Author Name Patrick Ouellette
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) told the Monroeville 911 dispatch center back in March that it had 30 days after sending a letter on March 21 requesting that an investigation be conducted regarding protected health information (PHI) being exposed to a former police chief. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently obtained a copy of the investigation report, which reveals that there are more layers to this story than expected.
John J. Daley, the private investigator and author of the report, according to the Post-Gazette placed ultimate responsibility on police Sgt. Doug Cole, the man who was demoted from police chief after then-Assistant Chief Steven Pascarella filed a complaint with federal authorities accusing him of a PHI breach. Here are some details from the report:
– Monroeville 911 records — including names, addresses and medical information — were available to unauthorized people from August 2010 through February 2013.
– There was no protocol in place to remove former or inactive emergency responders from the list of people receiving 911 dispatch data.
– Curious volunteer firefighters were able to access police call information, sometimes after hearing calls on the police radio.
– Firefighters on one occasion reportedly reviewed police 911 information about a rape case.
– Members of the police and fire departments appear to have violated the municipality’s employee handbook regarding computer usage.
– Sgt. Cole was repeatedly warned about potential problems with access to dispatch data, but said in interviews with investigators that he did not recall such issues being brought to his attention.
South Miami Hospital breach update
Following up another story previously reported on HealthITSecurity.com, Betty Cole of Miami has pleaded guilty for her part in a tax fraud ring. Cole is looking at up to seven years in federal prison when she is sentenced later this year, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Cole, a former South Miami Hospital respiratory therapist, is being charged with stealing more than 834 patients’ Social Security numbers between June of 2011 and February 2012. But her cooperation with authorities in the investigation of the group’s leader, Alci Bonannee, has lightened her sentence.
Staten Island nurse arrested for identity fraud
The New York Post is reporting yet another medical identity fraud story – this latest one involving a Staten Island nurse who stole 80 patients’ identities as part of a fraud ring coming out of South Shore Physicians, P.C.
Amanda Zieminski and Clyde Forteau ended up raking in $675,000 over the course of five years. The two were caught by detailing their exploits over social media, but Zieminski had already been laid off from South Shore Physicians, P.C. due to over-reporting her work hours. She, along with Forteau and three others, had been part of the ring since 2004. The district attorney handling the case has already announced 64 counts as part of the indictment and charges included fraud, falsifying records and theft.