Nurse pleads guilty to privacy violation

Carolyne Park reports in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

A Trumann woman who pleaded guilty to disclosing a patient’s health information is the first person in Arkansas to be convicted under a 5-year-old federal law designed to protect patient privacy, authorities said Wednesday.

Andrea Smith, a 25-year-old licensed practical nurse, pleaded guilty to wrongfully disclosing a patient’s health information for personal gain, according to a statement from Jane W. Duke, U. S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

On Nov. 28, 2006, Smith accessed the private health information of an unnamed patient while employed at the Northeast Arkansas Clinic in Jonesboro, according to the Tuesday statement. She then gave the information to her husband, Justin Smith, who called the patient and threatened to use the information against the patient in “an upcoming legal proceeding,” the statement said.

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3 comments to “Nurse pleads guilty to privacy violation”

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  1. Anonymous - April 17, 2008

    Point of clarification: a licensed practical nurse is someone with one year of technical training, and is licensed to practice under the direct supervision of a registered nurse. Therefor, the generic term, “nurse” should not be used as it conflates LPN and RN roles, scope of practice and licensure.

    In incidence and severity of LPN and RN board of nursing actions, there is a disproportionate ratio of LPN to RN based on number of licenses held by each group. Indeed, although skilled tasks have been added to the LPN role over the years, there is evidence that this results in more patient morbidity and mortality.

    Since nursing receives little or no attention from the media, the public is not generally aware of the hazards of using LPNs in wider roles with more dilute supervision. And it is not served by media who conflate professional nursing with assistive limited technical nursing support as practiced by the licensed practical nurse role. /rant

  2. Anonymous - April 17, 2008

    I get equally irritated when I read media reports that label folks like Phil McGraw and Lillian Glass “psychologists.” They are not licensed psychologists, are not functioning as licensed psychologists in their media roles, and the term “psychologist” has title protection in most states. The California regulatory board made an error, in my opinion, when it tried to please Hollywood by allowing the term “media psychologist.” I hope they are revisiting that now in light of recent egregious conduct and statements.

  3. Anonymous - April 17, 2008

    I agree. It does a disservice to the public. I hadn’t realized that there was such as term as a “media psychologist”. To me, that is a licensed psychologist who has the media as a client or subject of study.

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