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Doctor Indicted on Alleged HIPAA Violations

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

June 23, 2011

In what it describes as "a rare prosecution" of a possible Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violation, The Virginian-Pilot reports on a federal grand jury's indictment Tuesday of a psychiatrist for allegedly disclosing personal health information (PHI). According to the indictment, the doctor released a patient's PHI "on three different occasions to an 'agent' of the patient's employer without authorization." Criminal prosecution of alleged HIPAA violations is unusual, the report states, noting that of the 9,000 violations reported in 2010, the 30 percent warranting corrective action generally resulted in fines or changes in practices. The doctor, who is scheduled to be arraigned on July 13, could face up to five years in prison.
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