NY radiologist accused of stealing protected patient info

A Long Island radiologist was arrested Dec. 3 on accusations that he stole the personal information of tens of thousands of patients of his employer, NRAD Medical Associates.

James Kessler, MD, of Great Neck, N.Y., was charged with unauthorized use of a computer, unlawful duplication of computer related material and the second degree and petit larceny.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a press release that between January and April of this year, Kessler accessed the NRAD computer system and duplicated the personal and health information of 96,998 patients. When NRAD discovered the breach, they notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the affected patients.

A search warrant served at Kessler’s residence uncovered the stolen patient records, billing system dates, NRAD corporate credit card information and NRAD IT information.

“Physicians are regularly entrusted with the health and well-being of their patients, so the abuse of trust in this case is particularly outrageous,” DA Rice said. “New York State’s privacy and larceny statutes should be reformed so they can apply to more kinds of personally identifying information; in the meantime, my office will continue to work with partners like the NCPD to make the protection of personal data a priority and hold lawbreakers accountable for their actions.”

Kessler is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 6. He faces up to one year in jail if convicted.