A former employee of Florida Hospital Celebration Health has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wrongful disclosure of identifiable health information, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports (Tampa Bay Business Journal, 10/23).
Background on Breach
Dale Munroe -- who registered emergency department patients at Celebration Health -- allegedly accessed the files of patients who were treated for injuries resulting from automobile accidents at multiple hospitals across the state, according to the FBI investigation.
According to the complaint in U.S.A. v. Munroe, Munroe accessed about 763,000 patient records from late 2009 through mid-2011. The complaint stated that Munroe sold the information to firms that then contacted the patients and asked if they needed a referral to a lawyer or chiropractor.
Munroe and his wife allegedly were paid approximately $10,000 for information from the records.
Officials' Response to the Breach
The hospital fired Munroe in July 2011 after officials discovered that he had improperly accessed the file of a physician who had been killed.
However, his wife and another hospital employee continued accessing patient records after Munroe's firing.
Officials discovered the scheme in August 2011 when a hospital employee received a solicitation call and reported the issue to the hospital, which then fired Munroe's wife and the other hospital worker.
Following a 10-month investigation, the FBI arrested Monroe in August (iHealthBeat, 8/23).
Timeline of Court Proceedings
Munroe's sentencing hearing will be held Jan. 14, 2013. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
Another trial is set to begin in December for Sergei Kusyakov, who is accused of paying Munroe to gather the patient data (Pavuk, Orlando Sentinel, 10/22).