Case Management

News: HIPAA violator sentenced to prison

Case Management Weekly, May 5, 2010

A former UCLA Healthcare System employee will serve four months in prison for snooping at patients’ records, according to a Department of Justice press release.

Huping Zhou, 47, of Los Angeles, admitted to illegally reading private and confidential medical records, mainly from celebrities and other high-profile patients.

According to the DOJ, on the night of October 29, 2003, Zhou accessed and read his immediate supervisor’s medical records and those of other co-workers. He was dismissed from UCLA Healthcare for reasons unrelated reasons later that day.

During the next three weeks Zhou accessed the UCLA patient records system 323 times, with most access involving celebrities, according to the DOJ.

The DOJ says this was the first HIPAA privacy violator to receive a prison sentence.

However, Richard Gibson, a laboratory assistant in Washington state received a 16–month sentence after pleading guilty to four misdemeanor counts of violating the HIPAA Privacy Rule in 2004. Gibson accessed the medical records of a patient with terminal cancer and incurred expenses exceeding $9,000 with the patient’s credit card.

Source: HIPAA Weekly Advisor

Most Popular