Another healthcare provider has reportedly left patient records available for anyone to find, which is exactly what happened. Gary Fiorino was exploring an abandoned historical landmark in St. Louis when he found boxes of patient records. More details on the improper disposal of patient records is discussed.

Improper Disposal of Patient Records: DaVita Florissant Dialysis

While exploring the abandoned historical site, Fiorino stumbled upon several boxes full of old patient medical records, which he estimated contained the medical files of 60 patients. “Well, you never know what you’re going to see and what you’re going to find when you explore these kinds of areas. And then I ran across these boxes of medical records,” Fiorino stated.

Improper Disposal of Patient Records

“Found names, Social Security numbers, addresses, lab reports, entire medical history of people and personal information. And that kind of flabbergasted me. I used to work as a customer service rep for an HMO, and so it’s very important under HIPAA and other laws. That’s extremely sacred and confidential information. So for me to see this just out here roaming around, anybody could take a Social Security number and find out all about a personal medical history. It just seems totally inappropriate,” he furthered.

After discovering the abandoned records, he reached out to a local new organization, 5 On Your Side. The news organization conducted an investigation into the incident. They found the improperly disposed records in six weather-damaged boxes, some of which were missing their lids. 5 On Your Side said there was no way of knowing whether or not any records had been removed from the boxes prior to the discovery.

DaVita Florissant Dialysis, the organization in which the records belonged to, serves more than 206,000 patients, with 2,753 outpatient dialysis centers across the country. One of their former patients whose records were found in one of the boxes, Christine Scott, was deeply disturbed by the incident stating, “Right now, I’m feeling somewhat violated because that’s personal information. And not only that, it’s 14 years of information, personal information. Information comes back from the hospital, that goes into those files as well. So there’s a lot of personal information that’s in those files that I feel like I have totally been violated now, just open up to whoever.” Christine Scott was unaware that her records were missing until 5 On Your Side reached out to her to inform her about the incident.

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Improper Disposal of Patient Records: Investigation by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

5 On Your Side also reached out to state investigators from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Donya Lowrie, the state investigator, said it was unknown whether or not the records were intentionally left there by a DaVita employee, or if the records had been dumped by a third-party contractor hired to dispose of the records.

Lowrie commented on the incident, “This is just not something you see. You know, I’ve been a surveyor almost 20 years, and this is a rare occurrence. I mean, let’s face it. Everywhere you go in a medical facility now, you have to sign a consent, you know, for HIPAA.”

5 On Your Side reached out to DaVita Florissant Dialysis for an interview, which they declined