Thousands of medical records from a radiology practice were found in a dumpster outside of a storage facility in Richmond, Ky., last week. The records, packed into 65 boxes, contained detailed patient information, including social security numbers and credit card numbers.
ABC 36 reports that the records likely came from a storage unit that was abandoned for almost four years until last weekend, when it was cleaned out for a new customer. The records were discovered while the facility was being cleaned out, and that’s how they ended up in a dumpster.
The entire situation has potential to be a security nightmare, but there’s some good news: the man who found the boxes took them straight to a hospital, and they showed no signs of being opened or tampered with in any way. Once the boxes were opened, it was discovered they are from Richmond Radiology, a practice no longer exists.
Any healthcare providers unsure about what to do with old documents should make sure they absolutely do not let them end up in a dumpster outside of a storage facility—or any dumpster, for that matter. For additional information, this HHS document includes frequently asked questions about the proper disposal of protected health information.