Is the worm turning ?


Walgreens must pay woman $1.44 million over HIPAA violation

For the second time in a week, WAGS in Indianapolis has been in the news …

It is my understanding that Indianapolis in one of WAGS’ pilot market for their “Pharmacist out front program”… Is their innovation in pharmacy practice coming up short?

Generally speaking, an employer will deny any liability when an employee breaks any Fed/state law and/or company’s policy and typically escapes any fiscal liability… since the employee broke the company’s own policies and procedures..

This six member jury determined that WAGS had not properly trained and oversaw this Pharmacist.

Does anyone believe that the Indiana Board of Pharmacy will take any actions against this Pharmacist – UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT ?? … since there is no diversion of controlled drugs involved.. I am not holding my breathe on this one..

If this decision holds up… could it have a dramatic impact on all the chains that employ Pharmacists .. especially the PIC .. or as the Indiana Practice Act labels as “responsible Pharmacist” – if the employer is going to be held responsible for things that go wrong in the Rx dept. Because, everyone knows that the authority of the RPH’s in the Rx dept.. if fairly limited.. except in the eyes of the BOP.

From the article:

“We believe it is a misapplication of the law to hold an employer liable for the actions of one employee who knowingly violates company policy. We intend to appeal the ruling.”

There could be a lot on the line for corporate pharmacies … and maybe all corporations… if WAGS doesn’t prevail on this issue. Let’s hope that common sense prevails and not let corporate America cover their asses with their policy and procedure manuals .. for failure to properly train and oversee their employees !

3 Responses

  1. Very non specific article, thats for sure.

    Unless the pharmacist’s intent was damage (unlikely since the court saw no fault with the RPH, but with training), then I’d say the ex-girlfriend is being a big baby. I can’t see any HIPPA violation being worth $1.44mil in damages. But again, theres so much left to interpretation on this article.

    But.. because of this cut-throat world we live in, it really makes one think twice about trying to help, despite best intentions. “Sure, I could tell you what prescriptions are ready for your husband over the phone. But I don’t want to get sued, so you’re gonna have to have him drive to the pharmacy himself so I can tell him what it is, and for him to decide he doesn’t need it.”

    Plus… I could theoretically sell the Rx to someone if they verify the proper information. Whats the difference between that and simply telling them? What about someone on the phone pretending to be a doctors office and so you disclose information that way. A lot of if’s.

  2. This seems to be a case of “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” The victim of the violation was the ex-girl friend of the pharmacist’s husband. Perhaps it had something to do with a child custody dispute. Nothing was said in the article about that.

  3. So call me clueless, but I thought when HIPPA first came out there was an option to discuss/ counsel the councel/family member on a med if they were picking up for the person prescribed. So now we cant do that anymore? I realize in this case patient wasnt an elderly family member. Ive not been working consistently for past 5 hrs but currently looking for full fime or part. Maybe ive missed it in the CE?Maybe someone could enlighten me on this. Thanks

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