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  • Plymouth Man Says Hospital Records Were Found In Open Dumpster

    Posted on April 17th, 2009 admin No comments

    st-joe-paperworkA Plymouth man says he made a discovery he wishes he hadn’t.He says while leaving the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Plymouth a few weeks ago, he came across a dumpster filled with hospital records.

    WNDU obtained copies of some of those documents Thursday, and the hospital confirms they are official documents.

    Patients listed on the documents also confirm that the records are accurate.

    Meanwhile, the hospital is trying to figure out exactly what happened and how the man got these documents. They say his story doesn’t seem to add up.

    The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said something about the dumpster he saw in the parking lot a few weeks ago made him turn his head.

    “It said across the side of this dumpster, ‘sensitive documents.’ It was just general open construction type (dumpster). I went over and looked in it and there were documents lying all over, un-shredded, in the bottom of this dumpster,” he said.

    The man says he fished some of the documents out of the dumpster and kept some of them, as well a doctor’s appointment book from 2004.

    “(The documents) tell the person’s name and what procedure they had done and how much they paid for it, the date that it was done. To me that’s just too much information,” he said.

    Hospital officials don’t quite buy the story.

    “Well first of all, we don’t have any dumpsters at any of our facilities that say ‘sensitive documents,’ so that right away is false,” said Mike Stack, a spokesman for the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center system.

    But the fact of the matter is the man got the documents somehow.

    “We are concerned. We don’t know how many of these he has. What these are is basically business reports. There’s no private health information on there, so basically no one’s identity is at risk or anything like that,” Stack said.

    There are no social security numbers or detailed medical histories, but still enough to concern some patients.

    “We don’t know how many he has. We would like to talk with him so that we could get them back to us or give them back to us, so we can better understand what’s going on here,” Stack said.

    WNDU spoke with a few of the patients whose information was on the documents today. Many found it disturbing that someone else was able to get their information, as basic as it is.

    One woman was very shaken, saying that information should only be kept between her and her doctor, and she believes that is a violation of her HIPPA rights.

    Meanwhile, others were just relieved that there’s really no risk of identity theft from these documents alone.

    The man says the dumpster he found the documents in was taken away and replaced with a different dumpster.

    The one that sits in the parking lot now is a generic construction dumpster that does not say ‘sensitive documents’ or anything of the sort.

    A construction project has been ongoing on that section of the hospital.

    (by Ryan Famuliner – wndu.com)

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