Nursing Homes Fined After Resident’s Death, Undocumented Injuries

The state has fined an Avon nursing home where a resident died and a Bristol home where staff did not document how 10 residents suffered a total of 47 injuries. In all, four nursing homes were recently fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for various violations. Apple Rehab Avon received two fines, totally $5,625, connected to a March incident in which a resident died and a nurse misinterpreted the medical file to contain a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order, according to documents. In the first citation, the facility was fined $3,000. According to the citation, on Feb.

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State Fines Two Nursing Homes

The state has fined two nursing homes in connection with staff failing to follow notification procedures for changes in residents’ conditions and for a resident who fell and broke a bone. Evergreen Health Care Center in Stafford Springs received two citations and fines, totaling $3,890. In one citation, Evergreen Health was fined $2,360 for failure to follow facility procedures and notify a physician on condition changes of two residents. On March 1, a resident with heart failure, anxiety and dementia complained of seeing spots out of the left eye. A neurological assessment was done, which produced normal results, but the resident continued to complain of a sight problem, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH).

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Nonprofit Obamacare Insurer Going Out Of Business

HealthyCT, the state's nonprofit health insurer on the exchange, will no longer offer individual health insurance plans after the group was placed under an order of supervision due to "hazardous financial standing" Monday. The order, issued by the state Department of Insurance, means that about 10 percent of Connecticut residents with health insurance policies bought through Obamacare will have to switch companies for next year — about 13,000 customers. To read the Courant's report by Mara Lee click here.

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State Prepares To Tighten Prescription Monitoring

Connecticut’s shift next month from weekly to “real-time” reporting of prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances is an effective way to help stem opioid-related deaths, a new study suggests. Researchers from Vanderbilt University who analyzed states’ prescription drug monitoring programs – central databases that log controlled substances dispensed to patients -- found that programs that were “updated with greater frequency” and that reported data for a broad range of drugs were associated with greater declines in opioid-related deaths. The study in the journal Health Affairs comes as Connecticut prepares to put a policy in place requiring that pharmacies report controlled substance (Schedule II to V) prescriptions “immediately,” or at least within 24 hours after they are dispensed, into the central database, known as the Connecticut Prescription Monitoring and Reporting System (CPMRS). The CPMRS, maintained by the Department of Consumer Protection, can be accessed by doctors and pharmacists to give them a complete picture of a patient’s medication use, including prescriptions by other providers. It also can be used by law enforcement officials to investigate physician prescribing.

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Four Nursing Homes Fined For Lapses In Care

Four nursing homes have been fined by the state in connection with residents who broke bones, required surgery or wandered away. In two separate citations on April 8, Cassena Care at Norwalk was fined a total of $5,370 for a case in which a now former director of nursing blocked a resident from going to the hospital to maintain the resident count at the home, state records show. A day after the incident, on Oct. 10, the resident needed emergency cranial surgery and then was placed in hospice care, a citation from the state Department of Public Health said. DPH officials did not have information on whether the resident had died, department spokeswoman Maura Downes said.

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Medical Board Disciplines Six Doctors

The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday disciplined six doctors, including fining a Norwalk doctor $5,000 for prescribing high doses of opioids to a prison inmate and other patients without proper safeguards. The board also suspended the license of a family medicine physician from Westport, saying his excessive drinking of alcohol presents a “clear and immediate danger” to the public. In the Norwalk case, the board also reprimanded Dr. Martin Perlin and limited his ability to prescribe painkillers. Between 2013 and 2015, Perlin prescribed high doses of opioids without adhering to standard safeguards, state Department of Public Health records show. One of the patients was incarcerated during the time that Perlin prescribed drugs for him, the records show.

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Derby Nurse Cooperating In Broadening Federal Probe

A Derby nurse who admitted taking kickbacks from a drug company that makes the powerful opioid painkiller Subsys is cooperating with federal investigators, who recently charged two drug company employees with violating kickback laws, court documents show. Documents filed earlier this year show that Heather Alfonso, a nurse formerly employed by a Derby pain clinic, requested a delay in sentencing because she was “actively cooperating in an ongoing investigation in several jurisdictions, including Connecticut,” in which arrests were expected. “Ms. Alfonso’s cooperation with both state and federal investigations is significant when qualifying her character and conduct, relative to sentencing,” her attorney said in filings in U.S. District Court in Hartford. A judge agreed to delay Alfonso’s sentencing until Sept. 13.

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State Board Revokes Licenses Of Four Nurses, Disciplines Eight Others

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing has revoked the licenses of four nurses and disciplined eight other nurses, with all but one of the cases connected to alcohol or drug abuse. Meeting in Hartford on Wednesday, June 15, the board revoked the license of Leslie Matejek, a registered nurse from Derby, after she tested positive for cocaine three times in 2015, the board’s memorandum of decision said. The memo shows that in 2010 Matejek’s license was placed on probation for four years after she admitted falsifying a prescription for Oxycontin. According to the memo, she tested positive for oxycodone three times in 2010 and morphine twice in 2011. Her probation was later extended to February of this year, with weekly random drug tests.

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Three Nursing Homes Fined Following Lapses In Care

Three nursing homes have been fined by the state in connection with residents who developed pressure sores or fell and sustained injuries. Bishop Wicke Health & Rehabilitation Center in Shelton was fined $2,160 on April 27 in connection with a resident who fell and was later hospitalized with inoperable bleeding on the brain. The DPH citation said that the resident’s head was hit during the fall on Oct. 24. As the resident became fatigued, a doctor treated the resident for a possible infection but reported never being told about the fall, the citation said.

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Branford Psychiatrist Agrees To Give Up Medical License

A Branford child psychiatrist who paid $30,000 to settle a Medicaid fraud allegation with the state last year has agreed to give up his medical license when it expires Aug. 31. On May 24, the state Department of Public Health reached an agreement with Dr. W. Blake Taggart that he will voluntarily agree not to renew or reinstate his license. His action will be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Though the allegations against him were not mentioned in the agreement, Taggart was in the news last year when he paid the fine to resolve allegations of fraudulent claims for payments to Cornerstones P.C., a Branford outpatient behavioral health clinic for children, according to press release from Attorney General George Jepsen.

Jepsen said that Taggart, who had been the medical director of Cornerstones, and social worker David M. Meyers, the former president of Cornerstones, had filed false claims for reimbursement from the Connecticut Medical Assistance Program, which is the state’s Medicaid program.

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