Pharmacy Technician Suspended for Patient Data Theft

The California State Board of Pharmacy has suspended the license of a pharmacy technician who was revealed to have stolen the protected health information of approximately 100 patients.

The California State Board of Pharmacy has suspended the license of a pharmacy technician who was revealed to have stolen the protected health information of approximately 100 patients.

The data theft was uncovered during a Secret Service raid at the apartment of Nicole Yvonne Flores, a technician at a CVS pharmacy in San Diego. Flores’ employers were informed of the discovery, and she was later brought before the state board, which disciplined her for committing “an act involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or corruption” and for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

During an interview with CVS management, Flores admitted to printing out patient information and leaving with the records in her pockets between May 2013 and November 2014, as well as during a 3-month period from February 2015 to April 2015. She would then give the information to her property manager, who used it to fraudulently obtain credit cards and other forms of credit.

Flores apologized for her actions, acknowledging that she knew she was violating CVS policies and HIPAA regulations, but claimed that her property manager threatened her into committing the thefts. Flores, who had been employed by CVS since 2008, was ultimately fired from her position at the pharmacy.

“The alleged actions of Ms. Flores are a flagrant violation of the stringent policies and procedures we have in place for the handling of patient information,” said CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis in a statement. “She is no longer employed with CVS, and we are fully cooperating with the authorities in the investigation of this matter.”

Flores is not permitted to practice as a pharmacy technician until the state board has conducted a full investigation and reached a final decision concerning the accusations, at which point she may have her license revoked entirely. Flores will likely be required to pay for the cost of the investigation, and she potentially faces civil action, as well.