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Action Taken Against Healthcare Employees for Fraud and Privacy Breaches

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Earlier this month, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that four former nursing home aides had been arrested and charged with felonies and misdemeanors relating to the taking of photographs and videos of nursing home residents.

Mathew Reynolds and Angel Rood, former employees of Pontiac Nursing Home in Oswego, were charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree and Willful Violation of the Public Health Law after taking demeaning pictures of residents. According to the announcement, “Several of the pictures allegedly depict the defendants lying in bed with a resident and touching the resident in a taunting and abusive manner.”

In a separate case, Austin Powell and Brittany Bolster were charged with Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, in addition to Willful Violation of the Public Health Law for offenses committed while employed at St. Lukes Health Services in Oswego. In this case, videos were taken of the pair verbally and physically tormenting a resident.

The practice of taking photographs and videos of nursing home residents in degrading poses, and sharing those images and videos with others via social media, was recently highlighted by a ProPublica investigation.

Following the publication of the ProPublica report, the CMS vowed to crack down on the practice and took steps to improve oversight of nursing homes.

In New York, the practice will not be tolerated. According to Schneiderman, “We will keep working to prosecute the abuse and neglect of nursing home residents, and punish those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”

Hospital Patients Targeted by Identity Thieves in Connecticut

Jamila Williams-Stevenson and Loretta Coburn have been accused of orchestrating an identity theft ring using patient data obtained from Yale-New Haven Hospital. According to federal investigators, several patients of the hospital have had their identities stolen, although in total, more than 20 individuals have been targeted. Williams-Stevenson has been accused of using her position at the hospital as a companion/sitter to steal patient data.

Once Social security numbers of patients had been obtained, the pair allegedly changed the victims’ addresses and started applying for credit cards in the victims’ names. The identity theft scheme allegedly spanned two years.

Williams-Stevenson has been charged with Bank Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft, while Coburn has been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud.

Woman Pleads Guilty to Taking Over Hospital Patients’ Bank Accounts

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. has announced that Krystle Steed, a former employee of New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital, plead guilty to using patient information to commit fraud. Between January 2014 and February 2015, Steed used information stolen from more than 80 emergency room patients and took control of their bank accounts. She also obtained goods from luxury retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue using the victims’ credit accounts. Steed allegedly purchased more than $300,000 worth of goods and attempted to obtain goods worth a further $1 million.

Steed used patient data that were stolen by her husband Kyle Steed, who was also employed at Lenox Hill Hospital. Kyle Steed was convicted of Attempted Grand Larceny in the First Degree earlier this year. Krystle Steed has pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, Identity Theft in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree and will be sentenced on October 13, 2016.

Author: HIPAA Journal

HIPAA Journal provides the most comprehensive coverage of HIPAA news anywhere online, in addition to independent advice about HIPAA compliance and the best practices to adopt to avoid data breaches, HIPAA violations and regulatory fines.

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