New privacy rules spur business opportunity

When the federal government released new standards for the protection of patient records through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Dr. Lawrence Anaya realized he'd be doing a lot more paper shredding at his family medical practice.

Anaya also realized it could be an opportunity for a new business.
With the passage of HIPAA and now the imminent implementation of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, nearly every business of any size will be facing higher standards for the protection of their clients' personal information.

FACTA requires that virtually any documents containing any personal information be destroyed before they are discarded, so businesses of all sizes will be required to be sure that the personal information of their clients is protected.

Failure to do so could result in hefty fines.

The regulation takes effect in June, so the timing could be right for Pueblo's Mobile Record Shredders.

"I've been hit with a lot of patient privacy and HIPAA requirements," Anaya said. "So I was looking for ways to get documents destroyed and found that nobody was doing it on-site, locally."

So Anaya and his wife, Julie, joined with Joe and Kellie O'Brien to start Mobile Record Shredders.

Mrs. O’Brien serves as president of the company and Mrs. Anaya is the executive vice president. Both women work full-time at the business.

"We both were stay-at-home moms for the past 10 or 11 years, so this gives us something to do," said Mrs. O'Brien.
Both women wanted to start their own small business and both serve as sales representatives for the company.

MRS has a truck that brings the equipment to the client. The shredder cross-shreds documents, essentially ripping the paper into confetti pieces rather than long strips, Mrs. Anaya said.

Cross shredding meets the industry standard recommended by the National Association for Information Destruction, of which MRS is part.

Plus, MRS allows local businesses to get back to doing business and let MRS worry about quality of the document destruction, she added.
"That's so time consuming for people to be shredding in house," Mrs. Anaya said. "And what we've found is that lot of people who question whether to shred something or not usually just throw it away.

"We consider ourselves a very inexpensive insurance policy. Our clients know the information is being destroyed and they don't have to worry about it being lost or stolen."

The FACTA regulations were in large part a response to identity theft, which is one of the fastest-growing, white-collar crimes in the country.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, more than 10 million Americans were victims of some form of identity theft in 2003.

The FTC said the crime can keep victims from getting loans, ruin their job opportunities and even cause them to be arrested for crimes they didn't commit.

It can also take months or years for victims to recover, the FTC said.

Mobile Record Shredders works similar to a traditional waste disposal business.

Clients are given special containers that are locked and have a slot for dropping documents that need to be shredded.

When MRS arrives, the driver takes the container, unlocks it and the container is hoisted into the back of the truck where the shredder finishes the job.

The shredder is stronger than typical office machines and can rip through paper clips and staples.

The machinery can shred about 4,500 pounds of documents in an hour and has the capacity to store up to 9,000 pounds.

The MRS truck also has a camera installed so clients can watch the work.

At no time during the process do the drivers touch the documents, but MRS still requires its employees to go through a thorough background check and drug screening.

Since the Anayas and O'Briens received the truck in November, business has been steadily increasing.

The business has grown to about 120 clients in just a few months and Mrs. O’Brien said MRS has already expanded to Canon City and the southern end of Colorado Springs.

The clients come from different types of businesses, from financial institutions to medical practices and they vary in size as well.

"We have an accounting firm with two or three people and others with a few hundred people," she said.

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