Iowa physician pleads guilty to HIPAA violation

An emergency room physician formerly of Iowa City, Iowa, has pleaded guilty to illegally obtaining the personal health information of multiple individuals. 

In January 2022, Gabriel Hernandez Roman, MD, 30, admitted that he obtained identifiable health information under false pretenses, according to a July 1 news release from the Justice Department. 

Dr. Roman was granted a resident physician license in June 2020 and participated in the emergency medicine residency program at a university hospital in Iowa. He worked at the emergency room in two hospitals, one in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and another in Iowa City, between 2020 and 2023. 

He used his access as a resident physician to access two patients' medical records without their knowledge or consent. Dr. Roman was never the patients' physician and was not a patient at the hospitals' emergency department at the time the records were accessed, the Justice Department said. 

According to the release, he also admitted that he sent a photograph of one of the hospitals' patients wearing a gown with their rectum hanging out of their body to another individual via SnapChat. He later admitted that he falsely wrote in a letter that he sent the picture to his mother to remind her of the importance of fiber intake. 

Dr. Hernandez Roman was convicted of one count of wrongfully obtaining individually identifiable health information under false pretenses. 

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