Clinic tries to link patients to lost medical records

Clinic tries to link patients to lost medical records

KANSAS CITY, Mo. —Two days after papers from a Kansas City women’s health clinic, including sensitive documents containing patient medical and financial information, were found blowing around near 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue, the clinic said it’s trying to determine whose records were lost.

A passerby first noticed some of the records blowing around a vacant lot about a block away from the clinic and was able to collect about 70 documents, but he said there were probably as many as five times more he couldn’t get.

KMBC 9’s Michael Mahoney found additional documents on Tuesday and will return them to the clinic.

An expert in medical ethics said the Midwest Women’s Health Care Specialists office is correct to start an investigation into what happened, how big the problem is and which patients are affected.

John Carney of the Center for Practical Bioethics said the clinic should also find out why those documents were not shredded or destroyed if they were going to be discarded.

“It’s a requirement to destroy the information so it can’t be accessed by people who shouldn’t be reading it,” Carney said. “It has to be protected in whatever form or fashion. So it’s either destroyed or protected, or put into salt mines, somehow reserved so the only people who can see it are the people who need to see it.”

He said the Midwest Women’s Health Care Specialists are obligated to tell the Department of Health and Human Services about the problem and they probably already have. Members of the HHS staff in Washington told Mahoney that they are aware of the situation.

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