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September 28, 2009 - Man Received Patient Data by Accident

An Indiana businessman says he received hundreds of confidential faxes containing patient data from Tennessee doctors due to an incorrect fax number.

The (Nashville) Tennessean said Monday that SunRise Solar Inc. owner Bill Keith apparently received the confidential patient files because his business's fax number is similar to that of the Tennessee Department of Human Services' Disability Determination Section.

"This is a total breach of privacy," Keith said of the patient data, which includes Social Security numbers and medical histories. "This is supposed to be confidential, and it just so happens we have some scruples here and wouldn't do anything with that information. We've shredded them, but you can have a file an inch thick in no time.''

Keith added he has contacted both state officials and doctors' offices regarding the incorrect delivery of the files, but still receives the confidential information.

DHS spokeswoman Michelle Mowery Johnson, whose agency is attempting to confirm doctors have the correct fax number, offered condolences to those patients impact by the mix-up.

"We certainly feel for the folks who put in a claim," she told the Tennessean. "This is vital information. It is troubling. This also means their claims are delayed."

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