INVESTIGATION: Medical records discovered in local dumpsters. What's being done about it?

Alan Cohn reports:

An ABC Action News investigation has uncovered local businesses who are carelessly discarding your sensitive personal information.

In our second installment of this Taking Action investigation, we’ve uncovered examples of private medical records thrown away unshredded.

Among the documents we discovered were blood tests that showed one Tampa woman has Chronic Kidney Disease and another is getting Oxycondone from a pain management clinic.

How do we know what is, without a doubt, private and personal medical information about these people?

Despite federal laws requiring doctors to safeguard the private medical records of their patients, we found lab results, prescriptions and other sensitive documents with names, addresses, and other personal information unshredded in dumpsters behind medical offices along Dale Mabry.

Read more on ABC.

In other coverage on this topic, ABC indicated that Tampa’s Pain Management and Detox center was one of those whose records were found unshredded.

I contacted Alan Cohn to encourage them to stay on this issue and to contact HHS about the unshredded medical records. As long-time readers of and this site know, WTHR in Indiana did a phenomenal job of exposing the improper disposal of protected health information by local pharmacies there. As a result of their investigative reporting, the state’s attorney general got involved, the FTC got involved, the state’s pharmacy board got involved, and HHS/OCR investigated, resulting in fines and settlements and a cleanup in Indiana. Alan informs me that the general manager at ABC was at WTHR when their series ran, so I’m hopeful ABC will produce a similarly impactful investigative series.

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