Sam Levin reports:
In February, the Berkeley Health Center, a clinic that provided medical services to low-income patients, closed down in the wake of serious financial troubles, including allegations that it had mismanaged public funds. A federal judge forced the clinic out of its site at 2908 Ellsworth Street in South Berkeley after the nonprofit healthcare organization that ran the clinic, the Bay Area Consortium for Quality Health Care, filed for bankruptcy and was unable to pay its massive debts. Directors of the clinic vacated the property, but left behind thousands of confidential medical records in the building, which I photographed when I visited the shuttered clinic a day after federal marshals enforced the center’s eviction.
Now, it appears that the California Department of Justice is investigating the Berkeley Health Center and the Bay Area Consortium for Quality Health Care.
But wait, this gets worse and worse. Not only did the clinic leave behind TONS of patients’ medical records (and this clinic specialized in HIV/AIDS), but the warrant
also authorizes the seizure of appointment books, calendars, binders, notes, financial memos, personnel records, payroll documents, employment tax reports, bank statements, canceled checks, auditor reports, and many other internal documents. The warrant further calls for any “evidence tending to show the identity of the person or persons in control of the premises,” and any medical records, including exam results, x-rays, records of procedures and appointments, and other patient files. Investigators are also authorized to search digital records and computer files, according to the warrant.
Read more on East Bay Express, and do read Levin’s related coverage of this clinic and case. I am stunned at the medical records left behind and wonder if any complaint has been filed with CDPH and HHS.
THIS is the stuff that HIPAA nightmares are made of: