On June 2, 2011, U.S. Postal Inspectors arrested a woman on charges that she stole identifying information on about 4,500 patients from a Birmingham hospital.  According to the complaint, the individual stole the patient information from Trinity Medical Center while an associate of hers was a patient at the hospital.

This arrest is significant for the involvement of the U.S. Postal Inspectors in the enforcement of HIPAA.  Enforcement — it’s not just for HHS anymore!  The press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office is available at:  http://www.justice.gov/usao/aln/News/June%202011/June%203,%202011%20Postal%20Inspectors.html  -or-  http://tinyurl.com/5r32hd6


So, who isn’t getting into the HIPAA enforcement game?  Well, any Federal law enforcer, if there’s a privacy, security, or identity theft issue, will be more than happy to call on HIPAA if health information is involved, and isn’t this what it’s supposed to be about anyway?  Steal health information = go to jail.  Now THIS is the kind of HIPAA we can all get behind.  It’s nice to see the rules being applied when it really counts, and it’s gratifying to see that entities other than HHS care about the rules and will call on them appropriately.