Mistake during construction led to lost medical documents

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Someone mistakenly placed hundreds of confidential patient billing documents in a dumpster during a construction project at Midwest Women’s Healthcare last Monday, a spokesperson for the physicians’ organization said Tuesday.

How the documents, which contained names, addresses and social security numbers for female patients in 2011 and 2012, ended up in a dumpster on the Research Medical Center campus had been something of an ongoing mystery over the last week.

Tuesday’s statement from spokesperson Nikki Slater also said the group believes it has recovered the majority of the lost documents and has begun the process of reaching out to the patients affected.

“While we have no indication that any of the information involved in this incident has been or will be misused, we recommend that each impacted individual remain vigilant against fraud and identity theft,” the statement reads.

Midwest Women’s Healthcare’s statement also said as it formally contacts affected women it will provide instructions for how they can sign up for a year of free credit monitoring.

The group will also update its security measures, “including revising our document storage practice, completing refresher security training for all staff and performing ongoing audits.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights in Washington D.C. would not confirm or deny whether that organization was investigating the lost documents as a breach of HIPAA law, in accordance with internal policy.  

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