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Medical Information Found at Recycling Center

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As reported by Scott Smith of on January 4, 2007, dozens of boxes of unshredded medical records surfaced at a Stockton recycling center, violating a state law enacted in recent years to protect patients' personal information, as well as violating the Privacy Rule of HIPAA.

It's unclear where the records came from or what was in them, but a spokesman for the recycling center said the papers would be destroyed immediately.

"We will ensure they are taken care of," said the recycling center's manager. "We're following the advice of (legal) counsel."

Tim Le Bas, a law professor at the Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law who helped draft the 2001 law protecting patients' personal information, said hospitals, doctors or their contractors found negligently disposing of such records can face stiff penalties.

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