17 May 2012
Davis Wright Tremaine LLC Advisories
May 15, 2012
On May 10, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that an individual may be criminally convicted of knowingly obtaining health information in violation of HIPAA, even if the individual did not know that the access was illegal. The decision serves as a reminder to health care providers, health plans, and their business associates that ignorance of the law is not an excuse to criminal prosecution with respect to HIPAA, and that significant repercussions may result from accessing patient information without a valid reason.