Created: February 11, 2020 11:42 PM
GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — A former health care worker with ACM Global Laboratory faces hundreds of felony charges, accused of illegally rifling through confidential medical records, for more than two years, in what her alleged target said was a hunt for dirt in a child custody fight.
Jessica Meier, 41, of Hamlin was arraigned in Gates Town Court Tuesday night on 215 counts of felony computer trespass and 215 counts of misdemeanor unauthorized use of a computer. She pleaded not guilty and her case was expected to go before a grand jury next.
According to prosecutors, Meier illegally accessed the records from her job ACM Global Laboratory in Gates, part of Rochester Regional Health.
"She has no reason to violate me like this. I don't even know her. I barely know the girl,” said Kristina Ciaccia, who claims Meier repeatedly looked into her medical records.
“These transactions occurred over the course of the past several years. She used her position to access the confidential medical records of several people,” Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Hogestyn said.
Court documents allege the intrusions took place between March of 2017 and August of 2019.
Ciaccia showed News10NBC an audit by Rochester Regional Health, which she received in September, which showed more than 200 instances of Meier examining Ciaccia’s private files and the files of other members of her family.
“You can’t even imagine that somebody, all day, went to work all day going through your medical records,” Ciaccia said.
Ciaccia said she had been in a lengthy child custody dispute with Meier's half-brother and started demanding answers from Rochester Regional Health after she inexplicably heard mention, in court, of a long-ago emergency room visit by her own brother.
“The alarm goes off and I say to myself ‘Hey, well, how in the world it does somebody know something that I don’t even know that’s going on in my family?’ she recalled. “I didn’t know my little brother honestly was even in the emergency department on this specific day. I didn’t know that.”
Ciaccia says police, first in Irondequoit, then in Gates where Meier worked, were astonished by the magnitude of the apparent security breaches and sent the matter to the District Attorney’s office.
“If you go in somebody’s medical records, you deserve to be charged. You deserve to be held accountable,” she said.
Christopher Bell with the Monroe County Medical Society says this kind of a breach is extraordinary and that the medical world goes to great lengths to make sure patients files stay out of sight of anyone but those explicitly authorized to see them.
“We have patients tell our doctors things we wouldn't tell anybody," Bell said. "Making sure that that information is kept safe and protected… absolutely critical."
For its part, Rochester Regional Health would only say that Jessica Meier is not a current employee.
Ciaccia said she wants to see Meier held accountable and kept from ever dealing with anyone’s private information.
“Hey, there could be somebody else out there that she personally has a vendetta against who has a right to call, and to know,” Ciaccia said.
A letter from Rochester Regional to Kristina Ciaccia announced that disciplinary action had been taken over the breach, but she demanded to know why no alarms had gone off before she started asking questions.
She said she was considering engaging a lawyer of her own to hold Rochester Regional Health accountable also.
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