A Derby nurse practitioner identified as the state’s highest Medicare prescriber of potent narcotics has admitted taking kickbacks from a drug company in exchange for prescribing pain medication.
Heather Alfonso, 42, of Middlebury, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S District Court in Hartford to receiving $83,000 in kickbacks from January 2013 until March 2015 from an unnamed pharmaceutical company that makes a drug used to treat cancer pain.
A Derby nurse practitioner was among the top 10 prescribers nationally of the most potent controlled substances in Medicare’s drug program in 2012 – an anomaly in a state where Medicare records show nurse practitioners rarely prescribe such drugs, which have a high potential for abuse.
Heather Alfonso, an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) at the Comprehensive Pain & Headache Treatment Centers, LLC, wrote out 8,705 prescriptions for opioids and other Schedule II drugs in 2012 – the most prolific prescriber among all Connecticut practitioners, including pain specialists and other physicians, according to Medicare data compiled by ProPublica.
A 4-year-old boy identified with a developmental delay was physically restrained by school staff after he “threw (puzzle) pieces on the floor and across the room” while playing with a puzzle on a classroom rug.
An elementary school student was put into seclusion after “swinging her coat at staff.”
These are among hundreds of incidents -- deemed “emergencies” by school personnel -- that warranted restraining and isolating pre-school and elementary school students in Connecticut last year. A new report by the state Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) raises “significant concern” regarding the frequency with which young children with autism and other disabilities are restrained or secluded; lapses in documentation or actual compliance with state laws; and the prevalence of “unidentified and unmet educational needs for children subject to forceful or isolative measures.”
Connecticut’s diabetes rate ranks lower than the national average, but Hispanics and African-Americans are more than twice as likely to have the disease compared with their white neighbors and are at greater risk of dying from diabetes-related causes.
Connecticut hospitals reported record numbers of patients killed or seriously injured by hospital errors in 2013, with large increases in the numbers of falls, medication mistakes and perforations during surgical procedures, a new state report shows.
The report, covering 2013, marks the first time that the number of so-called “adverse events” in hospitals and other health care facilities has topped 500 – double the number in 2012, when 244 such incidents were reported. Much of the increase was due to an expansion of reporting on pressure ulcers, which added a new category with 233 “unstageable” ulcers that were not counted before. Even without that category, however, reports of adverse events climbed 20 percent over 2012.
Candid online posts describing the challenges of breastfeeding fill the Facebook page of Breastfeeding USA’s Connecticut chapter. The daily stream of anecdotes, questions and comments alternate in tone from exasperated to celebratory.
“Small victory for today. I actually breastfed in the open with my husband and day care provider in the same room (with a nursing cover, of course), but I haven't done that yet, so I feel good about it. “
“Any tips to get better pumping results? I went back to work this week and I'm struggling to keep up with the baby.”