When we train employees on HIPAA, we always remind them that HIPAA violations carry significant penalties-both civil and criminal. Our favorite line is “Keep your day job.” Stealing patient information is never worth the consequences.
Stacy Laulu, a previous employee of Providence Alaska Medical Center (medical center) learned that lesson the hard way. She was recently sentenced to serve two 24 month prison terms concurrently for unauthorized disclosure of two patients’ health information.
Laulu was employed as a financial counselor at the medical center. Her husband was a close friend of Stuart Seugasala, and a co-defendant with Seugasala in a previous federal drug case. Saugasala kidnapped and sexually assaulted a victim and shot another individual, both of whom became patients at the medical center. The HIPAA violation occurred when Laulu looked into the patients’ records to see what the victims had told the police and the extent of their injuries and texted the information to Seugasala at his request.
Saugasala was convicted of the crimes against the two patients and Laula was convicted and sentenced for the HIPAA violations. Justice served.