KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In a statement released late Wednesday afternoon, the physicians' group at the center of an ongoing investigation into the botched disposal of hundreds of patient medical records apologized for the first time.
"First and foremost, we sincerely apologize to Midwest Women's Healthcare patients who are affected by this incident,” Midwest Women’s Healthcare spokesperson Nikki Slater told 41 Action News.
“We care deeply about our patients and their privacy, and are working diligently to investigate the situation,” the statement continued. “We have spoken to some of these patients and will be communicating to other affected patients."
One patient contacted by 41 Action News on Wednesday confirmed a hospital administrator had reached out to her about her lost record, one of hundreds believed to have been discarded in a dumpster outside Research Medical Center on Monday.
But many other patients whose records were lost in the incident, including Kelsey Zydel, whose record was recovered by a Good Samaritan and given to 41 Action News, have yet to hear anything from their care providers.
“I did try calling to see if I could get ahold of someone,” Zydel said. “But it was just voicemail after voicemail. I haven't heard.”
Midwest Women’s Healthcare, a physicians’ group based at Research and affiliated with the same larger healthcare company as the hospital, HCA, could potentially be liable for millions of dollars in fines for violations of federal HIPAA law.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the federal Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights confirmed the office is aware of the incident, but would not confirm whether its Kansas City field office has yet opened an investigation.
“We look not only at the breach or reason that a complaint comes in but also at the underlying status of compliance of the covered entity,” Spokesperson Rachel Seeger said of any investigation into HIPAA violations. “We look at the business operation.”
Seeger suggested anyone concerned about the privacy of their medical information should visit the HHS website, or watch their YouTube video.