Florida man pleads guilty to patient data theft

A Florida man pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of illegally accessing the private health information of some 12,000 patients, as reported by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

The article reported that Dale Munroe II, 35, was accused of stealing health information of patients who were involved in auto accidents in attempts to refer them to lawyers or chiropractors.

Munroe started working at Florida Hospital in July 2006 up through July 2011, where he registered patients at the emergency entrance of the hospital. 

[See also: Infographic: Healthcare data breaches by state.]

A News Chief story reports that Munroe could serve up to 15 years in prison, depending on his Jan. 14 sentence hearing.

As part of his plea deal, the story reports, Munroe revealed that patients who had their private health information stolen at the hospital would subsequently receive a telephone call within a few days following their hospital visit in efforts to refer them to lawyers or chiropractors. 

This story will be updated.