A former University of Pittsburgh Medical Center patient information manager has been accused by a federal grand jury over illegal infringements of HIPAA Laws, as per a declaration by the Division of Justice on June 29, 2018.
Linda Sue Kalina, 61, of Butler, Pennsylvania, has been accused in a six-count accusation that includes unlawfully acquiring and revealing the PHI of 111 patients.
Kalina worked at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Allegheny Health Network between March 30, 2016 and August 14, 2017. While hired at the healthcare companies, Kalina is suspected to have retrieved the protected health information (PHI) of those patients without approval or any genuine work reason for doing so.
Moreover, Kalina is charged to have thieved PHI and, on four separate occurrences between December 30, 2016, and August 11, 2017, revealed that information to three people with the intention to cause malevolent harm.
Kalina was detained after an inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was taken up by the Division of Justice and she is being impeached by Assistant United States Attorney, Carolyn Bloch, on behalf of the national government.
If found guilty on all counts, Kalina faces up to 11 years in jail and might be ordered to pay a penalty of up to $350,000. The punishment will be determined by the significance of the crimes and any earlier criminal history.
The Division of Justice is taking a hard line on people who breach HIPAA Laws and impermissibly access and reveal PHI with malevolent intention. There have been many other instances in 2018 that have seen former healthcare employees prosecuted for criminal HIPAA breaches, with three cases leading to confinement.
In June 2018, a former worker of the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, Albert Torres, 51, was punished to serve 3 years in jail for the thievery of PHI and identity theft. Torres pleaded guilty to the accusations after law enforcement officers found the records of 1,030 patients in his house.
In April, 2018, ex-receptionist at a New York dental practice, Annie Vuong, 31, was punished to serve 2 to 6 years in jail for thieving the PHI of 650 patients and providing that information to two people who used the data to rack up colossal debts in patients’ names.
In February, an ex-behavioral analyst at the Transformations Autism Treatment Center in Bartlett, TN, Jeffrey Luke, 29, was punished to 30 days in jail, 3 years controlled release, and was ordered to pay $14,941.36 in compensation after downloading the PHI of 300 existing and past patients onto his own computer.