opening private information for three years, a dismissal for repeated openings of such information and a sacking for leaking personal information. Another 11, or 15 percent, failed to perform a task appropriately. Eight, or 11 percent, breached a duty to maintain dignity.
Another eight, or 11 percent, violated a code of conduct, going absent without leave, falsely reporting about a business trip, unkindly responding to civil complaints and using the time of business trip for a personal purpose.
Seven, or 9 percent of those punished, included an employee who was dismissed for receiving bribes and embezzling the state company’s money. Another got a three-month suspension after attempting to take bribes.
Other cases included a three-month suspension for requesting a false document from an acquainted physician, a wage cut for a month for fighting with a colleague, a three-month suspension for sexual harassment, a dismissal for sexually harassing a minor, a two-month suspension for repeatedly being absent without prior notice and a three-month suspension for touching arms and legs of a female employee.
“NHIS has sensitive medical information of individuals, but some NHIS employees were found to have opened other persons’ information for three years without permission,” Song said. “We need to properly protect people’s private information and manage them, to prevent a leakage of personal information from recurring.”
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