Thursday, July 1, 2010

Will Your Employees Be Bribed to Steal Patient Data?

A hospital was victimized by a trusted employee who was enticed into stealing patient data by the promise of a few thousand dollars.

What are you doing to help your employees avoid the lures of organized crime? Do your employees feel they are certain to be caught if they steal patient data?

Corrupted by the promise of $4,000, a surgical instrument technician at a Pittsburgh hospital stole patient names and Social Security numbers. The criminals who recruited him used the patient data to file unauthorized tax returns to claim $84,190 in tax refunds.
""He did not know that these numbers were going to be used for fraudulent tax returns. He's ... almost a victim himself." - Attorney Anthony Bittner, who represents the defendant
The hospital technician, who said he never received the promised cash, plead guilty to unauthorized disclosure of personal medical information in violation of the HIPAA federal law. He faces up to one year in prison and a fine of $50,000. The people who corrupted him escaped prosecution by fleeing the country.

The crime was detected when patients of the hospital discovered that their tax returns already had been filed, they alerted the U.S. Postal Service, IRS and U.S. Secret Service. Those organizations conducted an investigation that led to the indictment in this case.

Download a white paper on medical records privacy breach detection as a service. Veripyr delivers a credible detective control that discourages employees from violating patient privacy - with no hardware and no on-site software.
Sources:
(a) Zambian man pleads guilty to identity theft of hospital patients - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 1, 2011
(b) Former UPMC Shadyside Hospital Employee Pleads Guilty to HIPAA Violation - US Attorney's Office, Western District of Pennsylvania, June 30, 2011


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