Attorney General Gansler Announces Settlement with Laurel Doctor
Amos Medical Services failed to protect consumers' personal health information
Baltimore, MD ( Aug. 27, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced that his Consumer Protection Division has entered into a settlement with a Laurel physician, Marie A. Dobyns, M.D., P.A., doing business as Amos Medical Services, to resolve allegations of improperly disposing of medical records that contained patients' personal information.
"Businesses have a responsibility to protect consumers' privacy so that their information does not fall into the wrong hands and used to cause harm," said Attorney General Gansler. "When a physician's office disposes of its patient records that contain personal consumer information, including sensitive health information, it needs to shred them or take other steps to ensure that a consumer's privacy is not compromised."
The Division alleged that in May 2013, when Amos Medical Services moved its office location within Laurel, instead of properly disposing of its outdated medical records that contained private and sensitive consumer information, the business threw them in a dumpster. Approximately 400 patient records were discovered in the dumpster.
Under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, it is an unfair and deceptive trade practice for a business to throw away records containing its customers' personal information without taking reasonable steps to protect against unauthorized access to or use of the personal information.
Based on its investigation, the Division believes no consumers' personal information was compromised. Once the records were discovered, they were retrieved from the dumpster and a shredding company was hired to properly destroy them.
The settlement requires the company and Dr. Dobyns to pay a $20,000 penalty and take steps in the future to protect against the unauthorized access to personal or sensitive consumer information when disposing of records, such as hiring a shredding company.
Consumers with privacy concerns, including those who may have been a victim of identity theft, should contact the Attorney General's Identity Theft Unit by calling 410-576-6491.