Former Humana employee admits to patient ID theft to support drug habit

Seen at American Medical News:

An ex-employee of health plan Humana pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining patient information to get prescription painkillers for himself.

Jason Browning, 28, of LaGrange, Ky., admitted to illegally obtaining personal information on four Humana members then submitting the data to a pharmacy to obtain prescriptions in their names. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud, fraud in connection with identification documents and violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Browning pleaded guilty last month, a year after the offenses occurred. According to reporting by Patrick Howington of the Courier-Journal, the offenses occurred while Browning was employed in information technology for Humana. Browning’s lawyer said that his client had subsequently agreed to help Humana address any internal security flaws.

There have been a number of cases where employees in the health care sector have stolen patient information to support drug habits. When they are employed in an entity’s information technology department, they have even greater capacity for escaping detection. There was no mention of how Browning’s illegal activity was uncovered, but it’s food for thought.

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