Posted on July 1st, 2010 No comments
A dumpster outside a St. John’s doctor’s office, listed as Dr. David Brown’s, was wide open and filled with patient folders and other medical records.
Attorney Nicole Knepper told News 4 that throwing records in a dumpster would be a violation of federal HIPAA regulations. A spokesperson for St. John’s said disposing of medical records in a dumper is not the correct protocol, they should have been shredded. She said the doctor said the files are old and he ran out of space, but it was the wrong thing to do, and he knows he made a mistake. A mistake that has the potential to be costly. Attorney Knepper told News 4 that civil and criminal penalties can be applied. Depending on the facts of each case, you may have a civil case for invasion of privacy as well.
Statement from Dr. David Brown:
In an effort to dispose of some files that were many years old, I made a mistake by using improper procedures for disposal of patient records. Medical practices always have an obligation to protect patient information, regardless of the age of the record. I sincerely regret that this occurred. The files have been retrieved and the records will be disposed of properly. I will fulfill all reporting obligations required by law. I am very sorry for any concern this has caused and want to assure my patients that going forward that I will follow proper disposal procedures.
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