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Prison Sentence Handed Down for HIPAA Violations

HEALTHCARE PRIVACY—U.S.

April 28, 2010

NBC News is reporting that a former UCLA School of Medicine researcher was sentenced to four months in prison yesterday for illegally viewing the medical files of celebrities and others while employed there. According to the report, Huping Zhou is the first person ever sentenced to prison for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Zhou pleaded guilty to accessing patient records more than 300 times in a one-week period in 2003. "Healthcare companies have to be very aware of these risks of inappropriate insider access to health information," Wiley Rein partner Kirk Nahra, CIPP, told the Daily Dashboard. "We are seeing problems across a wide range of entities, involving celebrities, personal relationships and more sinister motives, such as identity theft and healthcare fraud."  
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