(FranchisePick.Com) Background: December, 2007, Pure Weight Loss (formerly LA Weight Loss) announced it was closing all its 400 centers nationwide by Jan. 4., 2008. With no notice and little explanation, Pure Weight Loss left thousands of customers without a weight loss program, without the half-million dollars they’d collectively prepaid for Pure Weight Loss services and products, and with NO information regarding the whereabouts of their confidential financial and health records, which include both credit card data, personal disclosures and blood test results.
In Part One, we asked: Is Pure Weight Loss violating the HIPAA* Federal privacy law?
FranchisePick.com commenters have shared some disturbing information about the alleged mishandling of and indifference to Pure Weight Loss members’ confidential records:
Ramone [former manager]: At my center they were just left behind .(I worked for LA Franchise, but was shut down the same time as Pure) Only current or 2007 files were boxed and sent in . I as a former manager was very concerned about this but all my regional wanted boxed and sent was current. I left 2 file cabinets full of client charts with very private info in them behind to probably be tossed into the trash by either the building manager or the next tennant. No one at the home office of the franchise I worked for seemed to care. As the manager I was very upset by this, but where could I store them , so they all sit there as I am sure is the case at most of the Pure Centers.
Curious [customer]: Were you prohibitted from shredding them or mailing them to your clients?
Ramone [former manager]: It was as if they didn’t even exist. I was given no agenda for them. When I ask what would happen to all of them, I was told someone eventualy would come and pack up everything.I think we all know this is just not going to happen.
Barb [customer]: What DOES happen to our confidential info? They have our names, ss#, address, and the Care Credit account #. This is not good.
Lynn [former manager]: Our center, here in the Chicago Market, happened to get them all boxed and dumped off at the UPS station. We boxed ALL of ours up. Let me assure you, too, it was done at our own goodwill.
There was no organization. I had no idea what was going on until the last day. We were supposed to have been sent boxes and such.. but I only received labels. I went and purchased boxes. There was a small group made up of former employee, myself and our children bundled them all and shipped them to Corporate.
Our biggest concern was that they would be left in our center for the “clean up” crews to go through. The clean up crews sent in my the leasing company.. not Pure.
rose [customer]: ...I am worried about the records – that is very bad. Those guys need to be accountable for the HIPAA laws.
Kim Matunis [customer]: How can we go about finding out where our medical records are…..I am very afraid!!
LISA [customer]: …I need my records. I am starting the process for Gastric Bypass and I need to prove I was on a program for at least 6 months. My center just abruptly closed also. It is located in a strip mall. I was thinking of finding out from one of the other businesses who would have the key to get in there and call to see if I could go in and get my folder (records)…. I am desperate to get them!!
rose [customer]: …I am going to call the strip mall landlord to see if my records and those of my friends who I referred are still there. If that does not work, I am calling the Attorney General to enforce HIPAA regulations – they took blood so it is PHI – Protected Health Information.) I own CareCall an emergency notification service I started in 1998 and I know all about HIPAA compliance…
Is Pure Weight Loss following proper procedures in handling the confidential files of thousands of members of their 400 weight loss centers? What about credit card information? Is identity theft a concern?
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? COMMENTS WELCOME.
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