Healthcare News & Insights

Patient data theft: Former hospital employee goes to prison

Unfortunately, for hospitals and their patients, stealing patients’ protected health information (PHI) can be a lucrative business. But fortunately for hospitals and patients, it’s harder and harder for employees to get away with patient data theft — just ask Dale Munroe II and his accomplices.

A former employee at Florida Hospital’s Celebration campus, Munroe admitted to stealing and selling patients’ PHI. Now he’ll be spending time in jail.

He recently was sentenced to a year and one day in federal prison and two years probation.

Munroe, whose job it was to register patients as they came into the emergency room,  illegally accessed more than 763,000 records for patients treated at various hospital branches from 2009 to July 2011, according to the Orlando Sentinel — an average employee, during the same time period, accessed about 12,100 records.

After Munroe was fired, his wife Katrina, who also worked at the hospitals, started stealing patient information.

Accomplice

The authorities noted that the Munroes sold patients’ phone numbers and the details of their accidents and treatments to Sergei Kusyakov, a central Florida man associated with medical centers and an injury hotline.

Prosecutors noted that Kusyakov paid Dale and Katrina more than $10,000 for the stolen patient information.

Kusyakov also pleaded guilty in federal court to his part in the patient data theft. He will be sentenced on March 25.

Federal authorities said Kusyakov, who was involved with Metro Chiropractic and Wellness Center, and City Lights Medical Center, along with other conspirators, used the illegally obtained patient info to solicit customers for lawyers and chiropractors.

Court documents showed that some patients were contacted within days of being treated in the hospital’s ER, and that the callers had specific detail of the patients’ accidents and treatments.

Note: Katrina also pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme, and will be sentenced March 11.

 

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