Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller reached a $12,000 settlement with Joseph Beck over allegations that the former Kokomo dentist violated Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) laws by improperly disposing of patient records.
After the Indiana Board of Dentistry permanently revoked Beck's license to practice, more than 60 boxes from his Comfort Dental clinic were found in an Indianapolis trash dumpster in 2013. The boxes contained files that allegedly held private information on more than 5,600 patients dating from 2002 to 2007, which violated state privacy laws as well as HIPPA regulations. The information ranged from full names and phone numbers to addresses and social security numbers. No cases of identification theft were reported.
Beck allegedly had hired Just the Connection, Inc., a third-party company to retrieve and dispose of the records.
“In an era when online data breaches are top of mind, we may forget that hard-copy paper files, especially in a medical context, can contain highly sensitive information that is ripe for identity theft or other crimes,” Zoeller said. “This file dump was an egregious violation of patient privacy and safety.”
Beck's license to practice in Indiana was revoked over allegations of neligence and fradulent billing practices.