Alberta nurse fined $3,000 for snooping
July 18, 2018
EDMONTON – A registered nurse in Fox Creek, located 259 km northwest of Edmonton, has been fined $3,000 after pleading guilty to accessing health information of two people over three years, says Alberta Health Services.
Jasmine Badger, a nurse at the Fox Creek Healthcare Centre, pleaded guilty to accessing health information in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA) and received a $3,000 fine, plus a victim fine surcharge of 30 percent of the imposed fine, said AHS in a news release.
In 2016, two people requested audit logs of accesses to their health information in Alberta Netcare, the provincial electronic health record.
Upon review of their audit logs, they alleged unauthorized access to their health information at the Fox Creek Healthcare Centre even though they never received health services there, said AHS.
They then reported the matter to the Alberta Health Services’ Access and Privacy Office. In October 2016, the office of the information and privacy commissioner received a report about the breaches from AHS.
In December 2016, the complainants submitted their cases to the office of the privacy commissioner.
The resulting investigation by the commissioner found that Badger accessed the health information of the individuals 138 times between April 1, 2013 to July 18, 2016.
But due to a two-year limitation period under the act, Badger pleaded guilty to accessing the health information of one of the individuals on 35 occasions between Oct. 7, 2015 and July 18, 2016, and eight unauthorized accesses to the health information of the second individual between Nov. 1, 2015 and July 18, 2016.
The health information accessed included medical profiles, demographic information, consultation details, lab results or analysis including blood work, and diagnostic imaging results such as X-rays and MRIs.
The office of the information and privacy commissioner referred its findings to Crown prosecutors at Alberta Justice and the charges were laid in October 2017.
When it comes to Badger’s career, AHS said in a late Friday statement that it has “addressed the breach in accordance with its collective agreement obligations and established labour law principles.”
The employee, adds the statement, will continue to be monitored for any future inappropriate access of patient information and has completed remedial privacy training.
This case is the ninth conviction since the Health Information Act was enacted in 2001. It is the first case in which a victim fine surcharge, which helps fund victim services, has been issued.