Written by Ashton Snyder on
 July 11, 2024

Sailor Investigated For Attempting To Access President Biden's Medical Records

On February 23, 2024, a junior sailor stirred concern by attempting to access President Joe Biden's restricted medical records through a government database.

According to NBC News, the incident was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, leading to the sailor's punishment.

The junior sailor searched for "Joseph Biden" three times in the Military Health System's electronic health record system, MHS Genesis. An observant co-worker quickly identified the unauthorized activity and reported it by February 26, 2024.

The sailor's actions breached the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), raising significant privacy concerns.

Sailor's Unauthorized Search Sparks Investigation

The unauthorized search led to an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Their probe began immediately after being alerted of the violation and concluded on April 24, 2024. Despite the attempt, the sailor did not successfully access President Biden's medical records.

The U.S. Navy explained in a statement, "On February 26, 2024, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Fort Belvoir was notified of an active-duty service member's unauthorized access to medical records."

Further elaboration revealed that the sailor, driven by curiosity, searched for the President's records using his name in MHS Genesis.

Co-Worker's Quick Action Led To Timely Prevention

President Biden was informed of the incident within hours after the White House staff got the notification from the Department of Defense. The timing of the sailor's breach closely coincided with Biden's previously planned physical, which took place on February 28, 2024. However, the medical appointment was not impacted by this event.

An official from the White House acknowledged, "The president was informed within hours of White House staff being notified by the Department of Defense." The official also affirmed that the scheduled medical evaluation "was not impacted by this incident."

Breach Results In Administrative Punishment

The sailor, though punished administratively, continues to serve in the Navy. The specific details of the administrative punishment were not disclosed, but the sailor faced consequences for the breach of privacy under HIPAA regulations.

NMRTC Fort Belvoir's response underscores the Navy's commitment to safeguarding sensitive health information. They acted quickly upon discovering the unauthorized searches, displaying an effective protocol for identifying and responding to potential breaches.

While concerning, the event highlights the robust systems in place to protect privacy and the quick response mechanisms that ensure such breaches are promptly addressed. The military's approach to discipline and privacy breaches serves as a reminder of its commitment to both legal compliance and ethical standards.

Conclusion

A junior sailor's attempt to access President Joe Biden's medical records on February 23 led to an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and subsequent administrative punishment. The unauthorized access, reported by a co-worker, constituted a breach of HIPAA regulations. Although the incident did not impact President Biden’s scheduled physical, it underscored the importance of maintaining strict privacy protocols.

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