Storage & Shredding: Expert Advice

Safeguard = Compliance, we know the laws and protect our customers!

Posted by Sean Kelly on Wed, Jun 05, 2013 @ 04:32 PM

Green Customized Shredding Quote

 

Former Owners of Medical Billing Practice, Pathology Groups Agree to Pay $140,000 to Settle Claims that Patients’ Health Information was Disposed of at Georgetown Dump

Defendants Agree to Take Additional Steps to Prevent Future Data Security Violations

BOSTON – Former owners of a Marblehead-based medical billing practice and four pathology groups have agreed to collectively pay $140,000, settling allegations that sensitive medical records and confidential billing information for tens of thousands of Massachusetts patients were improperly disposed of at a public dump, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

The complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court along with consent judgments that were approved today, alleges that Joseph and Louise Gagnon, d/b/a Goldthwait Associates, violated state data security laws when they mishandled and improperly disposed of medical records containing personal information and protected health information from four Massachusetts pathology groups at the Georgetown Transfer Station. The medical records contained information for more than 67,000 residents including names, Social Security numbers, and medical diagnoses that were not redacted or destroyed when they were dumped. 

“Personal health information must be safeguarded as it passes from patients to doctors to medical billers and other third-party contractors,” AG Coakley said. “We believe this data breach put thousands of patients at risk, and it is the obligation of all parties involved to ensure that sensitive information is disposed of properly to prevent this from happening again.”

This matter came to the public’s attention in July 2010 when a Boston Globe photographer was disposing of his own trash at the Georgetown Transfer Station and observed a large mound of paper which, upon closer inspection, he determined were medical records. His discovery was first reported in the Globe shortly thereafter.

The other defendants involved in this settlement are Dr. Kevin Dole, former President of Chestnut Pathology Services, P.C.; Milford Pathology Associates, P.C.; Milton Pathology Associates, P.C.; and Pioneer Valley Pathology Associates, P.C.

The AG’s Office alleges that these pathology groups violated HIPAA regulations by failing to have appropriate safeguards in place to protect the personal information they provided to Goldthwait Associates, and violated state data security regulations by not taking reasonable steps to select and retain a service provider that would maintain appropriate security measures to protect such confidential information.

According to the complaint, the Gagnons ran Goldthwait Associates – which primarily provided medical billing services for pathology groups – and received sensitive medical records and billing information of clients in order to send medical bills on behalf of the groups. The Gagnons retired from Goldthwait Associates and the medical billing business in 2010.

Each of the four pathology groups and the Gagnons agreed to entry of consent judgments to resolve the AG’s allegations. Under the settlements, the defendants have agreed to pay a total of $140,000 for civil penalties, attorney fees, and a data protection fund to support efforts to improve the security and privacy of sensitive health and financial information in Massachusetts. 

The AG’s Office is focused on ensuring that health care practices and their business associates abide by the state and federal data privacy requirements. Recent efforts include the $750,000 settlement with South Shore Hospital in May 2012, resolving allegations that it failed to protect the personal and confidential health information of more than 800,000 patients. 

AG Coakley is also leading an educational effort in the area of data privacy. A first-of-its-kind data privacy training – sponsored jointly by the AG’s Office and the Massachusetts Medical Society – was held in October 2012 and focused on health care entities, including speakers from state and federal government and the private sector. A second training is being held this Thursday in cooperation with the Massachusetts Hospital Association.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Wendoly Ortiz Langlois of the Health Care Division and Shannon Choy-Seymour of the Consumer Protection Division.

Tags: document shredding services boston, shredding worcester, Office Records Destruction, 93I, 93H, Document Shredding, document shredding services worcester, Certified document destruction, shredding boston

Safeguard = Compliance, we know the laws and protect our customers!

Posted by Sean Kelly on Wed, Jun 05, 2013 @ 04:22 PM

Former Owners of Medical Billing Practice, Pathology Groups Agree to Pay $140,000 to Settle Claims that Patients’ Health Information was Disposed of at Georgetown Dump

Defendants Agree to Take Additional Steps to Prevent Future Data Security Violations

BOSTON – Former owners of a Marblehead-based medical billing practice and four pathology groups have agreed to collectively pay $140,000, settling allegations that sensitive medical records and confidential billing information for tens of thousands of Massachusetts patients were improperly disposed of at a public dump, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

The complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court along with consent judgments that were approved today, alleges that Joseph and Louise Gagnon, d/b/a Goldthwait Associates, violated state data security laws when they mishandled and improperly disposed of medical records containing personal information and protected health information from four Massachusetts pathology groups at the Georgetown Transfer Station. The medical records contained information for more than 67,000 residents including names, Social Security numbers, and medical diagnoses that were not redacted or destroyed when they were dumped. 

