For his own sake, Dr. Harold Bornstein had better hope he’s lying. He went on the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC tonight in order to answer questions about the absurd letter he wrote vouching for Donald Trump’s health eight months ago, which has come back into focus now that Trump has begun making up phony claims about Hillary Clinton’s health. But then Bornstein did something which, if he was telling the truth, was a felony on his part which comes complete with a prison sentence.
While on the Maddow show on Friday night, Dr. Bornstein claimed that he’s seen Hillary Clinton’s health records and that they’re not good. But he’s not Clinton’s doctor, so the only way he could have seen her records is if he convinced her doctor to share them, or if he obtained them by some kind of underhanded means. But regardless of how he may have accessed Clinton’s records, if he really did see them, he violated federal the most severe clause within federal HIPAA laws by publicly discussing what’s in those records.
The American Medical Association quotes the Department of Justice as assigning criminal penalties to medical professionals who violate HIPAA. Those who “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.”
If Dr. Bornstein’s public disclosure of Hillary Clinton’s medical records is defined as “malicious harm” under the law, and it appears to based on his obvious desire to harm her chances of winning the election, he’s looking at up to a decade long prison sentence. And even if he got his hands on her medical records via less than “malicious” but still illegitimate means, he’s looking at a potential prison sentence one way or the other.
Of course the more likely explanation is that, as has so typically been the case with Donald Trump and his allies during the course of his campaign, Dr. Harold Bornstein is simply making up a false claim about having seen Hillary Clinton’s medical records. We’re still researching what if any legal penalties there are on the books for licensed medical doctors who publicly and falsely claim to have seen the medical records of someone who is not a patient in order to cause malicious harm. Thank you to Daily News Bin reader Peggy Mitchell for the tip.