An Arkansas nurse who pleaded guilty to violating a federal law to protect patient privacy faces up to 10 years in prison. The case was brought under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Licensed practical nurse Andrea Smith, 25, of Trumann, Ark., also could be ordered to pay a fine up to $250,000 and serve up to three years supervision after prison, U.S. Attorney Jane Duke said in announcing Smith's plea.
Smith pleaded guilty to wrongfully disclosing individually identifiable health information for personal gain and malicious harm.
A federal indictment said Smith obtained private medical information on an unnamed patient Nov. 28, 2006, when she was working for Northeast Arkansas Clinic in Jonesboro.
According to the indictment, she gave the information to her husband, Justin Smith, and he called the patient and threatened to use the information against that person in a legal proceeding, Duke said in a news release.