Confidential Medical Records Discovered

  1. Medical Records

    CASSELBERRY, Fla. -- "Acting on an anonymous tip, Channel 9 Eyewitness News discovered dozens of confidential medical records that had been tossed out next to a dumpster in a Casselberry parking lot.The find happened Friday night at the Casselberry Commons strip mall.Inside the box were files containing patient's social security numbers, addresses and prescription information."


    Ya know, it's things like this that makes the public question the "profession" of medicine as a whole. As a patient myself, this is very disheartening. As a nurz2be (hopefully) it is tragic that private information can just go "missing" without a physician noticing, ok so maybe he wouldn't notice but someone in the staff should notice I would think someone walking round with dozens of files. Very sad when the medical community is subjected to incidents like this.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Katnip
    I wonder who threw them in there. Was it from a doctor's office? A hospital? A pharmacy? Was it the shredding company? It may not have been a medical professional at all.

    I'm sure it won't take long to figure out who the culprits are.
  4. by   nurz2be
    Quote from cyberkat
    I wonder who threw them in there. Was it from a doctor's office? A hospital? A pharmacy? Was it the shredding company? It may not have been a medical professional at all.

    I'm sure it won't take long to figure out who the culprits are.
    Yes, they came from the doctor's office. He says he did not authorize the removal of the records. It is still the idea that incidents like this leave the public with the sense that the medical community is not as careful as they should be especially with such sensitive information. Talk about HIPAA violations.....eeeek.
  5. by   oramar
    This has happened again and again and it is usually from Doc's offices. Yes it is a disgrace and HIPPA needs to levy some fines and draw some attention to the problem. Saying you didn't authorize the documents to be removed is lame. Not acceptable excuse.
  6. by   Katnip
    I agree. I mean, why would anyone just dump them in the trash anyway? I'm having a hard time understanding the motivation behind this.
  7. by   MNmom3boys
    At the dental office I worked at we shredded all documents, including ones that probably were not traceable to a specific patient. (Better safe than sorry!) At the hospital (and indeed even school when I was there) there is a disposal company that takes care of documents. I cannot imagine treating records/documents with any less than at least shredding for not only HIPPA violations, but also liability for stolen identity concerns.
  8. by   banditrn
    Quote from MNmom3boys
    At the dental office I worked at we shredded all documents, including ones that probably were not traceable to a specific patient. (Better safe than sorry!) At the hospital (and indeed even school when I was there) there is a disposal company that takes care of documents. I cannot imagine treating records/documents with any less than at least shredding for not only HIPPA violations, but also liability for stolen identity concerns.
    That's the way it was done at the hospital where I worked - ANYTHING with a patients name or info on it went in the shredding bin.

    I agree that this was a terrible thing, and they should be fined big time.
  9. by   Bill Levinson
    Quote from nurz2be
    Medical Records

    CASSELBERRY, Fla. -- "Acting on an anonymous tip, Channel 9 Eyewitness News discovered dozens of confidential medical records that had been tossed out next to a dumpster in a Casselberry parking lot.The find happened Friday night at the Casselberry Commons strip mall.Inside the box were files containing patient's social security numbers, addresses and prescription information."
    Every identity thief in the country probably knows that forms in doctors' offices request Social Security Number and date of birth. It's easy to conceive of one breaking into a doctor's office to steal not drugs, but identities that he can resell or misuse. This is why I never provide my Social Security number or exact birth date on a patient information form (I'll write the month and year, but not the exact date). The doctor has a legitimate need to know my age, but not my exact birth date or SSN.

    I've never gotten an argument from a doctor's staff member about this. If I ever do, I'll point out that a Pennsylvania Motor Vehicles office (owned by the state) was broken into, and thousands of driver's records stolen by a potential identity thief.
  10. by   leslymill
    I had a file cabnet type briefcase in my car for Home Health and it was stolen when my car was broken into. It changed the way I did home health care. Way too much patient information on a recertification form. I stressed out over this for a long time and though it was reported to the police you can't get over the fact that home health clients are many times old and alone and their information is now in a theifs hands. I wonder now thinking about it if the patients themselves should not have been told since I don't think the police did much.
  11. by   Bill Levinson
    Quote from leslymill
    I had a file cabnet type briefcase in my car for Home Health and it was stolen when my car was broken into.
    This is exactly how I would answer a doctor's office that took offense to my refusal to provide SSN or exact date of birth. E.g. if they said, "If you trust us to provide you with medical care, why don't you trust us with your personal information?"

    My answer is that I would hope they could trust me with a huge wad of cash that they gave me to lock in my car trunk. However, unless they trust my car trunk's lock to keep out a professional thief who knows that the cash is there--just as identity thieves know that doctors' offices have personal information--they had still better not let me hold that money for them. And because I don't trust their office's lock (or computer) to keep out a professional burglar (or hacker), I am not going to give them my personal information either.
    Last edit by Bill Levinson on Nov 30, '07
  12. by   Bill Levinson
    (Duplicate entry--how do I delete?)
    Last edit by Bill Levinson on Nov 30, '07 : Reason: Duplicate entry
  13. by   nurz2be
    I completely agree with the above posters. I have been checking periodically to get an update for this story but none have posted as of late. It is a precise reason A LOT of clinics are going completely paperless. The information is stored on a server elsewhere OUTSIDE the physical office so IF and WHEN someone breaks in and they steal a computer they still won't have access to that information. I have seen several offices here use it and it seems as close to "perfect" (unless the server crashes one day) as it can get (for now).
  14. by   MNmom3boys
    Unfortunately, an offsite sever isn't a foolproof answer either - if it (information) is on a computer that is in any way linked to another computer (ie the Web) it can be hacked. Is it easy/likely - no, is it possible - yes.

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