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Published: Saturday, 6/28/2014 - Updated: 11 months ago

No charges filed in medical records case

Woman said she had permission

BY MARLENE HARRIS-TAYLOR
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jamie Knapp said she had permission to examine nearly 600 patient records at ProMedica Bay Park Hospital. Jamie Knapp said she had permission to examine nearly 600 patient records at ProMedica Bay Park Hospital.
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An Adrian woman at the center of the ProMedica Bay Park Hospital investigation that ended Friday when police declined to file criminal charges, is denying she did anything wrong when she accessed records of patients she was not treating.

Jamie Knapp, 25, who worked as a respiratory therapist at Bay Park hospital until April, said she asked permission from her supervisor when she looked at personal information of nearly 600 patients.

She said looking at the real-life scenarios of patients would help her pass an upcoming state certification test for which she was studying. Ms. Knapp declined to give the name of the supervisor.

ProMedica spokesman Tedra White said the hospital has no record of such a request.

Ms. Knapp, who worked in the emergency department of the hospital, said after being granted permission she began looking at the records of patients there.

ProMedica officials said Ms. Knapp accessed 594 patient records between April 1, 2013, and April 1, 2014, while at Bay Park.

Oregon police Chief Mike Navarre said at a news conference Friday that results of a four-week investigation into the incident were inconclusive, and police could not be prove Ms. Knapp committed criminal acts.

“She was accessing information that was appropriate to her position in the organization, so she was not accessing records at a financial level — Social Security level — so she was viewing records within the access that she was granted in her position at ProMedica,” Bay Park President Holly Bristol said.

Hospital officials said they became suspicious of Ms. Knapp's behavior after co-workers reported observing her entering rooms on March 25 and again on April 1 of patients whom she was not treating. Witnesses said they saw Ms. Knapp removing containers full of used needles called sharps.

“Changing the sharps containers was not part of her normal duties,” Ms. Bristol said.

When hospital officials confronted Ms. Knapp about her behavior and asked her to take a drug test, she refused, quit, and walked out, ProMedica officials said.

Ms. Knapp said she refused the drug test because she was concerned nicotine would show up in her system and hospital officials would not assure her that she could keep her job with a positive test for nicotine. “I said, ‘‍I think I should resign,’” Ms. Knapp said.

“We can't prove what the motive is — [we] can surmise, but we can't prove that, and often times, that's the way investigations end. The detectives have a pretty good idea what was going on but they can't prove it,” Chief Navarre said.

Federal authorities are investigating to determine whether Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws were violated. ProMedica officials said they are mandated to report any incident to the the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in which more than 500 patient records are compromised.

A spokesman for the HHS Department of Civil Rights said the federal investigation into possible HIPAA violations could take years to complete.

Contact Marlene Harris-Taylor at mtaylor@theblade.com or 419-724-6091.


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