Want to Know the Status of Your Prescription at CVS in Snider Plaza? I Can Tell You.

So I went to the same pharmacy last night to pick up a prescription. The employee couldn’t find the order at first and went through the bin marked by first letter of last name. On his second time through, he read the names-out loud-of each patient with medication waiting in the bin. But that, and the fact that confidential information is still inches from every customer approaching the counter, seems only a very minor privacy violation compared to what happened next.

I asked a question and, as part of the answer, the pharmacist printed something for me and told me to send it to my doctor’s office to show what the pharmacy records indicate. When I got home I noticed he had given me a list of 9 orders currently in queue, including names of patients, the medication prescribed and how much the individual would pay. Seriously. I redacted the patient names, but if you want to see how the HIPAA thing is going down at the CVS in Snider Plaza, click here.

UPDATE: From Mike DeAngelis, public relations director for CVS.

Hi Merritt, we will look into this immediately.  The behavior you describe is not in keeping with our policies and procedures designed to ensure compliance to HIPAA regulations.  Is this store in Dallas or a nearby town? Can you provide me the street name (or the store number if you have your receipt) so that we can identify the store and address this matter asap, thanks.

I gave him the information he asked for. Now, I still have a prescription to pick up. Anyone want to do that for me?

43 thoughts on “Want to Know the Status of Your Prescription at CVS in Snider Plaza? I Can Tell You.

  • March 24, 2011 at 11:37 am
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    It’s HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Pretty sure it applies to pharmacies.

    Perhaps “Accountability” should have been “Privacy,” and then it would be HIPPA.

    At that pharmacy it may be HIPPA, for “Here Is[sic] People’s Private Accounts. Have at them.”

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  • March 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm
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    Merritt, do you think that the phamacist perhaps did not realize what was on the printout (as you didn’t until you got home)? I’m no expert, but if he actually knew what he was giving you, I would think that would be the most serious kind of violation. But pretty outrageous; either way.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm
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    Um, OK – now I’ve actually looked at that redacted printout you posted, so I’ll answer my own question: No.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm
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    I would go out of my way NOT to go to this pharmacy. It shows carelessness on so many levels. First, I am pretty sure the whole pharmacy staff is familiar with HIPPA laws and just doesn’t care to follow them. Second, do you really want these people filling your prescription when they don’t even take the time to organize their information? Carelessness does not have a place in any realm of healthcare.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm
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    I got gonorrhea from riding a tractor in my bathing suit. There, I said it.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm
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    It’s amazing that this happened AFTER Merritt’s original post. Doesn’t anyone even remotely affiliated with CVS know anyone who reads the Park Cities People Blog? Hellooooooooo . . . .

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  • March 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm
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    matt…sorry about that. I got the wrong medicine from Merritt’s CVS.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm
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    I certainly won’t be back for refills. Makes me wonder if my name is in their trash can out back for everyone to go through and publish too.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm
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    EMPLOYEES! you get what you pay for. i am certain they dont pay enough to get employees that care. i know for a fact they operate on the walmart model of having only one full time employee per store so they dont have to pay benefits. If i were only making $7.50 per hr and working 25 hrs per week i dont think i would care who knew about matt’s gonoherpasyphillaids.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm
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    @Angela,

    Do you really think paying them double would make them care more? Enough making excuses already. If you accept a job and take the money, then do what you’re supposed to do. Or be held accountable. Period.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm
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    Wow, this is SO unprofessional!!! Multiple circumstances of patient confidentiality breached…I would hate to see anyone lose their job, but can’t this be brought to the attention of someone in charge?

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  • March 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm
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    @XT, yes job performance is affected by how much you make. For example, if you are hiring in the under $10 hr and part time range you are not going to get someone with any type of skills, definately no college and probably not even a HS diploma.

    Further, employees also know all liability falls on the employer. at worst the employee gets fired and moves on to Tom Thumb while the company gets a lawsuit, name in paper and big legal bills.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 2:52 pm
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    Sounds like a printing error to me. It’s not good, but it’s quite a leap to conclude that the place is sharing info willy-nilly or unreliable when it comes to prescriptions. People make mistakes in every business, healthcare included. If you avoided every healthcare place where people made simple mistakes, you’d get no healthcare at all.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 4:14 pm
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    Yes, people make mistakes all the time. People also make up excuses all the time like “it was a printing error”. IMO this in no way looks like a printing error. Between this ridiculousness and the info in Merritt’s last post (as well as first hand experiences of other posters) this does not seem to be an off hand casual mistake. There are regulations in place for a reason and repurcussions for not following the law. Just becuase angela says they make $7.50 an hour and only has one full time employee on hand does not make it true. Does not make it untrue either, but unless angela is the manager or an employee or a recent former manger/employee and knows this from experience; that is just her opinion (which are always welcome and enjoyed). Even if angela is correct in that instance, XT is also correct that they accepted the job/pay/duties and if they are not able to follow the government regulations they should be fired. That said, CVS is also at fault for not monitoring the actions of their employees and that is why the company gets the fines associated with whatever violations are broken.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm
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    I have to say that at two CVS (one of which being the Snider Plaza location). I have noticed extremely unprofessional behavior which really stood out to me. This only underscores that fact. Today I had three prescriptions to fill and took my business elsewhere. Won’t be going back to that CVS for prescriptions ever again.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm
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    @whiterockfan–have you read the previous posts? I would say an employee doing this kind of thing on multiple occasions is a case of lack of training. HIPAA is a big deal and you can bet there would be plenty of attorneys ready to take on the case. And they make more than $7.50/hour if anyone is keeping score.

