Police charge ex-Belleville, Ont. nurse with dozens of counts of illegal use of personal health info
An Ontario Province Police officer is seen in this file photo.
BELLEVILLE, ON. -- Ontario Provincial Police have laid charges against a former Belleville area nurse accused of illegally using personal health information.
In a press release, OPP allege the nurse unlawfully accessed personal health information while on duty over a six-month period between February and September 2018.
Police said the nurse's employer conducted an audit of the alleged breaches and later called in the OPP.
Kimberley Ann Hokkanen, 59, of Centre Hastings, is facing 69 counts of use of personal information contrary to section 72(1)(a) of the Personal Health Information Protection Act.
Personal health information includes identifying information about an individual relating to their physical or mental health.
Hokkanen is scheduled to appear in court in Belleville Sept. 3, 2020.
None of the charges has been proven in court.
Catherine Walker, Director of Communications for Quinte Health Care, which oversees the Belleville General Hospital, told CTV News in an email she could not comment because charges have been laid and the case is active. She deferred all questions to the OPP.
In an emailed response Wednesday, OPP Detective Staff Sergeant Erin Thomas said the investigation by the OPP began in July of 2019 and ended in March of 2020.
"In this case, our investigation led us to believe the use of personal health information was not authorized under the [Personal Health Information Protection Act]. For example, the Act permits an exception to the use of [personal health information] for the purpose of health care delivery by a health care professional," Thomas said.
It was the hospital's responsibility to contact any affected patients, Thomas said, but she did offer a statement to any concerned individuals.
"Affected patients who were previously contacted as having been impacted by this breach of privacy and have questions or concerns about the police investigation are encouraged to contact the Health Fraud Investigation Unit by email at HealthFraud@opp.ca."
Members of the public who have not been previously contacted are not affected by this breach, Thomas said.