Prosecutions for this crime have been rare. But today U.S. Attorney Jane Duke announced a guilty plea by Andrea Smith, 25, a Trumann nurse, for wrongfully disclosing a patient's health information for personal gain. This is a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Duke said in a news release that Smith disclosed information about a patient at a clinic where she worked to her husband. Justin. He then threatened to use the information against the patient in an upcoming legal proceeding.
The action was reported. Andrea Smith was fired. Both she and her husband were indicted. In a plea bargain, charges against her husband were dropped in return for her guilty plea to one count. She faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The privacy provisions of HIPAA are "serious and have signifcant consequences if they are violated," Duke said in the news release.