Palmetto General Hospital employee and accomplice sentenced for stealing patient records

Jacquettia L. Brown, 29, and Tear Renee Barbary, 25, both residents of Miami-Dade County, were both sentenced this week following their conviction on offenses relating to the theft of patient records from Palmetto General Hospital to further a fraud scheme.

U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced Brown to two years and five days of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Barbary was sentenced to eleven months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Both Brown and Barbary were prohibited from working in the health care industry while on supervised release.

Brown and Barbary had previously been convicted of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(b)(2), and criminal violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Title 42, United States Code, Sections 1320d-6(a)(2), (a)(3), and (b)(3). In addition, Brown was convicted of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Brown stole patient profile records while she was working as a medical records employee of Palmetto General Hospital. The records contained individually identifiable health information of Palmetto General Hospital patients, including patients’ names, birthdates, addresses, Social Security numbers, diagnoses, and next of kin contacts, among other information.

Brown and Barbary then used the stolen personal information to further a credit card fraud conspiracy. Brown used the stolen identifying information to obtain patients’ credit card account numbers. She gave patient profile records and credit card account numbers to Barbary, who used the information to make unauthorized credit card purchases. When law enforcement officials disrupted the scheme in May 2009, Brown was in possession of 41 patient profile records and Barbary was in possession of six patient profile records. Brown admitted to stealing patient information from her employer since September 2008.

The confidentiality of patient information is strictly protected by HIPAA. HIPAA precludes the unauthorized release of information that is created or received by a health care provider and relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental condition of an individual, the provision of health care to the individual, or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual, and that either identifies the individual or includes information that could be used to identify the individual.

Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, commended the efforts of agents and investigators from the Identity Theft and Economic Crimes Task Force, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Miami Dade Police Department for their work on this case. Sloman also thanked Tenet Healthcare Corporation, parent company of Palmetto General Hospital, for its cooperation in the investigation of this matter. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Hunter.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office

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