Life imitating fiction OR fiction imitating life

So, I was surfing the Twitter scene.  Okay, okay, I realize I once posted that my attempt to Twitter had failed.  However, I still ‘stalk’ it occasionally to keep current.  Wow, am I glad I do.

An old college mate* posted something interesting about a Walgreens pharmacist in Indiana who really fucked up over… love and HIPAA?!

The lawsuit alleged that a female pharmacist improperly reviewed the prescription history of the defendant and divulged that confidential information to her husband that had previously fathered a child with the defendant.  The husband/baby daddy then blabbed the information to a few others AND threatened to use the ‘confidential information’ in a paternity lawsuit.

This is some good shit, man.  I write fiction – my story also involves HIPAA, but totally higher road – and I can’t even think something like this up.  Maybe if I could I would be selling more copies, eh?

Anyway, my favorite part of the whole story is the following –

The pharmacist who divulged the information  “received a written warning for her unethical actions and was required to retake a computer training program regarding HIPAA rules.”

Unless you work retail you have no idea how funny and insanely stupid this punishment is.  Retaking a computer training program regarding HIPAA rules.  Are you fucking kidding me?   That’s like saying that  all available resources are working on the problem.  Moreover, I must side with my college friend when he stated that the burden of this ‘proof’ should be the responsibility of the pharmacist NOT the employer.  Though when I read the ‘punishment’, my opinion was challenged.

I realize this story happened in 2010 and the lawsuit/appeals is still in progress.  The integral part of my story happened in 2008.  It took me two years to conceptualize the incident, then another two years to write.  It went live on Kindle in July 2012.

So in this case, life imitates fiction.

*Thomas Halterman started a wonderful software tool to facilitate the patient/pharmacist/ prescriber  interaction.


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