Fulton County: We know who mishandled patient medical records - CBS46 News

Fulton County: We know who mishandled patient medical records

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Fulton County officials confirmed Friday that they have narrowed their investigation down to one person who they believe is responsible for putting medical records in a dumpster without destroying them first.

"There is a Fulton County employee that has been placed on leave pending further personnel action," said county spokesperson Darryl Carver.

That person used to work in the facility on Connally Drive near East Point, which is in the process of being relocated.

Carver would not reveal the employee's exact position, nor would he elaborate on why the employee did not follow procedure, only adding "it was done on purpose."

CBS46 discovered an open dumpster at the South Fulton Mental Health Center Thursday, which contained the personal documentation of hundreds of patients.

The paperwork contained names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, symptoms, medications and notes from conversations with psychiatrists.

All the papers were loose and none were shredded or bagged. That type of information can lead to identity theft or invasion of privacy.

When CBS46 originally brought the matter to the county's attention, a spokesperson denied there was any problem whatsoever.

Their first written statement read in part:

"...After a thorough inspection, no patient records or confidential patient information were located..."

But when I showed them proof to the contrary, the statement was changed to this:

"...A preliminary review suggests a staff member did not secure the files properly during the transition process. Those files have now been secured in accordance with HIPPA regulations..."

That was Thursday. By Friday morning, CBS46 returned to the dumpsters to find them untouched. I dug through the construction debris a second time and found more medical records.

Under pressure from our reporting, the County moved the dumpsters behind a secure fence where the public can't get to them. Investigators will go through the dumpsters more thoroughly at a later date.

As of Friday, Fulton County is still reviewing whether they need to report this incident to federal regulators.

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