Anchorage woman sentenced for HIPAA violation
An Anchorage woman was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for a felony violation of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the first prosecuted case of its kind in the state.
Stacy Laulu, 33, was convicted on Jan. 16 for two charges of unauthorized disclosure of health information and sentenced to serve two 24-month prison terms concurrently.
While an employee of Providence Alaska Medical Center, Laulu illegally accessed the medical records of two patients being treated at the hospital. Both patients were victims of Stuart Seugasala, 40, who was convicted and sentenced for kidnapping one of the patients and sexually assaulting him with a curling iron, as well as shooting the other patient after becoming “upset” with them at an Anchorage Denny’s.
Laulu, in her capacity as a financial counselor, looked into each patient’s records as a favor to Seugasala to learn what each had told police and hospital staff about the origin of their injuries and how badly they were hurt. She then texted him the information, according to the District Attorney’s office.
Police stopped Seugasala in 2013, who had tried to erase the text messages from his phone prior to a search warrant. When confronted, however, Laulu admitted to Drug Enforcement Agency officers that she had sent him the information.
During the trial, evidence was presented that showed Laulu’s husband was a “close friend and former co-defendant with Seugasala in a federal drug case,” and that Seugasala had delivered drug proceeds to the couple “for Laulu and her husband’s benefit,” according to the DA.
Providence fired Laulu after being notified of the charges against her.