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Pharmacies and Doctors Possibly Violate HIPAA Law in Seattle

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On November 21, 2008 a KIRO TV investigative team wrapped up a 4 month investigation of improper disposal of medical documents by pharmacies and doctors in Seattle, Washington. KIRO reporters found prescription drug information, addresses, phone numbers, syringes, urine samples, social security numbers and someone's STD test results in dumpsters outside of pharmacies and doctors offices in the Seattle area.

At Seattle-based American Data Guard, a NAID member, more than 300-million pounds of private and secure information is dumped, sorted and shredded each month. Data Guard General Manager Kara Rudoff stated "When you're dealing with protected health information, you have to keep in mind that those medical records have every piece of information about us…I think this is a good wake-up call to people. This is happening out in the market place. It's our information on the streets."

Pharmacies and doctors in Seattle need to realize that thieves can use someone's personal medical information to steal identities and obtain prescription drugs. The gamble to ignore federal guidelines is not worth the potential risk of proven civil lawsuits and government fines.

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