Houston Psychiatrist Sharon Iglehart has beenconvicted as part of the ongoing proceedings against co-conspirators in an elaborate $158 million Medicare fraud scheme. Dr. Iglehart was convicted of charging Medicare for providing intensive outpatient psychiatric treatment to patients who never received such treatment. In some cases the patients did not see a psychiatrist at all. Dr. Iglehart will be sentenced December 5, 2015. One of her co-conspirators, Earnest Gibson III, was sentenced to 45 years in prison and the payment of over $45 million in restitution on June 9, 2015. Mr. Gibson is the former CEO of Houston's Riverside Hospital.
After a recent incident where a reporter tweeted hospital records pertaining to a professional athlete, many questioned the legality of reporting on potentially protected health information. However, according to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, such a release is completely justified so long as the reporter did not facilitate the leak of the health information in the first place. HIPAA prevents healthcare entities from disclosing protected health information, but does not prevent reporters who have received the information from reporting on it.