Medical records found dumped

February 20, 2007

By Barry Davis, KENS 5 Eyewitness News

Hundreds of medical records from a chiropractor's office, protected under federal law, were found in the trash Monday behind a building.

The paperwork, covered under the HIPPA law, included Social Security numbers, photocopies of driver's license numbers, addresses, phone numbers and private medical history.

At least 20 boxes with medical files were recovered. Some of the files were found loose on the ground. They all belonged to Dr. James D. Strader of the now-defunct Back and Joint Institute of Texas.

"I don't think I'll give them as much information," said former patient Jerry Sillers. "I thought it would be confidential. I thought nobody would ever get a hold of it."

Sillers saw Strader three years ago.

"I just finished up an identity theft myself," said a San Antonio Police Department officer whose file was dumped with the others. He wanted to remain anonymous. "This is an easy way for people to get a hold of your information. Give it back to us. Shred it. Do whatever, if it's no longer needed. But just to dump out for everybody else and their mother to pick it up [is wrong]."

Members of the police and fire unions came out to pick up the records because many of Strader's patients were cops and firefighters. Strader recently told the state chiropractic board that he moved offices to Northeast San Antonio, but that practice said he is no longer there.

His former partners said it is against the law to dump records. They are supposed to be held for seven years and then properly disposed of either by shredding, burning or giving them back to the patient.

Strader later said the records must have been dumped by a bankruptcy trustee since the Back and Joint Institute of Texas folded.

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