Posted on June 30th, 2010 No comments
Who dumped medical records, containing confidential patient information, at the DMV?
These are some of the most sensitive, intimate personal medical records a person can have. A county worker was tossing garbage into the dumpster at the Auto Bureau in Cheektowaga and spotted boxes of files that just didn’t belong there.
Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul has taken temporary custody of the records until she gets word from health officials, telling her what to do with these highly sensitive, and very personal medical files.
The records belonged to the former Avalon Center, a clinic in Clarence for western New Yorkers with eating disorders, which closed back in November.
Hochul said, “There was patient information there, there was social security card information on there, there was diagnosis information. So we mainly became concerned. We alerted the County Health Department and they sent us to the State Health Department.”
For former patient Ashley Chudy of Amherst, she’s left with a feeling of anger and betrayal.
“There’s a lot of really sensitive information in those files that I don’t believe the world should be seeing, or anyone should be seeing. They should have closed when Avalon closed,” said Chudy.
Chudy’s mother, Terry Weinstein added, “Eating disorders are such a privative, secretive illness to begin with. It takes a lot for people to come forward, and the fact that they came forward and were receiving treatment, then everything they believed was being kept confidential, you know, it’s out there. That’s pretty scary.”
We tried to reach the former owner of the Avalon Center, Art Boese, on his home phone and cell phone, but our messages were not returned. In the meantime, those files are locked up with the County Clerk.
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