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Keep Your Medical Records Safe

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Amarillo, TX - Without the proper disposal of medical records, your personal information may be at risk of identity theft or fraud.

Maintaining your own personal medical records may be the safest option when protecting your privacy.  

A local medical facility recently found old medical records left by a previous practice.

In cases like this, it is important to know the laws protecting patients privacy, and more importantly the obligation a company has once they find them.

According to James Elkins, Regional Manager of Amarillo's Document Shredding Services, if a company buys a business or building, any records left in closets or storage spaces by the previous owner becomes the obligation of the new owner to dispose of the documents properly and securely. 

This does not mean throwing them away in the trash.

Hippa privacy and security rules state a person must shred or burn all public health records and destroy computer systems completely.
 
Ben Doyle, Attorney At Law, said there are some specific laws under HIPPA, Hi-Tech and the Texas Medical Records Privacy Act, which govern how to destroy records and how to keep them safe.

Under these rules, Doyle says doctors or anyone in contact with these records are required to maintain this information for a period of time and destroy of it properly.
   
If not done so properly, record holders may be fined a large sum of money.

To avoid these certain cases, patients may ask to maintain their own records.

According to Dr. Winston Thomas, any patient may ask for a copy of their records.

He said the state allows a minimum fee that a patient might have to pay before their doctor turns those over.

Shredding companies, such as Document Shredding and Storage, offer services to anyone who wishes to do away with personal records.
   
Elkins said using a shredding business is for the advantage of the consumer.

Shredding documents yourself could be timely and leave you at risk of someone finding your shreds and piecing them back together.

If you feel your information has been breached, you may file a complaint through the Human and Health Services Office of Civil Rights.
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  • Cori Duke

    Cori Duke

    Cori joined NewsChannel 10 in May 2014. She is an Amarillo native and is excited to be back home venturing into the news industry.
    Cori joined NewsChannel 10 in May 2014. She is an Amarillo native and is excited to be back home venturing into the news industry.