Health records of Today’s Vision patients and employees were found in boxes abandoned in a Texas public dumpster. The documents include highly sensitive information.
The Today’s Vision network in Texas consist of around 50 optometry clinics, which are owned and operated by independent owners. The bulk of records seem to be from the Today’s Vision clinic in Willowbrook, northwest Houston, which had stopped operations. Three months ago, MyEyeDr bought the clinic.
Dr. Donald Glenz, the owner of Today’s Vision in Willowbrook and Tomball, said he didn’t know who dumped the files and how. He advised KPRC about the ongoing investigation to find out who was responsible for the incident. As per HIPAA requirements, records are first shredded and disposed of. However, this practice was not followed in this case. Executive director Greg Watson of Today’s Vision described the incident as ‘disturbing.’
Doing their own investigations are MyEyeDr and the Department of Health and Human Services with the police department’s help. Potential HIPAA violation is also being investigated.
About 20 boxes of paperwork were dumped behind the Tomball strip mall. This spot is a couple of miles away from the origin of the Today’s Vision clinic records. The Tomball Police department retrieved the boxes and put them in safe storage.
The records appear to be linked to patients that received vision services from 1997 to 2013 and those employed by Today’s Vision Willowbrook in the same time period.
The types of information the documents contained included patient names, telephone numbers, addresses, some health histories, payment data, insurance details, and Social Security numbers. The employee information included data associated with work like resumes, immigration status, vacation requests, payment files, and some personal facts.