Ex-Employee Of Local MHMR Center Files Whistleblower Suit

By: Rachel Cox Email
By: Rachel Cox Email

A former employee of a local community mental health center has filed a whistleblower lawsuit, claiming she was fired after complaining that she was ordered to dispense prescription drugs without the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

(Photo by Rachel Cox)

TEMPLE (December 4, 2013) Michaela Ison, a former employee of Temple’s Central Counties Center MHMR, has filed a whistleblower suit claiming she was fired after complaining that she was ordered to dispense drugs without the supervision of a licensed pharmacist.

The lawsuit was filed on Nov 18 in Bell County State District Court.

Ison was a pharmacy technician at Central Counties Center MHMR when she was fired in September for what she was told were medication errors, but she claims in her lawsuit that she was fired after reporting to the State Board of Pharmacy that she was told to dispense prescription drugs without the supervision of a licensed pharmacist, which is against Texas law.

Ison is not a licensed pharmacist, but was “instructed to perform acts constituting the practice of pharmacy including impersonating a pharmacist, filling physician prescriptions, dispensing prescription drugs and distributing prescription drugs without a licensed pharmacist present to supervise,” the lawsuit alleges.

The center's board met behind closed doors Tuesday night to discuss what was described only as pending litigation in the agenda; it was not made clear if the discussion involved Ison’s lawsuit.

In September a state inspection of the center revealed medications were being mismanaged, and that unlicensed staff had access to the drugs.

Officials also found the center had been operating without a medical director.

The center is now working with a pharmacy management company to continue serving patients.

During the monthly board meeting Tuesday, when asked if the center had ever been in non-compliance with the state the center's executive director, Eldon Tietje, responded, "It took us a while to make the full transition and yes for some of the period of transition some of our stuff was in compliance and some of it wasn't."

Ison is seeking damages of more than $500,000.


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