VA Long Beach Hospital may have improperly disposed patients' personal information

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Documents containing the personal information of veterans seeking treatment at the Veterans Affairs Long Beach Hospital may have been improperly disposed, Veterans Affairs officials said.

Army veteran and hospital patient Paulnhu Nguyen said he found a large stack of patient records containing personal information, such as social security numbers, date of births and full names, in a dumpster by the hospital after his appointment on Thursday.

"When I threw the trash from my pocket in the dumpster, I took a look and observed files. It just didn't look right," Nguyen said.

The 33-year-old said he flagged down a Veterans Affairs employee, who called the Veteran Affairs police to get the files and take a report.

He hopes the issue is fully investigated and more oversight will be put in place.

"I want whoever is the perpetrator... (to be) held accountable, not just slapped on the hand. I want them to actually sit there and say, 'Okay, this is serious stuff and this shouldn't be happening period,'" Nguyen said.

Veterans Affairs officials said they were conducting an investigation to determine "the contents of the documents, the circumstances surrounding the disposal, and what mitigation efforts can be enacted to protect our Veterans' personal information. Any breach of patient information is unacceptable and we will move aggressively to correct this issue," according to a statement.
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