FL Woman Gets Others' Medical Records In Mail

  1. 5
    Woman Gets Others' Medical Records In Mail
    Source

    OMG, this is horrendous! I hope BC/BS gets hit with a huge fine for this screw up! Imagine if it had been mailed to someone dishonest who could have used or sold that info.

    A Seminole County woman was expecting a new insurance card from Blue Cross, Blue Shield, but she got a lot more than that.

    The woman said she received a box filled with hundreds of personal, private medical records for other people.

    The brown box sitting on her front doorstep Friday morning, she said, didn't look too out of place. However, as soon as the Sanford woman opened it, she found stack after stack of people's private medical records that certainly weren't in the right place.

    "In the wrong hands, it is potentially very dangerous," she said.

    The woman does not want to be identified, but she says she did order a new Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance card for her daughter.

    It arrived in a Fed-Ex envelope and the brown box was sitting right beneath it from the same South Carolina Blue Cross, Blue Shield location.

    "All these people live all over the United States of America. They have no idea that I'm reading their personal information," she said.

    Eyewitness News sorted through the documents and found incredibly sensitive information, from peoples' addresses, to doctors, the medicines they're taking, insurance numbers and even their diagnosis.

    "You've just violated every law, every law in the medical field by giving a stranger these peoples' medical information. It should've been shredded and it hasn't," she said.

    Blue Cross, Blue Shield of South Carolina couldn't immediately say how the information could've been shipped out so haphazardly.

    They assured Eyewitness News Friday that they'd rush a representative to her home to pick up the records.
    Blue Cross, Blue Shield is investigating internally, using the information that WFTV provided them.

    The woman who received the paperwork says she can't hand it over to them fast enough.
    Jarnaes, leslie :-D, lamazeteacher, and 2 others like this.
  2. 2,501 Visits
    Find Similar Topics
  3. 13 Comments so far...

  4. 18
    Okay, so once she figured out that it wasn't intended for her, why did she continue to read it? And why did she call the news team rather than BC/BS? And why did the news team then go through the records? It doesn't say whether or not the package was addressed to this unidentified woman. If it was a delivery error, then it sounds like FedEx dropped the ball. Either way, it sounds like the records *did* fall into dishonest hands. An honest person would've immediately notified BC/BS and FedEx if it was a delivery error. An honest person wouldn't have kept reading and then called the news team. Thumbs down to this "unidentified woman."
    kythe, Chapis, Baloney Amputation, and 15 others like this.
  5. 3
    I say 'two thumbs up' to this woman who chose not to let this get swept under the rug.

    If she had not alerted the news media, BC/BS would continue to go about their business in the same manner with no one the wiser.

    In this day and age, it certainly never hurts to get a peek as to what is going on in big corporate insurance companies. They're certianly not going to volunteer this information.


    We would have all been none the wiser.
  6. 1
    Quote from KateRN1
    Okay, so once she figured out that it wasn't intended for her, why did she continue to read it? And why did she call the news team rather than BC/BS? And why did the news team then go through the records? It doesn't say whether or not the package was addressed to this unidentified woman. If it was a delivery error, then it sounds like FedEx dropped the ball. Either way, it sounds like the records *did* fall into dishonest hands. An honest person would've immediately notified BC/BS and FedEx if it was a delivery error. An honest person wouldn't have kept reading and then called the news team. Thumbs down to this "unidentified woman."
    Exactly. She calls the news to report it versus the company and she reads it and lets the newspeople read it?! Shameful. I would have closed and taped the box and called the company immediately and not continued to invade their privacy.
    wooh likes this.
  7. 4
    Quote from PlaneFlyerRN
    I say 'two thumbs up' to this woman who chose not to let this get swept under the rug.

    If she had not alerted the news media, BC/BS would continue to go about their business in the same manner with no one the wiser.
    I agree. It sounded to me that she "read" them because she didn't know what it was that she received. I would have done the same thing. It might have taken her a bit longer to realize what those records were as she doesn't work in health care as well. You wouldn't automatically jump from "what is this?" to "someone's confidential medical file" unless you're used to seeing them all the time.

    As for why she called the media, I think this makes her more of a whistle blower than dishonest person. Why should BC/BS be allowed to cover it all up so that people don't know this had happened? Would you prefer not to know that your files had been mistakenly sent to someone, or to be kept in the dark? I'd rather know.

    I find it really strange that some people are putting the blame on her rather than BC/BS and/or the delivery company. I also wonder, why was a box of medical records being sent via Fed-Ex to anyone? And whatever delivery method was used, BC/BS didn't even bother to require someone to sign for the delivery. The box was just left on her doorstep.
    S.N. Visit, Jarnaes, Teresag_CNS, and 1 other like this.
  8. 4
    I have received wrong mail from insurance companies before - one time I received two Coverage of Benefits: one for me and one for some stranger. I noted the name was wrong, called the insurance company and sent it certified back to them.

    Notice - I state that I didn't READ the info and I DIDN"T call the news media. Sorry, these people are justing looking for a lawsuit and we have too many of them.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jun 20, '09
    Pierrette, Batman24, wooh, and 1 other like this.
  9. 2
    My insurance co. sent me an EOB for another patient by mistake. It was one page, and I did read it, not noticing that the name at top wasn't mine. I called the ins. co. to let them know, they thanked me and told me to destroy it, which I did. My concern was mainly that the intended patient was probably waiting for it, not that I inadvertently violated their privacy.

    Just a thought, do Hipaa rules apply only to people in the healthcare industry?
    Batman24 and wooh like this.
  10. 0
    Quote from Batman24
    Exactly. She calls the news to report it versus the company and she reads it and lets the newspeople read it?! Shameful. I would have closed and taped the box and called the company immediately and not continued to invade their privacy.
    Batman24, you have taken a vow to respect patients' confidentiality; and the woman in receipt of the package with the brown box in it, has not. I didn't read that she allowed the information in the box to be disclosed by the media.

    Gross inefficiency with such information should not go without repercussions. I've worked for BC/BS/Wellpoint, and I wasn't in the least surprised with the error that occurred. I do wonder who the addressee and address on the package, was. If I get a piece of mail without my name, but with someone else's name on it, I wouldn't open it, in that scenario, but would forward it on by writing NOT AT THIS ADDRESS and take it to the post office, unopened.

    That insurance company has many workers who do their thing at home, and that could have been the case - that a worker at home was going to process the information, which may not have been in separate, sealed envelopes.
    Last edit by lamazeteacher on Jun 20, '09 : Reason: typo
  11. 0
    Hello , This happens alot ... I had a coworker who was a traveling nurse living in an RV. She heard her fax go on in the RV . The hospital or dr. office fax a copy of a patient chart. Another friend had the same thing happen to her ..scary.
    But we do not live iin a perfect world .We all must be careful when we fax,send ,delivery .
  12. 1
    I got a fax on a patient from the local mental health clinic one time. I called the clinic and notified them of what happened, then shredded it. If the news team is so worried about privacy, they shouldn't be going through the records. Sure, BCBS screwed up, but that doesn't give the news team the right to further invade these people's privacy. Accidents happen, and BCBS needs to be more careful. But I'm more annoyed with this woman for her actions AFTER realizing what she had and especially the news team, because they didn't accidently do anything, they purposefully violated the privacy of those people.
    Batman24 likes this.


Top