Patients notified months after medical records went astray

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Lee County garbage workers lost hundreds of sensitive medical documents from a radiology office, as revealed in a letter sent to patients Thursday.

Financial accounting statements, old phone bills, invoices and registration information created between 2005 and 2012 were exposed, blowing in the wind on Fowler Street and landing in canals back in December.

Radiology Regional Center sent letters to dozens of patients Thursday to inform them that their information likely was not compromised because it was believed that all the information was retrieved. The letters were dated “February 15, 2016,” which is nearly three full months after the December incident.

medical documents records radiology center

Chief Operating Officer Brad Reid said the radiology center had a contract with Lee County Solid Waste. The division was supposed to properly dispose of the records, he said.

“They were supposed to go directly from our office to the county incinerator,” Reid said last year. “Apparently they picked up that shipping container — I’m assuming sometime early this morning — and along the way they didn’t check the back doors on it.”

For three days, Radiology Regional employees worked to retrieve the documents, Reid wrote to patients. In the letter, he offered free one-year identity theft memberships to the victims.

Radiology Regional was required to notify the state and federal governments of the incident. Reid said in December that he was waiting for more information about the nature of the documents before notifying patients.

The radiology center terminated its contract with Lee County, saying it “will no longer be responsible for transporting records for disposal.”

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