INDEPENDENCE – A company that had operated a nursing home in Caney violated Kansas law by failing to secure or properly dispose of patient records containing personal information, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a lawsuit filed last week.

The attorney general filed suit against a Kansas company that had operated a nursing home in Caney. That nursing home is now closed. The filing in Montgomery County District Court alleges that Caney Guest Home, Inc., d/b/a Caney Nursing Center, and James R. Laidler, owner of the facility, were aware that patient and employee records were contained unsecured in the building that used to operate as Caney Nursing Center. The building has been unoccupied since February and has been burglarized, sometimes unsecured, and trespassed upon during that time. Despite this knowledge, the defendants failed to secure or properly dispose of the records containing personal information, the lawsuit alleges.

District Court Judge Jeffrey Gossard last week issued a temporary order requiring the company to follow the requirements of the Kansas law governing the handling of records that contain personal information.

The lawsuit states that as holders of personal information, defendants are subject to the requirements of the Wayne Owen Act, which is part of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The lawsuit alleges the defendants failed to comply with those requirements by failing to implement and maintain reasonable procedures and practices to protect personal information, and by failing to take reasonable steps to destroy or arrange for the secure destruction of records containing personal information when the records no longer are to be used.

“Personal information” includes information such as a social security number, driver’s license number, financial account number or credit or debit card number that can be misused to commit identity theft or otherwise harm the person whose information is compromised. It also includes any information, such as medical records, for which a security obligation is imposed by federal or state statute. Under Kansas law, businesses that collect the personal information of others have a duty to safeguard it.

The court further ordered the attorney general to enter onto the premises of the nursing home and to make secure all records containing personal information until the owner assumes responsibility to secure the records to prevent further risk of disclosure. The attorney general’s office did so on Dec. 11.

A copy of the petition, motion and order are available at http://bit.ly/2nRJVBN.