BHS Director: 'This Will Never Happen Again'
Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County director says measures have been taken so that confidential patient information does not leave the facility.
One day after an Easley man discovered he had purchased a used hard drive containing confidential patient information, the director of the clinic where the disk came from said he has taken measures to ensure it never happens again.
When John Schafer first realized that the computer hard drive that he came across had private personal information stored on it, he knew it was a terrible mistake. Schafer, a self-made government watchdog and blog contributor for Easley Patch and govabuse.org, he knew he had to do something about it.
"I found it very ironic that this particular hard drive made it into my hands," Schafer said. "I'm extremely happy that it was me and not someone else that had ulterior motives, there's information on there that could have really damaged someone."
When Patch first contacted with Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County Director Bob Hiott said he was skeptical that the drive existed.
"That doesn't sound possible," Hiott said on Wednesday.
Once Hiott verified several employee names included in the files on the drive, he acknowledged that it was a BHSPC drive and that it was an "egregious error."
After Easley Patch posted the story Hiott was immediately faced with a media frenzy, but paid a visit to John Schafer's home as soon as he had an opportunity.
"When he got here we took the drive and a hammer out to my sidewalk and we made sure that nothing would ever be read off that drive again," Schafer said.
Hiott said he has since been in contact with Gov. Nikki Haley's office and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services Director Bob Toomey since Patch first published the story on Wednesday.
Neither Gov. Haley's office nor Toomey have responded to inquiries from Patch.
Hiott said he immediately launched an investigation into how the drive ended up in Schafer's hands.
"I did discover how that particular hard drive got out there," Hiott said. "It was an aberration and it was the only one."
Hiott said he met with the BHSPC board of directors Wednesday and they have reviewed and created new policies regarding the disposal of computer components.
"One of our policies will now include the complete destruction of all hard drives when they leave this facility," Hiott said.
As for the information that has already made it's way out of their hands, Hiott said they have begun contacting patients involved, and will take it one step further and inform all clients of the breach.