Breach, Threat Management, Data Security

Two nurses’ aides guilty for using patient data to commit tax fraud

Two former nurses' aides for Virginia-based nonprofit Sentara Healthcare have pleaded guilty to accessing thousands of electronic patient records and using the information to file fraudulent tax returns.

How many victims? Roughly 200 were impacted by the tax fraud. About 3,700 had their information accessed.

What type of personal information? Names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers are among the information accessed.

What happened? Over a roughly 18-month span, two nurses' aides accessed the information and used it to file fraudulent tax returns.

What was the response? The nurses' aides were fired. Sentara Healthcare has contacted the IRS, which is working with the roughly 200 affected people to repair the information. Sentara notified by mail the thousands of patients who had information accessed and is offering them a year of free credit monitoring services.

Details: The nurses' aides accessed the information between September 2011 and April 2013 – primarily from mid-September 2012 to mid-February 2013. The majority of the records accessed were from patients of Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

Quote: “The proper focus is on the patient, not the facility,” Greg Burkhart, chief compliance officer, said. The tax fraud “impacted fewer than 200.”

Source:, Daily Press, “Sentara has another records breach,” Oct. 28, 2013.

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