    Even so, check out the penalties for violating HIPAA. The first one is interesting, for employees that don’t even know that they are in violation:

    http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/physician-resources/solutions-managing-your-practice/coding-billing-insurance/hipaahealth-insurance-portability-accountability-act/hipaa-violations-enforcement.page

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  • March 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm
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    I bet they at least know how to spell “STATUS”!

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  • March 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm
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    For anyone who cares, here is the “Contact Us” page on CVS.com:

    https://www.cvs.com/CVSApp/help/help_contact_us.jsp

    The only options are to call or write a letter. They don’t give out an email contact or even provide one of those online comment forms. So, really? I am supposed to print off these pages and mail them to the general CVS corporate address in Woonsocket, Rhode Island? Or call their 800 number (between the hours of 8:00 AM and 11:00 PM Eastern time Monday through Friday) and then what? Read these blog posts over the phone to some call center employee? Wow, it’s almost as if they want to make it hard for you to complain. This Mike DeAngelis PR person must be a busy man.

    “At CVS/pharmacy customer service is a priority. Feel free to send us your comments or questions by mail.”

    What d-bags.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm
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    You know what? I make less than $1000 a month to teach college classes and and I manage never to violate FERPA, the education version of HIPAA. Money has nothing to do with it.

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  • March 24, 2011 at 10:35 pm
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    I have been a patient at this particular pharmacy for many years and know the employees personally. They have 3 full time certified pharmacy technicians, which the standard of pay is well more than $10 per hour and the only male employee is a pharmacist and has been one for over 50 years. The individuals that run this pharmacy are the most professional, caring, and gracious of any I have ever been to… have you been down the street to Walgreens at Hillcrest lately or Sams on Park? They are rude and heartless. I know that what happened to Merritt was completely unintentional, certainly not meant to hurt anyone, and done only as a friendly gesture to help her understand what information was sent to her Dr in order to possibly help expedite the process. I’ve had this happen before and when I received the paper I was able to call the Dr’s nurse that I have a good relationship with and get her on top of calling the insurance company quickly. These are good people so don’t pass judgement if you haven’t had the interactions so many of us in University Park have experienced!

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  • March 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm
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    Anyone who has a complaint about a pharmacy or a pharmacist should file a complaint with the Texas State Board of Pharmacy (the state agency responsible for the licensure and discipline of Texas pharmacists and pharmacies). I’m sure the board takes this sort of thing seriously, and perhaps CVS will actually do something if a complaint is filed. The board even has an online complaint form:

    http://www.tsbp.state.tx.us/consumer/complaintForm.asp

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  • March 25, 2011 at 5:49 am
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    @CVS Patient, What if we’ve had interactions like Merritt’s and other interactions not like you say so many of you in University Park have experienced? Can we pass judgement then?

