Former Suncoast Hospital patients worried about abandoned medical records

Pinellas County

Patients of the former Suncoast Hospital are worried bad guys may have their private information.

A security guard is watching the decaying, old medical center. But it might be too late to keep personal medical records from being stolen.

“My wife had three of the kids out there. And she also had cataract surgery at Suncoast,” said Bill Nightingale.

Nightingale is worried medical files left inside the defunct facility may contain his information.

“I saw the report last night it says, ‘they got medical records and needles and used needles and chemicals up in there,’ I’m going, ‘the records?’” he said.

8 On Your Side discovered the former Suncoast Hospital, now owned by Largo Medical Center, is falling apart.          

In room after room, we found old medicine vials, needles, collapsed ceilings and old medical records.

“Your records are supposed to be secure. It’s sitting in a house that’s open to homeless people and kids in the neighborhood. That violates HIPPA, which is federal mandate and that ain’t good,” said Nightingale.

Neighbors say kids often come to the old building and hang out and there are homeless people camped out inside.

“When I came through here and found the horrors, I just knew something, we had to do something about this. This shouldn’t be in our community here,” said parent Jamie Mulligan.

A hospital spokeswoman issued a statement saying they believed the building was secure, there is a proposal for demolition and steps have been taken to secure the property and appropriately handle the building’s contents.

When asked if that makes Nightingale feel better, he said, “No, ’cause how are they gonna prove who hasn’t been all through [those] documents?”

The corporation that owned the closed facility has been inactive since 2012, but it is still responsible for the records.

Any HIPPA violations are handled by the federal Office of Civil Rights.

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Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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