Improper Disposal of Pharmacy Records from Smith’s Food & Drug Impacts 58,000 Patients

Smith’s Food & Drug based in Salt Lake City, OH has reported that around 58,000 patients’ pharmacy records were improperly disposed of.

The grocery and drug store chain discovered the improper disposal on August 29, 2019 and notified the affected clients of its store located at 4600 East Sunset Road in Henderson, NV.

There were 12 boxes that contain physical pharmacy records, which include prescriptions. A former associate disposed of these records in an inappropriate manner. The HIPAA requires that records should have been shredded, burned, pulped, or pulverized to make them indecipherable, unreadable, and not reconstructible. The associate put the boxes of files in the trash compactor together with regular garbage.

Due to the fact that the records are not accessible anymore, it caannot be ascertained which patients were affected and what specific types of data were exposed. It was estimated by Smith’s Food & Drug that the pharmacy records contained approximately 57,600 patients’ sensitive information. The types of information contained in the records probably included the patients’ full names, together with an address, telephone number, birth date, gender, prescription number, name of drug, and third-party payor details. Based on a statement given by Smith’s Food & Drug, the physical records were already 11 and up years old.

It is unlikely that unauthorized people viewed or obtained the records. However, given that the records were disposed of unsecurely, unauthorized access can’t be eliminated. No report of patient information misuse has been received, but Smith’s Food & Drug has advised clients to check the explanation of benefits statements provided by their health plans and to report if there are medical services posted that they did not receive.

Smith’s Food & Drug is re-training some associates concerning organization policies and HIPAA Rules on the disposal of sensitive data. More safety measures are also being put in place to avoid the same incidents later on. Smith’s Food & Drug stated that the associate responsible for the incident was already fired.

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Christine Garcia is the staff writer on Calculated HIPAA. Christine has several years experience in writing about healthcare sector issues with a focus on the compliance and cybersecurity issues. Christine has developed in-depth knowledge of HIPAA regulations. You can contact Christine at [email protected]. You can follow Christine on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ChrisCalHIPAA