The state Medical Examining Board today recommended reinstating the medical license of a former Yale School of Medicine department head who served a year and a day in prison for lying about his travel expenses while at Johns Hopkins University. In 2017, Dr. Jean-Francois Geschwind of Westport pleaded guilty to four counts of mail fraud arising from his scheme to unlawfully obtain travel expenses from Johns Hopkins, where he was a radiologist, according to the U.S. attorney in Maryland. Geschwind fraudulently received reimbursement for trips to the United Kingdom, France and Japan when some of the expenses were for family vacations and meals, the U.S. attorney said. He was ordered to pay fines of $475,000 and restitution of $583,484, Connecticut and Maryland records show. A liver cancer researcher, Geschwind wrote to the Connecticut board that in 2015, he was recruited by Yale to become its new chair of the radiology department.
State nursing regulators have ordered two former licensed practical nurses to take a refresher course before they can get their licenses back following disciplinary action. But there’s a problem: the only LPN refresher course approved by the state Department of Public Health won’t accept anyone with an active disciplinary order. One of the nurses, Heather Delaney of Oxford, says she has beaten the addiction to the anti-anxiety drug Klonopin that caused her to alter a prescription in 2010 and can safely return to nursing. She agreed to a consent order with the state Board of Examiners for Nursing in 2016, only to be turned down by the approved program, at South Dakota State University, because of the order. Delaney was one of two nurses featured in a January 2018 C-HIT article on nurses and addiction.
Stamford Hospital has been fined $55,000 by the state for allowing a phlebotomist to draw blood at a Southington facility before obtaining a certificate of approval to operate. A state Department of Public Health (DPH) inspection at Feel Well Health Center in Southington on or around Jan. 26 found that a phlebotomist who had contracted with Boston Heart Diagnostics in Massachusetts was conducting venipuncture, or puncturing a patient’s vein to draw blood, before Stamford Hospital obtained the necessary written certificate to operate the blood collection facility, according to a consent order signed Sept. 7 by the hospital and DPH. The phlebotomist was collecting and sending specimens to Boston Heart for laboratory analysis and was being paid by Boston Heart to do so, the consent order said.
In 2018, the state took the unusual step of issuing a consent order requiring a New Haven nursing home to hire an independent nurse consultant and implement minimum staffing ratios after inspections at the facility uncovered numerous lapses in care and safety violations. The order, agreed to in April by the Advanced Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and the state Department of Public Health (DPH), tasked the independent nurse consultant with assessing the staff’s ability to do their jobs and evaluating how care is delivered. The minimum staffing ratios ordered are 30 patients to one licensed nurse on all shifts, on most units; 10 patients to one nurse’s aide on the first shift; 12 patients to one nurse’s aide on the second shift; and 20 patients to one nurse’s aide on the third shift. Officials at the facility didn’t return calls seeking comment. It isn’t often that DPH mandates staffing or requires nursing homes to hire consultants, but the order reflects a broader emerging problem affecting the care provided at many nursing homes: insufficient staffing levels and caregivers who lack training.
Most Connecticut nursing homes will see their Medicare reimbursements reduced in the coming year for having high resident readmission rates to hospitals. Of Connecticut’s 224 nursing homes, 75 percent (168) are being penalized by Medicare based on how often their residents were re-hospitalized within 30 days of discharge. Twenty-five percent (56) in Connecticut are receiving bonuses for having few readmissions, according to a Kaiser Health News (KHN) analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the first time nursing homes are being penalized or rewarded based on how many of their residents are readmitted to hospitals for conditions that could have been prevented. Medicare has administered a similar program for hospitals since the 2013 fiscal year.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing this week disciplined eight nurses, including reprimanding a York Correctional Institution nurse for failing to properly care for an inmate who suffered a serious brain injury in the prison medical unit in 2014. Licensed practical nurse Shanequa Moore of New Haven also had her license placed on probation for two years after the board found that Moore failed to practice nursing with empathy, compassion and care in the inmate’s case, a consent order she agreed to said. While not admitting any wrongdoing, Moore chose not to contest the allegations. She has completed courses in medical documentation, ethics, professional accountability, mindfulness and empathy, the order said. Moore is the second nurse disciplined by the board in connection with the injury at the Niantic prison.
The state Medical Examining Board Tuesday placed a Yale Cancer Center doctor’s license on probation for five years, saying his excessive abuse of alcohol affects his ability to practice as a physician. The board accepted a consent order that said Dr. Harris E. Foster Jr. abused alcohol to excess at various times between 2012 and May of this year. Last week, the cancer center’s website listed Foster as a professor of urology at the Yale School of Medicine and as the director of female urology and neuro-urology at the center in New Haven. After a reporter inquired about his status, the cancer center’s website on Tuesday only listed him as a urology professor. Mark D’Antonio, a spokesman for Yale New Haven Hospital, said Tuesday that Foster is still affiliated with the cancer center, but he cannot comment further because Yale does not comment on personnel matters.
Most Connecticut hospitals will lose a portion of their Medicare reimbursement payments over the next year as penalties for having high rates of patients being readmitted, new data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show. Statewide, 27 of the 29 hospitals evaluated—or 93 percent—will be penalized in the 2019 fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of CMS data. The Medicare program has penalized hospitals since the 2013 fiscal year for having high rates of patients who are readmitted within a month of being discharged. Nationally, hospitals will lose $566 million in penalties, which were instituted as part of the Affordable Care Act to encourage better health care delivery.
Various violations that jeopardized patient safety, including two that preceded patient deaths and several involving the improper use of restraints, have taken place at Connecticut hospitals, according to the most recent hospital inspection reports released by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The reports, which can be found in C-HIT’s Data Mine section, cover inspections that took place at hospitals between 2016 and this year. Some of the violations resulted in injuries to patients, while others showed lapses in protocols and procedures. Bridgeport Hospital was cited for 26 violations, including an incident in which a patient with a diagnosis of an ovarian mass suffered a burn during surgery. Hartford Hospital was cited for 60 violations, including two violations that preceded patient deaths.
The state Board of Examiners for Nursing this week disciplined three nurses, including suspending the license of a Stamford Hospital nurse accused of stealing Dilaudid meant for 21 patients. The registered nurse, Kerrisha Stacy-Ann Hurd of Elmont, New York, took the painkillers meant for the patients but did not administer the doses to them between January and March while she worked in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit of the hospital, state records show. In March, she fainted while on the job, and a syringe with a bloody needle was found in her uniform pocket, records show. Then on April 26, she admitted that she gave herself a shot of Dilaudid while working, records show. She was taken to the emergency room and tested positive for opiates, records show.