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HealtHITech Law HIPAA, HITECH and Beyond

Employee Sentenced to 3 Years for Violating HIPAA

Posted in Enforcement

A nursing assistant at a Florida assisted living facility was sentenced last week to 37 months in prison for violating HIPAA’s prohibition on the wrongful disclosure of patient health information.  The employee negotiated the sale of Social Security numbers with an undercover Tampa police detective.  According to the criminal complaint, the employee obtained information from the assisted living facility patient records.

Since the enactment of HITECH in 2009, the vast majority of HIPAA enforcement has been initiated by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, resulting in civil penalties and corrective action plans.  This prosecution serves as a reminder that HIPAA contains severe criminal penalties as well.  A person who knowingly uses, obtains, or discloses individually identfiable health ifnormation with the intent to sell, transfer, or use the information for commercial advantage, personal gain, or malicious harm shall be fined not more than $250,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 10 years.  42 USC 1320d-6.

You can read the entire article from the Tampa Bay Times here.