Choose says former hospital tech “weaponized” ex-boyfriend’s medical recordsdata

She improperly accessed his files and shared photos of his injuries with others on social media

Judge says former Cedar Rapids hospital tech ‘weaponized’ ex-boyfriend’s medical files

The Cedar Rapids Federal Courthouse and the GreatAmerica Building in an aerial photograph in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A former Cedar Rapids hospital employee, who improperly accessed and distributed photos of her ex-boyfriend’s medical records and injuries, was sentenced to five years’ probation last week in U.S. District Court.

In sentencing Jennifer Lynne Bacor, 41, now living in Las Vegas, Nev., to probation, U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Bacor “weaponized” her ex-boyfriend’s private medical information by sending it to others.

Bacor pleaded guilty in November to one count of wrongfully obtaining individually identifiable health information under false pretenses.

According to the plea, Bacor was employed as a patient care technician at a Cedar Rapids hospital and was authorized to access individually identifiable health information but only when it was necessary to provide services to her patients. Her ex-boyfriend was not one of her patients, according to court documents.

In 2017, Bacor’s ex-boyfriend and father of her two children was repeatedly treated at the hospital. The hospital, which also was her employer, is not identified in court documents. She viewed clinical documentation and photos of the man’s wounds and other medical records from October 2013 through September 2017, according to the plea.

On multiple occasions between April and October 2017, Bacor used her login credentials to access her ex-boyfriend’s protected private health information, according to the plea. In September 2017, Bacor, in a social media chat with another person, said she wanted primary custody of her two children so she could move to Las Vegas. She complained about her ex-boyfriend, who was dating another woman. Bacor told this person she “stalked” her ex-boyfriend’s social media, the plea states.

She also took a picture of a medical photo that showed one of her ex-boyfriend’s injuries and sent the picture to this person, according to the plea. The other person then sent the photo to the ex-boyfriend and others on social media, along with taunting and disparaging language.

On Oct. 4, 2017, the ex-boyfriend told the hospital Bacor accessed his private health information, the plea states. He provided the photo to the hospital.

The hospital immediately conducted an investigation and Bacor admitted she received training on patient confidentiality, according to the plea. At first she said she had not accessed patient files for nonwork-related needs but then admitted she accessed her ex-boyfriend’s records.

Hospital audit logs showed Bacor accessed his files about 10 times, the plea states. Because she violated federal law restricting the release of medical information, hospital officials suspended her after the interview and within days fired her in 2017.

On Aug. 27 of last year, two federal law enforcement agents interviewed Bacor outside her residence in Las Vegas. She admitted to violating the privacy laws, saying it was “wrong,” but said she was “looking out for my children,” according to the plea.

Bacor, along with her probation, is restricted from employment where she would have access to private medical information of others, and was fined $1,000.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General.

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