TN: “Thousands” Of Medical Records Discovered In Recycling Bin (update 1)

A second breach involving patient records reported in Chattanooga this week, and it also involves paper records:

Derek Dellinger of NewsChannel9 reports that customers at a recycling center found hundreds of medical records thrown into the trash for anyone to see. Officers on scene told the reporter that the records included patients from hospitals to plastic surgery offices.

I’ll update this one if/when they find out who’s responsible.

Update 1: The story indicated that at least some of the records came from Hutcheson Medical Center. I didn’t post that claim until it was confirmed. As it turns out, the news story may have gotten it wrong. The Medical Center has posted this notice on its web site:

Hutcheson Officials at Hutcheson Medical Center were contacted Saturday afternoon in regards to the discovery of medical records found at the Dupont Recycling Center in Chattanooga, TN. In contrast to information reported by a Chattanooga television station, the records were not those of Hutcheson Medical Center but appear to be physician office records. Our investigation showed that the physician was a plastic surgeon who held medical staff privileges at Erlanger Health System, Memorial Health Care System, Parkridge Medical Center, Parkridge East Hospital, and Hutcheson between the years of 1994 and 2001. The records contained information from the various hospitals where the physician practiced.

It is our understanding that this physician relocated to North Carolina in 2001 and expired in 2007.

It is still unknown who had possession of the records, but at no time were these records property of Hutcheson. It is unknown as to why it was only reported that the records were associated with only Hutcheson Medical Center

We regret any undue concern this may have caused any patients of Hutcheson Medical Center. Hutcheson is committed to the privacy and security of all confidential patient information and at no time were our system’s hospital records compromised.

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