Skip to the main content.
Talk to sales Start for free
Talk to sales Start for free

2 min read

Case against Johns Hopkins doctors that shared PHI with Russia dismissed

Case against Johns Hopkins doctors that shared PHI with Russia dismissed

On May 22, 2024, U.S. District Court Judge Stephanie Gallagher dismissed with prejudice the case against Dr. Anna Gabrielian, a former Johns Hopkins anesthesiologist, and her spouse, Dr. Jamie Lee Henry, a U.S. Army major and physician.


What happened

The couple faced felony charges under HIPAA for allegedly conspiring to assist Russia by disclosing protected health information. Initially charged in September 2022, they were accused of providing patient records to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian embassy official.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the case saw a mistrial in May 2023 after one juror believed the government had entrapped the defendants. Despite attempts to reschedule a retrial, the prosecution repeatedly failed to comply with the Speedy Trial Act, leading to procedural delays between November 2023 and May 2024. Issues arose over the defendants' access to classified information under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), with the government unsuccessfully attempting to use unclassified expert testimony instead.

Judge Gallagher criticized the prosecution's neglect and procedural mishandling, noting the severe personal and professional impact on Gabrielian and Henry, who struggled to find work and support their family for over eighteen months. 


The backstory

On September 28, 2022, a federal grand jury indicted Dr. Anna Gabrielian, a 36-year-old anesthesiologist, and her 39-year-old husband, Dr. Jamie Lee Henry, a U.S. Army major and internist, for conspiring to provide confidential health information to Russia. 

The couple, residing in Rockville, Maryland, allegedly planned to aid Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. Starting on August 17, 2022, Gabrielian and Henry met with an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian government representative, offering health records from their respective workplaces—Johns Hopkins Hospital and Fort Bragg. Gabrielian, motivated by patriotism toward Russia, initially contacted the Russian embassy, offering her and Henry's assistance. 

They met the undercover agent in Baltimore and Gaithersburg, Maryland, providing health information on several individuals, including military personnel and their relatives, believing this data could be exploited by Russia. This led to their arrest and subsequent indictment on charges of conspiracy and disclosing individually identifiable health information (IIHI).


In the know

The actions performed by Dr. Anna Gabrielian and Dr. Jamie Lee Henry are considered violations of HIPAA because they allegedly attempted to disclose protected health information (PHI) without patient consent, violating patient privacy and confidentiality. Specifically, under HIPAA's Privacy Rule (45 CFR § 164.502), any unauthorized disclosure of PHI for purposes other than treatment, payment, or healthcare operations is prohibited. 

They breached these provisions by attempting to provide confidential health records to an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian official, as such actions fall outside the permissible uses and disclosures outlined in the legislation. Their intent to aid a foreign government exacerbated the violation, making it a serious felony offense under HIPAA's stringent privacy protections.


What was said

Accroding to the initial press release by the Marylands District Attorney's Office, “As detailed in the indictment, a few days later Gabrielian and the UC again met at the hotel in Baltimore to discuss providing Army medical records to the UC.  Gabrielian told the UC that Henry was concerned about violating HIPAA, but Gabrielian had no such concerns.  Gabrielian stated that she would check with Henry about providing medical records from Fort Bragg patients and get back in touch.”

See also: HIPAA Compliant Email: The Definitive Guide



What is considered PHI?

PHI includes any information about health status, provision of health care, or payment for health care that can be linked to a specific individual.


What is a federal crime?

A federal crime is an act that violates the laws established by the federal government of the United States.


When can healthcare providers share PHI?

Healthcare providers can share PHI for purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations, as well as in situations where the patient has given explicit consent or when required by law.







Subscribe to Paubox Weekly

Every Friday we'll bring you the most important news from Paubox. Our aim is to make you smarter, faster.