GBI alerted after lab records found at ex-worker's home

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was called in today to look into possibly hundreds of lab records of patients and employees of East Central Regional Hospital after they were found in the home of a former lab technician, a spokesman for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities said.

There are no criminal charges pending against the former technician, who worked for the hospital from January 2006 to July, spokesman Tom Wilson said. The department is withholding her name out of deference to the GBI investigation, he said.

“We have no reason to believe she was doing it for any fraudulent purpose,” Mr. Wilson said, chalking it up to “poor work habits.” Nonetheless, the department suggested that anyone who had lab work done at the hospital at either the Augusta or Gracewood campuses might want to check their credit report, he said.

The records were discovered Friday after the woman had moved out of a house in Augusta and left the records behind, Mr. Wilson said. The landlord apparently discovered the records and called the department. There is no accurate count at this point but it could be “easily hundreds,” Mr. Wilson said. There is no evidence at this point that anyone but the technician and the landlord had seen them at this point, he said. Patient records do not contain Social Security numbers but might have information like addresses or other personal information, Mr. Wilson said. Employee records might or might not contain Social Security numbers, he said.

The department will wait until the GBI investigation is over and then will begin notifying patients and employees by letter or internally if their records were involved, Mr. Wilson said.

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