HIPAA Violation —

This is straight from the Virginia Pilot –

“A Suffolk psychiatrist was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday for releasing personal medical information protected by federal privacy laws.
Dr. Richard Kaye, 62, was medical director of the psychiatric unit at Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk when he provided care for two weeks in 2007 to a mental health patient, according to the indictment from the United States Attorney of the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk. In February of 2008, he released personal health information to an agent of the patient’s employer.
If convicted, he faces a maximum of five years in prison.
According to the indictment, he indicated in discharge papers in 2007 that the patient was not of danger to self or others. But on three occasions in February of 2008 he made the unauthorized disclosure under “false pretenses” that the patient was a serious and imminent threat to the safety of the public, when in fact he knew that the patient was not such a threat.
Kaye’s attorney, Lawrence Woodward, said his client will be pleading not guilty to the charges. An arraignment is scheduled for July 13.
Violations of the federal privacy act known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are usually misdemeanors, but when made under false pretenses they can rise to a felony.
A voice mail on a phone listed as Kaye’s Suffolk office said his practice has been closed and he is no longer accepting patients. Kaye is a doctor of osteopathy and is board certified in psychiatry, according to Virginia Board of Medicine documents. The Board of Medicine investigated the same incident and issued a reprimand to Kaye in May of 2010. He was fined $5,000 and and put on probation until he completed eight hours of medical education on the subject of professional ethics.
He complied with the order, and his license was restored in October of 2010.”

Folks ask us all the time if they can “sue a doctor, nurse” for letting their private health information be made public… And I tell them, not really. You do have the right to file both civil and criminal claims, but you don’t get damages really. No amount of money as an apology.

This is the first time I have ever seen someone criminally prosecuted in Virginia. Not sure how I feel about it… But wanted to share none the less.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.