CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 is trying to find out who is responsible for dumping medical records full of sensitive information in an alley.
CBS 2’s Tara Molina tracked down a member of the board of directors for the Community Mental Health Council, a group of clinics that closed eight years ago. Molina was trying to find out who was responsible for the records, and how they could just be turning up – exposing hundreds of past patients.READ MORE: Two Teens Charged In Clearing Carjacking
Is a patient “suicidal, homicidal, psychotic, or gravely disabled?” That is a question that appears on mental health evaluations from the Community Mental Health Council – which are just some of the records that were dumped in an alley off Hermitage Avenue in West Englewood this week.
The alley has since been cleaned up by the city. But the big question remains – who dumped the records?
Molina asked a longtime former member of the clinic’s board of directors – the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church.
“Somebody emptied the building out,” Pfleger said. “Let’s follow them back to how they got to the alley. I don’t know at this point how it could have happened.”
Pfleger noted that the Community Mental Health Council was founded by the nationally-recognized psychiatrist, lifelong Chicagoan Dr. Carl Bell. Pfleger said Bell would never have let such mishandling and dumping of records happen.
“Carl Bell would never ever, ever allow something like that to happen,” Pfleger said.
Dr. Bell died this past summer.
“It tarnishes what Dr. Bell stood for,” Pfleger said.
Dr. Bell’s heart and soul was the South Side community his patients’ records ended up ditched in.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup Continues
He served the underserved community he served for 37 years – through the Community Mental Health Council, while working as a staff psychiatrist at Jackson Park Hospital, and as a clinical professor at University of Illinois at Chicago – among other roles.
The Community Mental Health Council clinics were closed in 2012, when they lost state funding.
“When they closed that center? He sat outside on a chair for people who didn’t know it closed down – to still try to help them,” Pfleger said.
What we don’t know is where the records went when the clinic was forced to close and why they weren’t properly destroyed.
Pfleger doesn’t know either and is also demanding answers.
“Who did it? Where did they get them from? Where did they come from? Who emptied out that building after the state shut it down?” Pfleger said. “Somebody needs to give an answer.”
The City of Chicago released the following statement in regard to the dumping:
“Although the city of Chicago does not contract with this organization and hasn’t for years, we take the privacy and security of health information very seriously. If a member of the public believes that protected health information has been breached, they can report the matter to the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, which has the regulatory authority to investigate such matters.”
CBS 2 also reached out to Dr. Bell’s family for a statement, but they did not want to get involved.
Late Wednesday, Molina had several requests pending with the state and regulatory agencies to try to answer that question.MORE NEWS: At Least 10 Shot, 1 Killed In Weekend Violence In Chicago
We are also waiting to hear back from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about how privacy laws under HIPAA may come into play here.