Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… all good things, except when they are patient medical files. This has to be one of the more “interesting” HIPAA breaches I’ve seen in the last few years. A clinic in Raleigh handed over old X-ray films to a 3rd party vendor in order to get the film converted into a digital format. Except the vendor was running a scam, never converting the film. This unnamed vendor sold the X-ray films to a recycling company in Ohio who then stripped out the silver from the old X-rays.
“In January 2013, Raleigh Orthopaedic Clinic (“Raleigh Ortho”) contracted with a third party vendor to transfer old x-ray films into electronic format. Raleigh Ortho provided the vendor with the x-ray films, but the vendor never provided Raleigh Ortho with an electronic version of the films. Raleigh Ortho performed an investigation and, during the first week of March 2013, discovered that it had been the victim of a scam. It appears that the x-ray films were sold to a recycling company in Ohio that harvested the silver from the films. Raleigh Ortho believes the films were ultimately destroyed.”
This may be a case that a BA agreement wasn’t enough, a proper due diligence was needed… you know, to make sure you aren’t being scammed. Random fact: a 6 foot tall stack of X-ray film weighs about 480-720 lbs. That’s 7680 – 11520 ounces – and at $25.50 an ounce – a six foot tall stack of X-rays can fetch between $195,840 to $293,760.
You can read the whole article here: X-ray film scam exposes 17k patients to possible data breach