Articles Tagged with drug theft

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nursing home opioids

Wisconsin Nurse Charged for Stealing Opioids from Three Nursing Homes

News of a Wisconsin nurse charged with stealing medication from three nursing homes is unfortunately too common of a read these days. According to the Feb. 2019 criminal complaint, the 36-year-old nurse was charged with four counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and two counts of misdemeanor theft while being employed by Atrium Health Care in Chippewa County. The charges came after another employee contacted local police alerting them that a worker at a nursing home had her name forged in a book that tracks narcotic counts. The book showed Oxycodone had been signed out 11 times with conflicting signatures.

The thief, who was also a trusted nurse, was soon identified and later admitted to taking Opioids and prescription pills, including Vicodin, Oxycodone and Lorazepam, and others from two nursing homes she worked at as well. Opioid drugs are commonly prescribed by physicians for nursing home residents with moderate to severe pain and those in serious, life-threatening illness and can include:

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nursing home opioids
Congressional Committee Leader Targets Centers for Medicare & Medicaid For Slow Changes of Antipsychotic Drug Use in Nursing Homes

Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) is the author of a January 22, 2019 letter sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) administrator, Seema Verma. In the letter, the congressional committee leader overseeing Medicare says he wants to see a closer look at how nursing homes are really using antipsychotics and is also asking for greater detail on how skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and Medicare plans alike are actively changing the way the drugs are being used.  Although antipsychotic drug overuse, theft, and abuse in nursing homes have been long-time issues in the U.S., CMS’s 2019 trend update on the problem shows nursing homes are making progress in decreasing antipsychotic prescribing.

“CMS is tracking the progress of the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes by reviewing publicly reported measures. The official measure of the Partnership is the percentage of long-stay nursing home residents who receive antipsychotic medication, excluding residents diagnosed with schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, or Tourette’s syndrome. In the fourth quarter of 2011, 23.9 percent of residents received an antipsychotic medication; since then there has been a decrease of 38.9 percent to a national prevalence of 14.6 percent in the second quarter of 2018. Success varies by state and CMS region; some states and regions have a reduction greater than 40 percent.”

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nursing home abuse

Opioid Epidemic Swindles Its Way into Theft of Nursing Home Resident Medications

A 31-year-old nurse from central Illinois has plead guilty to resident burglary after stealing opioid patches from several terminally ill nursing home patients. Prosecutors say the man was working as a nurse at Bloomington Rehabilitation and Health Care Center but was actually not on duty when he entered a resident’s room and stole a pain patch. Just two days later he also removed the same type of medication from a terminally ill person at a care facility where he previously worked. Five other charges were dropped as part of the plea deal which will require him to surrender his nursing license and face a possible sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Nursing home employees can be tempted to steal resident medications to feed and drug addiction habit or may be tempted to take the prescriptions and sell them for their own financial gain. While not OK, nursing home employees are often underpaid, struggling financially, and looking for quick ways to supplement their income. One little pill can be sold for up to $200. Family members have also been known to steal medication from loved ones while caring for them at home or when visiting them in a facility.