Anyone who has broken a bone knows how the process of getting an x-ray works. But have you ever wondered what happens to your x-rays once the medical facility or clinic you went to has no need for them?
The digital age has changed many things, but film x-rays still exist and still need to be discarded on a daily basis.
So the question remains: Where do they go?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 enacted many walls to keep people’s medical information private. That’s why nowadays you need to provide verbal or written (or sometimes both!) consent before anyone other than you can access your medical records.
In Washington State, medical facilities are required to keeping your records for a minimum of 6 years in compliance with HIPAA guidelines. This can vary from state-to-state. Because of HIPAA guidelines, the destruction of old, useless x-rays is more complicated than simply throwing them in the garbage or recycling bin. Since x-rays are considered personal health information (PHI) they need to be treated as completely confidential when being disposed of.
Medicare and Medicaid providers are required to comply with HIPAA regulations. Doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, dentists, and other medical professionals and offices where x-rays are taken are required to comply as well.
Proper x-ray destruction is about more than just HIPAA compliance. Another reason why x-rays need to be disposed of properly is silver. Silver is a heavy metal that can contaminate natural areas and can have harmful consequences for those environments. It is illegal to dispose of x-rays in a landfill.The Washington State Department of Health has statutes in place to ensure the safe disposal of x-rays and other medical imagery. X-ray shredding and disposal should only be done by HIPAA complaint shredding or recycling companies.
X-ray Shredding with Lemay
At Lemay mobile shredding we are 100% compliant with HIPAA guidelines for x-ray destruction. That means that we are able to safely and completely destroy confidential medical x-rays and other files contains PHI. X-Ray Shredding with Lemay keeps your information classified.