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Smith's worker fired after erroneously throwing away pharmacy records

Company estimates incident involves over 57,000 records
Smith's Sunset store.jpg
Posted at 4:41 PM, Oct 25, 2019

HENDERSON (KTNV) — An associate at a Smith's store in Henderson has been fired after improperly disposing of patient pharmacy records earlier this year.

A Smith's Food & Drug store spokesperson said the incident took place in July of 2019 and was discovered on August 29, 2019, at its store located at 4600 E. Sunset Road.

Hard copy prescriptions were involved that may have included a patient's first name, last name, gender, date of birth, home address, phone number, drug name, prescription number, and third-party payor information.

"The former associate's actions were contrary to our policies and procedures, and the associate was terminated for this incident," said Aubriana Martindale, Smith's Food & Drug corporate affairs manager.

The records were at least 11 years old and discarded in the store's trash compactor, according to a company news release. The compactor included all waste from the store, including food.

Smith's representatives said they hadn't received any indication that the information has been misused as a result of this incident. However, they estimate about 57,600 prescription records were inappropriately discarded.

"We take our patients' privacy seriously and are committed to creating additional safeguards to prevent a similar isolated event from recurring," Martindale said. "Additionally, we are re-educating select associates on our HIPAA policies and procedures, including proper disposal of records. We sincerely apologize that this incident occurred."

As a cautionary measure, Smith's is also asking patients to review the statements they receive from their health plan.