Medical Files Left in Recycle Bins

Tisha Thompson reports:

A visit to the doctor’s office is supposed to make you feel better, from a sore throat to wheezing and coughing.

But some patients are now feeling sick to their stomachs after FOX 5 uncovered a serious threat to their privacy.

This story started after a viewer contacted us concerned about what he found on his monthly visit to the Fairfax County dump.

The viewer told us there were multiple boxes with the files in them. Just like what you would see in a doctor’s office.

Boxes of medical files discovered in the recycling bin, sitting right on top of the other trash.

Inside each file, private information: health histories, test results, surgeries performed, pictures, insurance cards, addresses, even bank account information.


FOX 5 tracked the files to the Family Health Center on Town Center Parkway in Reston.
The office is run by Dr. Eric Havens.

He declined to go on camera. But his attorney sent us a letter saying, “Dr. Havens wishes to express his deep regret that medical records of his patients were inadvertently included in the disposal of other non-medical records. This isolated incident is outside of the usual office procedures and protocols for the destruction of patients’ records.”

Read more on FOX5.

So… if it’s a few dozen files, I would not expect to see any entry from this provider until the end of the year because incidents affecting fewer than 500 can be “batched” for reporting to HHS/OCR.

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