Former Methodist Hospital Employees Charged with HIPAA Violations

The US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee announced the indictment of five former employees of a Tennessee-based Methodist Hospital for committing HIPAA violations. The five have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to unlawfully disclose patient information.

“A federal grand jury has indicted five former Methodist Hospital Employees for conspiring with Roderick Harvey, 40, to unlawfully disclose patient information in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, commonly known as “HIPAA.” United States Attorney Kevin G. Ritz announced the indictment today.

HIPAA was enacted by Congress in 1996 to create national standards to protect sensitive patient information from being disclosed without a patient’s knowledge or consent. HIPAA’s provisions make it a crime to disclose patient information, or to obtain patient information with the intent to sell, transfer or use such information for personal gain.

According to the indictment, between November 2017 and December 2020, Harvey paid Kirby Dandridge, 38, Sylvia Taylor, 43, Kara Thompson, 30, Melanie Russell, 41, and Adrianna Taber, 26, to provide him with names and phone numbers of Methodist patients who had been involved in motor vehicle accidents. After obtaining the information, Harvey sold the information to third persons including personal injury attorneys and chiropractors.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and three-year period of supervised release.

Roderick Harvey was also charged with seven counts of obtaining patient information with the intent to sell it for financial gain on various dates between November 12, 2017, and September 7, 2019. Each of those charges carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 and three years’ of supervised release.”

Kirby Dandridge, Sylvia Taylor, Kara Thompson, Melanie Russell, and Adrianna Taber were each charged with separate violations of disclosing the information to Harvey in violation of HIPAA. The charges for unlawfully disclosing patient information carries a maximum penalty of one year imprisonment, a $50,000 fine and a one-year period of supervised release.

“The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

United States Attorney Kevin Ritz thanked Assistant United States Attorney Carroll L. André III, who is prosecuting the case.”

As always, the charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. You can read the press release here.

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