“Personal health information must be safeguarded as it passes from patients to doctors to medical billers and other third-party contractors,” AG Coakley said. “We believe this data breach put thousands of patients at risk, and it is the obligation of all parties involved to ensure that sensitive information is disposed of properly to prevent this from happening again.”

This matter came to the public’s attention in July 2010 when a Boston Globe photographer was disposing of his own trash at the Georgetown Transfer Station and observed a large mound of paper which, upon closer inspection, he determined were medical records. His discovery was first reported in the Globe shortly thereafter.

The other defendants involved in this settlement are Dr. Kevin Dole, former President of Chestnut Pathology Services, P.C.; Milford Pathology Associates, P.C.; Milton Pathology Associates, P.C.; and Pioneer Valley Pathology Associates, P.C.

The AG’s Office alleges that these pathology groups violated HIPAA regulations by failing to have appropriate safeguards in place to protect the personal information they provided to Goldthwait Associates, and violated state data security regulations by not taking reasonable steps to select and retain a service provider that would maintain appropriate security measures to protect such confidential information.

According to the complaint, the Gagnons ran Goldthwait Associates – which primarily provided medical billing services for pathology groups – and received sensitive medical records and billing information of clients in order to send medical bills on behalf of the groups. The Gagnons retired from Goldthwait Associates and the medical billing business in 2010.

Each of the four pathology groups and the Gagnons agreed to entry of consent judgments to resolve the AG’s allegations. Under the settlements, the defendants have agreed to pay a total of $140,000 for civil penalties, attorney fees, and a data protection fund to support efforts to improve the security and privacy of sensitive health and financial information in Massachusetts. 

The AG’s Office is focused on ensuring that health care practices and their business associates abide by the state and federal data privacy requirements. Recent efforts include the $750,000 settlement with South Shore Hospital in May 2012, resolving allegations that it failed to protect the personal and confidential health information of more than 800,000 patients. 

AG Coakley is also leading an educational effort in the area of data privacy. A first-of-its-kind data privacy training – sponsored jointly by the AG’s Office and the Massachusetts Medical Society – was held in October 2012 and focused on health care entities, including speakers from state and federal government and the private sector. A second training is being held this Thursday in cooperation with the Massachusetts Hospital Association.

This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Wendoly Ortiz Langlois of the Health Care Division and Shannon Choy-Seymour of the Consumer Protection Division.

 

Green Customized Shredding Quote

Tags: document shredding services boston, shredding worcester, Office Records Destruction, 93I, 93H, Document Shredding, document shredding services worcester, Certified document destruction, shredding boston

Your Secure Document Storage and Shredding Source Since 1995

Posted by Sean Kelly on Thu, Dec 06, 2012 @ 12:16 PM

Being just over two years away from celebrating 20 years in the document shredding and storage business, as a small business whose job is nothing but small, we felt like it was about time we started the celebration. We might be a little early, but hey, we're excited. We're excited because we've successfully been able to capture the trust of thousands of customers over the years who are in need of secure shredding or records management and who put their faith in us to keep their personal information safe. The reason for our success, we believe, along with many other things, is because we do things the right way. What is the right way, you ask? Well, there's only one when it comes to this business and we're doing it. There are a lot of ways to be doing it the "wrong" way and thankfully, we know that that's just not how to do business. 

Although is may be a simple question, we get it a lot; "What do you do with my documents once you take them?" Since we are asked this so frequently, we figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to lay it all out and give you the inside look at how things are done (the right way!). 

You can get all the facts in two minutes by watching our video, and then the nitty gritty (but really important stuff!) layed out below

 

Certified & Secure

Document Shredding            

Document Storage &

Management                                

 1. Your boxes of documents are picked up by our insured and bonded staff (loaded into our securely locked box truck designated spiecifically for destruction pick-up only).
 
2. The number of boxes picked up are signed off by you as well as the retrieval driver. This is to ensure that you will be billed for only the number of boxes you and the retrieval team member agree upon. We do this since there are so many different sizedboxes to hold your documents these days,some larger than others, and may need tobe counted as two.
 
