Five Former Employees of Tennessee Hospital Charged with Criminal HIPAA Violations

A federal grand jury in Memphis charged five ex-employees of Methodist Hospital in Tennessee with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) criminal violations for impermissibly obtaining the protected health information (PHI) of patients and giving that data to another person for monetary profit.

Based on the indictment, from November 2017 to December 2020, 40-year-old Roderick Harvey conspired with five ex-hospital employees and compensated them to give him the names and phone numbers of patients who had suffered motor vehicle accidents. Then, Harvey offered the information for sale to third parties including personal injury attorneys and chiropractors.

The ex-Methodist Hospital employees were 38-year-old Kirby Dandridge, 43-year-old Sylvia Taylor, 30-year-old Kara Thompson, 41-year-old Melanie
Russell, and 26-year-old Adrianna Taber. Together with Harvey, they were indicted with conspiracy to acquire patient data with the intention to sell, transmit or utilize such data for personal profit. They are facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison, three years of monitored release, and up to $250,000 financial penalty. All five employees also faced charges of separate HIPAA criminal violations for exposing patient data to Harvey. They are facing a maximum penalty of one year in prison, one year of monitored release, and up to a $50,000 financial penalty.

Harvey was charged with seven counts of getting patient data with the intention to sell the data for financial profit, with the offenses happening between November 12, 2017 and September 7, 2019. Harvey is facing up to 10 years imprisonment, up to $250,000 financial penalty, and three years of supervised release for every charge.

After discovering the unauthorized access, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare dismissed the employees from work for the HIPAA violations and reported the employees to the authorities. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, which Assistant United States Attorney Carroll L. André III prosecuted.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA