A former employee at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas is pleading guilty to identity theft through his exploitation of the provider's electronic health record (EHR) system.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Viju Mathew, 49, of Garland, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features and information. The DOJ says that Mathew used his position as a registration specialist at Parkland to gain access to confidential patient information, including names, telephone numbers, dates of birth, participation in the Medicare program, and government-issued health insurance claim numbers. His used that information for his own economic benefit by contacting prospective patients for his home health care business.
Mathew could be jailed up to five years and fined $250,000 for this. According to Dallas News, Mathew was found out and fired in 2011. Not only did he use the EHR to find potential patients, but once they were found, he would call them for services they didn't need and then bill Medicare, says the Dallas News.
Grand Prairie, Texas-based Rainbow Children's Clinic was the victim of a ransomware attack on its IT systems in August, affecting more than 33,000 patients, according to multiple news media reports this week.