Former AHS employee at Michener Centre fined $8K, on probation for violating health act

The Michener Centre in Red Deer. Global News

A former billing clerk at a central Alberta care facility has been fined and put on probation for improperly accessing the health records of dozens of people several hundred times.

Amarish Tripathi pleaded guilty in a Red Deer courtroom last month to knowingly accessing information in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA).

READ MORE: Former AHS clerk fined for improperly accessing health records 21 times ‘out of curiosity’

Tripathi worked for Alberta Health Services at the Michener Centre in Red Deer, where he improperly accessing the health records of 81 people on 471 occasions.

The Michener Centre is a care facility for the developmentally disabled, many of whom have called it home since they were children.

It had been slated for closure in 2014, but after outcry from unions and opposition, Jim Prentice’s PC government reversed course.

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READ MORE: Alberta premier reverses plan to close Michener Centre in Red Deer

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) began investigating the unauthorized accesses of health information after AHS reported the breaches in May 2018.

After completing its investigation, the OIPC referred the case to the specialized prosecutions branch of Alberta Justice. Charges were laid in June of this year.

In court last week, Tripathi was fined $8,000 and sentenced to one year of probation with conditions to attend treatment and counselling as directed, and to not be employed in a position that gives him access to health information for one year.

The province said this was the fourth conviction this year against someone for knowingly accessing health information in contravention of HIA. There have been 13 convictions in total since 2001.

READ MORE: South Edmonton medical clinic employee fined after admitting to health data breaches

This was the second case in which one of the conditions was for the convicted not to access health information for one year, the province said.

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