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Dentist Violates HIPAA Regulation

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EASTCHESTER, NY - Among the stacks of newspapers at the curb on Garth Road, two boxes with plain beige envelopes and color-coded tabs - out in the open for anyone to see - caught a passerby’s attention.

They turned out to be dental records.

Hundreds of files, with patients' names, addresses, Social Security numbers and even mouth X-rays, sat in front of The Kensington cooperative at 142 Garth Road for several hours.

Reportedly the documents were trusted to the office building’s recycling program.

The records included both the personal information that thieves seek and the medical information that state and federal law require doctors and dentists to keep confidential.

A spokeswoman for the New York State Dental Association, said state law requires records be kept confidential until they have been destroyed, even if it is longer than six years. She said dentists often hire professional services to shred documents.

Dentists are also considered covered-entities under HIPAA and are required to have a business associates contract for any company that disposes of any records.