Attorney General Cox, MDCH File Suit In Ingham County Circuit Court Against Businesses Responsible For Dumped Records

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

October 3, 2007

LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox - on behalf of the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) - has filed a seven count complaint in Ingham County's 30th District Court today seeking fines and injunctive relief from three Detroit-based health-related businesses and their ownership for their alleged role in an August 29 Salem Township incident where health records were burned in blatant violation of state law.

In addition, MDCH exercised its administrative powers as a state agency and levied fines against Dr. Soon K. Kim and Quality Health Plan Inc. totaling $1 million for the improper disposal of health records from the Greater Detroit Hospital in Detroit. Marbella Management, Signature Healthcare Services, LLC, and Dong Won (David) Kim are also named as defendants in the case.

"People have a right to know that their medical records are kept safe and secure," Cox said. "Beyond disposing of these records improperly, these individuals' actions place patient's personal and private medical information at risk. Those responsible should be punished to the fullest extent of the law."

Cox also filed a motion requesting a preliminary injunction against the defendants - preventing the future burning of medical records, x-ray films, microfiche, and other medical records that were brought to Salem Township for disposal, until the state could contract with a company properly equipped to dispose of medical records, as per state law.

MDCH alleges that the burning of health care records from the Greater Detroit Hospital may have occurred on the property owned by Kim as early as October or November 2006, said Janet Olszewski, MDCH Director.

"This incident of records burning is in clear violation of state law protecting patient privacy and it will absolutely not go unpunished," Olszewski said. "We take our role as a state agency of protecting the privacy of Michigan citizens very seriously, particularly as it relates to patient health care records. This case of improper records disposal is the most egregious case we have ever witnessed in this state - and those responsible need to be made to answer for their irresponsible actions."

The state also asked the Court to issue an order that would require the defendants to identify within 14 days all locations where records associated with Greater Detroit Hospital are located, and requires the defendants to pay for appropriate records disposal. The complaint also alleges that the improper disposal of records on the property created environmental contamination, in violation of the state's Solid Waste Management Act, further placing citizen health at risk.