Pharmacist Given Conditional Sentence for Health Information Breaches

November 15, 2017

A pharmacist pleaded guilty to accessing health information in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA) and received a conditional sentence order on October 16, 2017.

In October 2014, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) received a breach report from Covenant Health where Basel Alsaadi had been employed prior to his resignation.

The investigation found that 104 individuals were affected by Alsaadi’s unauthorized accesses. Health information, including demographic information, diagnostic images and laboratory results, was accessed despite no formal patient-pharmacist relationship with the affected individuals.

The OIPC referred its findings to Crown prosecutors at Alberta Justice. Charges were laid in February 2016.

The conditional sentence of six months includes three months of house arrest with some exceptions which is to be followed by three months of a court-imposed curfew. Alsaadi was also ordered to 20 hours of community service.

At sentencing, Justice Belzil stated, “The Court in these types of offences is concerned with sending a message to not only Mr. Alsaadi, but any others that patient information is very important and privacy rights are extremely important in a modern society.”

This was the eighth conviction since HIA was enacted in 2001. There is currently one other matter before the courts where an individual has been charged for allegedly accessing information in contravention of HIA.