Medical records left behind at Monsour a growing concern
The former chief of the Monsour Medical Center was on his hands and knees Wednesday, sifting through trash at the hospital's decaying annex looking for financial records.
Although ex-CEO Michael Monsour removed the financial files, he did nothing to allay concerns about abandoned patient and physician records found last month at the Route 30 site.
Jeannette city attorney Scott Avolio said that after Monsour contacted him recently, he was under the impression that he would remove all records — financial, patient and physican — from the annex.
Monsour said he was not responsible for patient or physician records in the annex, so he would not touch them.
He said he was there in his capacity as president of Key Care Home Health, which leased the annex from the medical center in its final days. Monsour said he only removed Key Care business records from the site.
Avolio said the city will obtain a search warrant next week to enter all buildings on the medical center property and seize all records found.
At the same time, city officials will try to determine if the buildings pose an immediate danger to the public.
“We'll also be looking for mechanical records that we can analyze for demolition estimates,” said Avolio. City officials have said they don't have the $250,000 to $1 million needed to raze the structure.
Last month, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services started an ongoing probe into whether federal privacy laws have been broken because the records are within easy reach of vandals and vagrants at the rundown complex.
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials expressed interest in still-active physician identification codes on the records that permit holders to write prescriptions for controlled substances.
Monsour said the annex had been secured after the hospital closed and he was unaware that vandals had broken windows and doors permitting easy access to the building and the records inside.
“We're not sure when it was broken into,” he said. “We saw the article in the newspaper. Nobody had contacted us whatsoever and there was no outside damage that appeared to us.”
He said that as business at the hospital wound down six years ago “the building had been secured” in compliance with federal law.
“As soon as we found out it had been broken into, (I) came in. So, at this point, it doesn't look like any harm was done,” he said.
Monsour said the stone annex, the original six-bed clinic when the hospital was founded in the 1950s, was used to store medical records as officials waited for the state-mandated five years to elapse before they could destroy them.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6220 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.