In the category of “Seriously—not again?” Radiology Regional Center, located in Fort Myers, Florida, notified over 480,000 individuals and the Office for Civil Rights that their medical records, including names, dates of birth, addresses, telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, health insurance numbers and medical assessments fell out of the back of a truck when the driver failed to lock the door. The records were being transported by a vendor to an incinerator for disposal.
It is reported that the records were blowing down the street, and staff of Radiology Regional Center frantically retrieved the records as they were blowing in the wind. They are offering identity theft protection services to the almost half a million patients.
Needless to say, they are now using a different vendor for transporting protected health information for disposal.
The sad message is that although we are seeing an increase in electronic hacking contributing to data breaches, paper records continue to be a high risk for data breaches. Both paper and electronic records are an integral part of a risk management program.