On April 22, 2015, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) entered into its first HIPAA violation settlement in 2015. The settlement requires Cornell Prescription Pharmacy, a small pharmacy located in the Denver area to pay the OCR $125,000 and adopt a corrective action plan to implement policies and procedures and train employees on HIPAA.
The allegations against the pharmacy stemmed from a report by a Denver news outlet that documents containing health information of 1,610 patients were disposed of in an unlocked open container on the pharmacy’s premises.
The OCR stated “[R]egardless of size, organizations cannot abandon protected health information or dispose of it in dumpsters or other containers that are accessible by the public or other unauthorized persons.”
This is not the first settlement the OCR has obtained for the improper disposal of paper records. It is another reminder to health care organizations to check their policies and procedures and training regarding the proper disposal of paper records, including shredding.