Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Imagine the shock if you requested your medical records and actually received someone else's confidential, sensitive records. Now multiply that by eight! The medical mixup happened to an El Dorado woman and her efforts to return the records have not been successful.
The woman does not want to be identified. She had been to a physician at the KU Medical Center in Wichita and wanted her own records to take to another doctor. However, when she received the manilla envelope in the mail, she realized she had received her medical records along with the private records of eight other patients.
"My first instinct was, if this happened to me, where are my records going?" said the woman we'll call Anne. "Who is getting my records?"
Anne met us in an El Dorado park after she attempted to get the records back to the KU Med Center all weekend.
"I was having a flippin' fit," Anne said. "These were just cover pages, but still, they had the diagnosis, their age, birthdate, their name."
Anne calle KAKE News because she didn't want the issue swept under the rug. When she arranged a meeting in El Dorado's East Park, KU Medical Practice Executive Director Lorene Valentine showed up in a blue Honda SUV, but when she saw our photographer, she got back into her car and left without the records. Anne quickly called her back.
"Hi, how long will it be before you get here?" Anne asked Valentine on the phone.
"Well, we drove by and you had people with you and I don't know who they were," Valentine responded.
"Well, you have someone with you, too," Anne said.
"Yes, but that man had a big camera," Valentine said.
With that, Valentine said she would call Anne back in 15-20 minutes. She never did.
We also attempted repeatedly to contact Valentine ourselves, with no response.
With the utmost of caution, Anne even declined to show us the medical documents of the eight patients she received. She says she will not put them in the mail and will only return them to the KU Medical Center in person if they come to her.
After contacting the Sedgwick County district attorney and the US Attorney's office about possible HIPPA privacy violations, Anne told us they simply referred her to someone else and didn't take her seriously. She says if the medical center doesn't pick up the documents in person tomorrow, she will contact the Kansas Attorney General's office.