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  • March 25, 2011 at 8:03 am
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    I have been getting my prescriptions filled at the Snyder Plaza CVS for quite sometime now and have excellent service and never encountered any problems. However, I do realize that when I have my prescriptions filled that I am dealing with imperfect human beings capable of making mistakes. Are you saying you have never made a mistake at your place of employment or your personal life? What has happened in our society that we are so quick to crucify our neighbors for their imperfections? Why not also mention in this blog the times you’ve had no issues with your prescriptions or service there? A well rounded, fair and balanced account of your experience there seems much more fair, loving and Christian to me. You get what you give out of life so perhaps the next blog experience you have could be someone highlighting your mishap or err in judgment. I hope not. My hope is that when this happens (which my imperfect human friend most definitely will) the person you have wronged will not choose to humiliate you or possibly jeopardize your livelihood and family but will instead handle the situation with the love and respect you deserve by coming to you directly and allowing you the courtesy to correct and apologize for the situation.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 9:35 am
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    Sounds like he was going out of his way to help you and he made an honest mistake. If he’s really been a pharmacist for 50 years, I don’t think he would have made it this far if this was his common practice. Anyhow, way to go, Merritt. Sounds like you probably got someone fired who is still working at his age because he needs to. It must be nice to be perfect. Hope you sleep well at night and I wish your next pharmacist the best of luck… he or she is gonna need it.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 10:27 am
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    I work in a field that has government regulations as well. Have I made mistakes in my job, sure. If I were to ever make a mistake that put me on the wrong side of the government regulations, I expect I would be fined and fired on the spot. I have exactly zero problems with that because I know what I was hired to do. These CVS issues are not mistakes where they rung up the wrong sale price on Advil or forgot to put the medicine in your bag at the counter. These are very well defined and known privacy issues that anyone in the pharmacy area knows very well, not to mention that anyone with common sense should know not to yell out medicine types along with the person name. Enough with the excuses.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 10:37 am
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    Loyal CVS Customer,
    I would agree with you if it happened once. Anything can happen once and we should all be big enough to dismiss it. Happens a second time, maybe we should pay attention. 3rd time? Now we have a pattern.
    I don’t think anyone is getting crucified.
    I just called the pharmacy to tell them about this situation and a woman with an accent said they try to do the best they can. I asked her if they could be a little more careful with the privacy issue and she said they do the best they can. I asked her if that meant they would change anything and she said they do the best they can. I don’t even shop there, but just wanted to give her a heads up as I would want someone to do the same for me and my business. She thanked me and said they do the best they can.
    I’m guessing English may be a 2nd language. Glad I use Preston Road Pharmacy.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 10:59 am
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    @avid reader – I too work in a field where rules and regulations must be followed at the risk of fines to my company or myself. So I do understand the importance of following the procedures and understand what you are saying. But what I do not understand is the public way this is being handled. If someone had been given the wrong prescription or purposefully treated in a negligent way that would endanger their health then MAYBE we could react in this manner. There are no excuses being made. And corrective action is being taken according to CVS as stated above by Merritt. So let’s just move on and learn from this mistake. It sounds as though this is not the actions of ALL employees at this location but just those of some.

    @grump. Are you for real? I thought we were past bigotry and prejudice in our society. How can you mock someone’s accent or assume because they presumedly came from another country they are incapable of the intelligence necessary to handle this problem. It sounds to me as though they were attempting to offer good customer service and hear you out. Shame on you for your little-minded and hatefulness!

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  • March 25, 2011 at 11:17 am
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    @ Loyal CVS Customer,

    Funny, on the one hand you implore people to be “loving and Christian” towards the CVS employees, and on the other call the Walgreen employees “rude and heartless”.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 11:21 am
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    @xt…..check your facts….you have me confused with someone else. I have not once mentioned walgreens in any of my posts.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 11:23 am
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    @xt…..the post you are referring to was by cvs patient NOT from me loyal cvs customer. I have no issues with walgreens or it’s employees.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 11:32 am
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    @ Loyal CVS Customer,

    My apologies, confused the names.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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    Loyal,
    Lighten up baby.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm
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    @rt no problem. Similar name so I can see it would be easy to make the mistake.

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  • March 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm
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    It does make me somewhat uncomfortable to see an employee’s mistake called out in so public a manner. On the other hand, Merritt’s original post didn’t identify the pharmacy — it was only after they so egregiously and cluelessly made similar and worse mistakes again that she called them out by name.  Also, I can almost guarantee you that customer privacy at the Snider Plaza CVS will be 1000% better starting this week, given Merritt’s actions, as opposed to if Merritt had just quietly said to the pharmacist, “Gee, I don’t think you are supposed to be giving me this information.”

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  • March 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm
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    @Loyal, I am very glad that CVS has started the steps to remedy the problems with this location. You are correct that there is probably no business out there that has 100% satisfaction from customers. You are wrong that “there are no excuses being made”. Just about your entire first post is an excuse. Your link to the complaint about Preston Road Pharmacy is only relatable because it is a pharmacy. I did not see where in the complaint it says they were yelling out peoples names alongside their type of medication or handing out printed forms to random customers with other random customers full information included. Like we agree on, every business is going to have someone unsatisfied with the service….not every business is going to break common knowledge government privacy regulations so blatantly. Once Merritt got the word that CVS was starting to look into this, I was satisfied and waiting for the next entertaining blog post/debate, only chimed back in because people were trying to blow this off like no big deal (and I like a good spirited debate to break up my days).

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  • March 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm
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    Support locally owned and operated businesses, you will not have this issue here http://www.doughertys.com , Family owned and operated for 80 years. The service difference is gigantic, a careless pharmacy is a serious thing. If there are errors in the front, there are errors in the back, you know that it’s true. Over 1.5 million people a year are harmed by pharmacy error, 7000 die. Why trust a sloppy, badly staffed chain store with something this important when you have a choice?

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  • March 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm
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    everyone can make a mistake at times-probably even you, maam. i am also a long time cvs customer and have overall been treated very well. have you noticed how busy they are-many days. cut them a little slack. none of us are perfect–how would you handle a job dealing with some critical people like yourself? hmmm? somehow,i doubt that you could get into pharmacy school, much less complete it. they don’t receive those diplomas based on attendance. maybe all this whining is your way of making yourself feel superior

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