MI: Thousands of abandoned medical records found in building
WNEM reports that thousands of medical records were found abandoned in an unused office after the building was sold at auction.
Shockingly, when the reporter contacted the state, they did not take steps to secure the information. The station reports:
TV5’s Liz Gelardi called the state health department where a spokesperson explained a hospital or physicians office can take ownership of the records and dispose of them.
But so far Murieko can’t find anyone who’s willing.
It shouldn’t be the news station’s job to find someone to take custody of the records. As soon as they contacted the state, the state should have done something, shouldn’t it have? I don’t know Michigan law, but I hope that the state does take steps to secure these data.
According to the station’s research, the office changed hands a number of times. Also according to their research, the last known owner was Dr. William Sokoll, who they report spent time in jail following a conviction for prescription drug fraud. Via online resources, I find that a doctor by that name had his license to practice medicine suspended in 2008 and revoked in 2009. If these are his records, they may have been sitting there for a few years.
This is such a horrific find that I encourage you to look at the pictures of what the reporters found.
What will HHS do? What will the state of Michigan do? In the past, Michigan prosecuted a doctor who disposed of records improperly. Will they do that again? And in the meantime, will they take steps to immediately secure those patient records? I sincerely hope so.