Friday, September 20, 2013
A Wichita business owner says for years his real estate office has received faxes containing personal medical information not intended for him or anyone in his office.
"We've been getting referrals (documents) from a variety of medical companies (that include) social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, names, ages, insurance information, where they are employed," Greg Fox said.
He says over the past decade, his Realty World office in east Wichita has received the faxes from about five different companies. He says on average, the office receives three of these faxes a month.
"We've called these establishments for years and they just can't fix the problem," Fox said.
When he and others at the office have called the medical practices to report the errant faxes, they say they've been told Realty World's fax number is very similar to the fax number for a local surgical center. In other words, he says, they've said someone must be misdialing the number.
But Fox says if that's the case, he's concerned that he may not be the only one receiving this sensitive information.
"This could be going through some random fax machine where less reputable people would be getting your information," Fox said.
Fox's office utilizes a fax machine service that delivers faxes digitally to a computer. So, he says, they aren't printed out and left sitting around.
While most of the medical practices have stopped sending the faxes, he has already received two this month.
His office says the most common source is Advanced Orthopaedic Associates.
KAKE News made numerous attempts over two days to reach someone with Advanced Orthopaedic Associates. A representative left a message late Friday afternoon saying they were preparing a statement which KAKE News has yet to receive.
Realty World says at one point in the past, they did file a HIPAA complaint but they say the faxes have continued.
HIPAA experts tell KAKE News they won't comment on a specific case. But they say if there's too many of these kinds of unauthorized exposures of information in a given year, a company may be required to notify its patients.
Fox and others in the office say they believe the faxes are a breach of privacy and are a big concern they hope someone finally addresses.
"Technology has changed," Fox said. "You have to know who you send it to gets it and that you're sending it to the right person."