SOUTHWEST HOUSTON – A woman said she discovered medical records, which included private information, which was left in the middle of a southwest Houston neighborhood.
“I was shocked with all the HIPPA rules now. I was very surprised,” she said.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she saw something unusual in her Sharpstown neighborhood on Wednesday and had to report it.
“I was on the way to my mother’s house to take her dinner and passed by this house and there were medical records all in the street next to a recycling bin,” she said.
Some of the records the woman found had private patient and procedure information from a chiropractor’s office in downtown Houston dating back to 2013 and 2014.
There were also several checks written to the chiropractor for thousands of dollars.
“There was a lot of patient information in there -- dates of birth, phone numbers, social security, drivers license,” the woman said.
KPRC 2 reached out to the Texas Board of Chiropractic Exams who said a licensee has a duty to securely store private information. But after six years, the statute expires for patient information in some cases and a physician has the right to dispose of the information, but it should be done properly.
KPRC 2 legal analyst Brian Wice said medical records should not be left in public.
“Not in Sharpstown or anywhere else. It’s a violation of a federal statute known as HIPPA, which guarantees each and every one of us the reasonable expectation of privacy in our medical records,” Wice said.
The Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners said the chiropractor will not face any disciplinary action or fines.
The woman who found the medical records said this should not happen.
“They need to be shredded. You shred them. You don’t throw them in the city recycling bin,” the woman said.
KPRC 2 returned the medical records to the chiropractor. She was highly upset that something like this happened, and she said she’s now working to figure out how the medical records ended up in the neighborhood and why.