In an unusual case that has made headlines in Virginia, a former medical director of the psychiatric unit at Sentara Obici Hospital has been accused of violating federal privacy law.

Allegedly, Dr. Richard Kaye disclosed personal medical information about a patient, which has led to an indictment in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

This accusation involves the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which went into effect in 2003. In 2010 alone, approximately 9,000 violations were reported nationwide. Nearly 30 percent of those cases led to a corrective action.

Suffolk Doctor Could Be Facing Jail Time

The indictment from the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia states that Dr. Kaye worked with a mental health patient for two weeks at Obici back in 2007. Supposedly, in 2008, he divulged personal health information about the female patient to an “agent” of her employer. According to the indictment, not only did he disclose personal information on one occasion, but he also did it two more times.

Dr. Kaye has been accused of giving this information under false pretenses by claiming that his patient was a “serious and imminent threat to the safety of the public.” However, the indictment says otherwise and alludes that Dr. Kaye knew his patient didn’t pose such a threat.

The attorney representing Dr. Kaye said that his client will plead not guilty. If he is convicted, he could be looking at up to five years in prison.

Dr. Kaye was reprimanded for the same incident in May 2010 after the Virginia Board of Medicine investigated the situation. At that time, he was issued a $5,000 fine and was put on probation.

Ben Glass
Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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