In the first case of its kind, a former medical researcher at the UCLA School of Medicine has been ordered to serve four months in federal prison for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA.”)
Huping Zhou now has the dubious honor of being the first person to ever receive a prison sentence for violating HIPAA’s privacy regulations. According to a press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, “Zhou is the first person in the nation to be convicted and incarcerated for misdemeanor HIPAA offenses for merely accessing confidential records without a valid reason or authorization.”
Mr. Zhou apparently “snooped” into the medical records of several celebrities after being informed that he was about to be fired for performance related reasons. According to court documents, Mr. Zhou looked through patients’ records approximately 320 times over a three week period.
There was no evidence that Mr. Zhou improperly used to attempted to sell any of the information that he illegally accessed.