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Alberta nurse fined after snooping through her husband’s ex’s health records

Jasmine Badger; a registered nurse in Fox Creek, has pled guilty to accessing health information after doing it more than 135 times in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA).
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Jasmine Badger; a registered nurse in Fox Creek, has pled guilty to accessing health information after doing it more than 135 times in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA). While Badger received a $3,000 fine last month, one of the victims in Badger’s nosy searching says any statements from Alberta Health Services only provide a small snapshot of what actually happened.

Jasmine Badger; a registered nurse in Fox Creek, has pled guilty to accessing health information after doing it more than 135 times in contravention of the Health Information Act (HIA).

While Badger received a $3,000 fine last month, one of the victims in Badger’s nosy searching says any statements from Alberta Health Services only provide a small snapshot of what actually happened.

Shannyn Rus says the short version for background of this tale is simple.  Jasmine Badger married Rus’ ex-husband. While divorce proceedings were ongoing, Badger then felt the need/permission/purpose to access Rus and her children’s health records.

Some speculate it was an attempt to help bolster the divorce case for Rus’ ex-husband, others chalk it up to being nosy. 

However, Badger didn’t stop with looking at Rus’ health records. Rus’ children, new partners, and business associates’ records were accessed by Badger. Unfortunately, HIA statute only looks at the previous two years of audit log access for discipline. Sebastiaan, Shannyn's husband's records were also accessed.

“Many of her infractions, including looking at my childrens’ health files, are now past the two year window, so she only admitted to 38 access infractions,” says Rus.

Rus only caught wind that something was afoot when she took her son to the ER and her ex-husband’s number was now listed as the emergency contact.

“I couldn’t understand how it was arbitrarily changed. Alberta Health officials told me to ask for my audit logs – so I did.”

In the fall of 2016, Rus’ audit logs revealed hundreds of accesses from Fox Creek, near Swan Hills, Alberta, nowhere near where Rus was accessing Alberta Health services for herself or children.

“The individuals did not receive health services at the Fox Creek Healthcare Centre,” said AHS in a statement.

Rus says it is important for the public to know what can be done, both that AHS employees can randomly access anyone’s records – but that the public can also look up to see who is sniffing around in their files.

“It was an eye-opening experience. Most people don’t know that there is a process, that they can see who is accessing their records.”

While a discipline hearing is set for Edmonton in the fall, and Badger received a $3,000 fine, plus a victim fine surcharge of 30 percent of the imposed fine, on June 25, 2018, Rus says it is the optics of a small town. 

“Smaller communities in Alberta, such as Fox Creek, only have a handful of nurses and only a few on at any one time. It is important for the public to be aware of what people can do, to see who is accessing your records for no health-related reason.”

In October 2016, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) received a report about the breaches from Alberta Health Services.

“The OIPC’s investigation found that Ms. Badger accessed the health information of the individuals 138 times between April 1, 2013 to July 18, 2016.”

Due to a two-year limitation period under the HIA, Ms. Badger pleaded guilty to accessing the health information of one of the individuals on 35 occasions between October 7, 2015 to July 18, 2016, and eight unauthorized accesses to the health information of the second individual between November 1, 2015 to July 18, 2016.

Health information accessed included medical profile, demographic information, consultation details, lab results or analysis including blood work, and diagnostic imaging results such as x-rays and MRI.

Badger still works as a nurse in Fox Creek. The OIPC referred its findings to Crown prosecutors at Alberta Justice. Charges were laid in October 2017. There will be a further hearing this October in Edmonton regarding Badger.

Until next time,

Rob Brown - Managing Editor