National News

Medical records found in trash bins in Palolo

Posted October 30, 2017 1:32 p.m. EDT

— A Palolo resident found a stack of hundreds of pages of local residents' personal medical information while placing trash in the public-access trash bins on 10th Ave.

"I look down, and I see the pile of papers, and the top paper was obviously somebody's confidential information," said the resident, who asked to remain anonymous.

The stack of papers contained close to 50 patients' records.

"It was social security numbers, it was pictures of driver's licenses, full medical information, personal information, just dozens and dozens of clients," the resident said.

He says the bins often get rummaged through by people looking for recyclables. He removed the papers from the trash bins.

The Hawaii Medical Association says they never should have been there in the first place. "Federal statutes require that medical records be discarded in a way that securely maintains the confidentiality patient information," explained executive director Christopher Flanders.

Windward Family Therapy Center was listed on the top of the paperwork found in the trash bins. CEO Sheree Revilla's signature can be found on the paperwork.

Island News reached out to the center but were unable to get a comment from Revilla. Her staff says all appointments had been canceled for the day, and asked for the records back.

HIPAA laws say the penalty could be a significant fine.