Doctor accused of illegally accessing University of Michigan computers to change performance reviews
A former resident physician in the University of Michigan Health System's Department of Pathology is accused of illegally accessing health system computers last year to boost his performance evaluations, university police said.
Dr. Eric George Batterson, 34, of Scio Township, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in 15th District Court on nine counts each of unauthorized access of computers and using computers to commit a crime, as well as one count of possessing a Taser.
He was released on a personal recognizance bond, university police spokeswoman Diane Brown said. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Attempts to reach Batterson on Friday by phone and e-mail were unsuccessful.
According to court records, the alleged illegal activity occurred between March 1 and April 23 of 2009. Police say Batterson was working as a resident physician at the time.
Batterson is accused of installing software on computers that records keystrokes, allowing him to obtain passwords to access other computers and colleagues' e-mail accounts, Brown said.
Police say Batterson used that access to boost his performance evaluations, while negatively altering those of his colleagues. In some cases, Batterson sent out e-mails from colleagues' accounts, Brown said.
Investigators began the probe after "one of the employees in the unit observed that their e-mail account had been compromised," Brown said. Officers executed a search warrant at Batterson's home during the investigation and recovered items, including a Taser, Brown said. It's unclear why Batterson allegedly had a Taser, Brown said.
Asked whether Batterson illegally accessed patient records, Brown said she didn't know, but "it does not appear that that was his motivation."
Batterson began working as a resident physician in July 2007 and resigned in July 2009, Brown said. Records show he received an annual salary of roughly $48,000.
According to Michigan Department of Community Health records, Batterson has an application pending to become a fully-licensed physician. MDCH public information officer James McCurtis Jr. said Friday that officials are looking into the matter.
Batterson was licensed to practice medicine in Michigan under the supervision of a fully-licensed physician on June 18, 2007, MDCH records show. He also was licensed to prescribe medication on that date. According to records, both licenses have expired.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 29, Brown said.
Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.