Records left unattended in Waimea

Imagine Bridgette Orsatelli’s surprise when she found out someone had dropped off her medical records with her sister.

Apparently, the records had been taken from the old Waimea Dispensary building on Ola Road near Waimea High School.

Someone recognized her name, and dropped off the records with her sister, she said.

About 5,000 medical records, including Social Security numbers, are being left unattended in the old Waimea Dispensary building across from the high school.

In fact, some high schoolers may be doing more reading in the dispensary than in class.

“The records are safe so long as they (students and others) don’t bust into the building,” said Owen Moe, who is the past president of the West Kauai Community Development Corporation, whose leaders owned the building when it was home to the Garden Island Medical Group, the Wilcox Health Group and the West Kauai Medical Center.

The building is now owned by officials with a nonprofit group who are evaluating plans for the site.

Orsatelli was quite surprised to find out Monday that her medical records had been picked up and dropped off with her sister.

It seems that Waimea High School students are entering the old Waimea Dispensary building which is across the street from the school, and are leafing through the records.

Reportedly, the back door to the building was seen wide open recently.

There are signs around the property warning against trespassing.

Orsatelli’s records are almost 20 years old. She had no idea anyone could have such easy access to not only her early medical history and others, but to Social Security numbers as well.

“I was kind of surprised. If anyone has old records there, let them know,” she said.

Moe said that, technically, his organization “owned” the records. “We’re not sure exactly who owns the records. We’re trying to take care of them, but don’t have the resources,” he said.

“They have to be held for 25 years,” he said. “We don’t have $6,000 for a storage system.”

Moe estimated there are about 500 boxes containing at least 10 records per box.

“We are trying to take care of the records, but we don’t own the building. It’s something of a Catch-22.”

If this sounds familiar, it should. Last week, Wilcox Memorial Hospital officials announced personal records, including Social Security numbers, on 130,000 patients, stored on a thumb drive, had been lost.

This back-up data contained no medial histories, but did contain names and Social Security numbers, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Moe said members of his group had considered options to distribute the records to the patients, but he said that would require time and volunteers, and he wasn’t sure if it was possible.

He said that, because there are only about five record requests per year, it was his opinion most of the records were obsolete.

Moe said there were legal concerns about destroying the records.

Westside residents report local teens have used the building as something of a clubhouse.

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