During his bizarre interview with NBC News, Dr. Harold Bornstein — who is the long-time physician of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump — made a startling admission which could land him in Jail and/or have him pay a very stiff financial penalty.
In the interview, Bornstein recounted how Trump requested that he write a letter endorsing the billionaire’s physical and mental fitness to run for office. Bornstein said:
“I guess he called and said the Clinton organization was going publish a letter on her health,”
Nothing illegal said so far but wait. He then added:
“I know her physician and I know some of her health history which is really not so good, so I said, why not?”
Okay, now that could be illegal.
In judging that statement, only one of two things could be true. Either Clinton’s doctor shared some of her personal and confidential medical information during a consultation with Bornstein or Trump’s doctor is just lying to impress his most famous client. In which case, one could also call into question the honesty of Bornstein’s five-minute letter of endorsement.
If it’s the latter then, Bornstein may not have much to sweat over.
However if Bornstein did indeed share insider knowledge he received Clinton’s physician during a formal or informal consultation, then that would represent a severe violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act also known as HIPAA.
HIPAA laws are designed to safeguard a patient’s medical privacy. If Bornstein did commit a “willful disclosure,” of a patient’s medical history without their consent, here’s what he could be facing.
“In June 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) clarified who can be held criminally liable under HIPAA. Covered entities and specified individuals, as explained below, whom “knowingly” obtain or disclose individually identifiable health information in violation of the Administrative Simplification Regulations face a fine of up to $50,000, as well as imprisonment up to one year. Offenses committed under false pretenses allow penalties to be increased to a $100,000 fine, with up to five years in prison. Finally, offenses committed with the intent to sell, transfer, or use individually identifiable health information for commercial advantage, personal gain or malicious harm permit fines of $250,000, and imprisonment for up to ten years.”
This would be a rare case where being caught in a lie could actually save someone’s career and freedom.