State cleans up patient records discovered at Lakeshore

6:54 PM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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The state has cleaned up the personal information left sitting in the open at Lakeshore Park, but two documents with identifiable information were left behind.

Wednesday morning, local state employees gathered documents at the Waterside building after officials found out a retired employee discovered the documents.

"Patient confidentiality and privacy are very important to us. Anybody in the medical field understands that," said Michael Rabkin with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health. "This is a situation that we want to get to the bottom of to find out exactly what happened and how it happened."

The former employee who stumbled upon the open building checked to see if the documents were still there Wednesday. That's when she found two items left behind: what appeared to be a patient chart,  and a handwritten list of employee names and social security numbers on a loose-leaf sheet of paper.

"I actually know these people," said Hilda Lindeman. "I've worked with this one lady for 14 years. This other lady, I've known her for over 35 years. She would be devastated to know that her social security is out here laying on the floor."

Rabkin said the state will have contractors come out to the site to look for additional documents that may have been left behind. Rabkin said employees will also put up "No Trespassing" signs to try and ward off people from creeping onto the rundown site.

"The facilities are in a kind of shape that it's not safe for you to be walking in there," said Rabkin.

The Chief Deputy Mayor, Eddie Mannis, agreed.

"It is becoming a hazard. And our goal is to take that building down as soon as we possibly can get to it," said Mannis.

Mayor Rogero has proposed $5.2 million in funding to tear down all but three of the buildings. Since it is still a state-run park, the city must wait until it takes control of the buildings to take any action.

"The beauty there is just amazing. And I think the community would just like to see it become a complete park," said Mannis.

The city council is scheduled to have a budget hearing on May 21st.

Lindeman said she is happy action was taken quickly, even though documents with personal information were left behind.

"I'm glad they came and cleaned it up, but folks I'm just doing my job," said Lindeman. "This is wrong, this is what HIPPA was all about."

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