Hospital Employee Gets Jail Time For HIPAA Violation
Hospital employee sentenced to federal prison for 3-week long medical records spree.
Published Apr 29, 2010
A Chinese trained surgeon who formerly worked at the UCLA medical center as a researcher was sentenced this week to 4 months in a federal prison following a guilty plea to 4 counts of HIPAA violations. He was also fined $2000 on the misdemeanor offenses. Prosecutors say that this is the first jail sentence for HIPAA violations by a healthcare worker.
The FBI charged that the employee was terminated from his employment in 2003 for performance issues, and then launched into a 3-week long course of accessing records on an unauthorized basis. Among the records were those of his superior, his co-workers and celebrity patients in the UCLA Health System. Tom Hanks, Drew Barrymore and Arnold Schwarzenegger were among more than 320 individuals whose records were accessed.
The attorney for the man told television reporters that his client had no idea that looking at other people's records was a federal crime for which he could go to jail.