It doesn’t happen often, but sentences can include jail for individuals convicted of an extreme HIPAA Violation.
A HIPAA Violation can land a healthcare worker in prison
In October, 2016, A federal judge sentenced a former respiratory therapist to two years probation, a $500 fine and one day in jail for records snooping.
Jamie Knapp, then a respiratory therapist working for ProMedica Bay Park Hospital in Oregon, Ohio, could have spent up to six months in prison for the HIPAA Violation – in this case the unauthorized viewing 600 patient medical records.
HIPAA Violation can indicated a drug problem
The prosecutor, in asking for a prison sentence, argued that Knapp was attempting to identify ProMedica patients’ prescription drug details in an effort to steal narcotics either for her own use or for sale.
“Miss Knapp, said the judge as reported in The Toledo Blade, ” I need you to see what the inside of a jail cell looks like as a result of what’s gone on here.”
Knapp was not charged with either theft of drugs or identity theft. The unauthorized records access occurred in 2012 and 2013.
Just looking at an unauthorized record is a criminal HIPAA Violation
As part of Knapp’s job responsibilities at ProMedica, she was required to review patient records. But HIPAA rules limited that access to the Protected Health Information of patients under her care. It is a HIPAA Violation for anyone – even healthcare providers – to access health records without permission.
Training and communication are HIPAA Compliance essentials. Make sure your team knows the rules and your management understands the warning signs of a HIPAA Violation. The HIPAA E-Tool® features everything you need to protect your business and employees.