3. Once the box number is agreed upon, yourboxes are transported in our locked destructionretrieval truck to our secure facility where thetruck has loading dock access and unloadsyour documents directly onto the shredder. That means that your documents are destroyedthe same day that they are retrieved. 
 
4. All of the shreds from our shredder are baled and brought to a paper recycling plant to be repurposed. 
 
5. Once payment has been recieved, you will besent a Certificate of Destruction for proof that youtook the secure measures required by law to safeguard sensitive information.

Green Customized Shredding Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. From the start, document storageand management takes a bit more time andplanning than document shredding. When you'reready to put your documents in a secure, climate controlled environment, we'llwalk you through each step and even cometo your office or place of business to assess your current situation and helpto tailor a storage plan to fit your needs.
 
2. Once you're plan is made and you're readyto finally free up all that space your boxesare taking up (and if you don't have boxes,we can supply you with some, free of charge), we'll schedule a time for your storage retrievaltruck to come and retrieve your boxes for storage. 
 
3. When the storage retrieval team arrives, they will perform a box level inventory and barcode each of your boxes. The inventory is made in anexcel spreadsheet and matches the descriptionof the box with the barcode number. The barcodesare scanned as each box is put on the truck to beginthe chain of custody. From here on, eveytime a boxis moved, it's barcode is scanned. These barcodes are also used to track the locationof your boxes in storage in case you need to retrieve either a box or a file from a box, all youneed to do is look at the inventory, see which filesare in which box, and send us the barcode numberfor the box that the files are in. 
 
4. At the time the boxes are barcoded, you willreceive additional barcodes to put on any boxes thatyou comecome across in the future that will need tobe put into storage. You can either add this box to your inventory spreadsheet or we can do it for you!
 
5. For your convenience, we have RSWeb, an webapplication that you can log into and request that filesbe delivered to you, request to come and access fileshere, or request that certain boxes be destroyed oncetheir retention time is up. 
 
Click me
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tags: document shredding services boston, Records management, shredding worcester, Office Records Destruction, Records Retention, Document Shredding, document storage, records storage, records management system, document shredding services worcester, Records Storage boston, Certified document destruction, Records Management companies

It's 3:00 P.M, do YOU know where your personal documents are?

Posted by Sean Kelly on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 @ 03:47 PM

You read it right, we're asking: Do you know where your personal documents are? And no, we aren't talking about the documents you keep in a filing cabinet, in a kitchen drawer, or a home office. We're talking about the personal information you've left with anyone who you have ever given it to... your bank, your doctor, your lawyer, your accountant, etc. Do you know what is done with your documents? Well, in most cases, youshould feel secure leaving your information with a reputable company who uses a professional document shredding service to securely destroy your information. Unfortunatly, as detailed in this news video, sometimes your personal information can be just thrown in the trash by those who have no regard for the safety of their clients or patients information. 

Are your documents being securely shredded?
 A trash collector found these documents
containing sensitive personal information in a 
dumpster, and even found a copy of a social
security card.

 

So now you ask, well how can I be sure that the people who deal with my sensitive information aren't just throwing it away? Of course you cannot police them, but what you can do is be an educated consumer of the services you are using, and when you know your sensitive information is going to be in the hands of a service provider, all you have to do is ASK! Don't be afraid, your identity and financial information may be at risk. All it takes is a simple question of "will all of my information be securely shredded when you're done with it?". The answer will either be "Why of course, we use company XYZ to shred all of your client/patient information" or it would be "No", or maybe "we plan on starting up services sometime in the near future", or any type of explanation to make it sound not-so-bad that they aren't using a shredding company. Either way, when you ask, you are only doing a service to yourself and the fellow consumer. Maybe your question will prompt that company to call their shredding service provider to have them remove sensitive documents (some of which may be yours!), or, maybe your question will prompt them to START using a document shredding company. The outcome will be positive, no matter what. 

As a consumer, you have a right to DEMAND the safety of your information. Thankfully, Massachusetts and most states have laws that affect the types of businesses that handle sensitive information and so you can feel comfortable knowing that those businesses are required by law to keep your information safe. Regardless, it never hurts to ask. You never know whose sensitive information you could be keeping from going into the trash.   

Tags: 93I, Federal FACTA, Protected health information, 93H, Document Shredding, document storage, shredding services