The Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday revoked the licenses of three nurses and disciplined six others. The board revoked the registered nurse (RN) license of Charlene Zikaras of Milford for continuing to practice as a nurse after being told to stop by the state. Zikaras, who worked at the Stamford Ambulatory Surgical Center, had her license placed on probation for four years in December 2018 for alcohol abuse and was required to submit urine screens. On April 22, Zikaras’ urine tested positive for alcohol and on May 3 she was told to refrain from working as a nurse. Zikaras went to work on May 8, the Department of Public Health (DPH) reported.
Wanda Perez considers the price and nutritional value of everything she puts in her shopping cart, as the New Haven woman relies on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to buy groceries and is trying to eat healthy to manage multiple chronic illnesses. Just over 364,000 people receive SNAP benefits in the state, a number that has decreased about 4.7% in the past year. “I try to stay on top of everything that’s going on,” said Perez, a member of Witness To Hunger, which organizes SNAP users to speak about food policy and poverty. Perez lives on just over $700 in disability assistance a month, plus $192 in SNAP. Though her SNAP benefits are safe for now, proposed federal rule changes could push other Connecticut users off SNAP.
The racial disparity between white and black cancer patients in accessing timely treatments has virtually disappeared in states where Medicaid expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new study. Yale Cancer Center researchers analyzed more than 30,000 health records and found that, prior to Medicaid expansion, black adults with advanced or metastatic cancer were 4.8 percentage points less likely than white adults to begin treatments within 30 days of being diagnosed. But in states where Medicaid was expanded, in 2014 or later, the percentage of black patients getting timely treatment rose from 43.5 percent to 49.6 percent. There also was a small improvement in expansion states among white patients receiving timely treatment – from 48.3 percent to 50.3 percent – bringing the post-expansion difference between the two racial groups to less than one percentage point. “Our results suggest that Medicaid expansion led to improved health equity,” said study author Amy Davidoff, a senior research scientist at Yale School of Public Health and in Yale Cancer Center’s Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research Center (COPPER).
The most permanent decision of Kelsey’s life began when she walked into the saloon-style Lucky Soul Tattoo shop in Woodbridge, Connecticut, on a Thursday afternoon. Kelsey, an 18-year-old high school senior, was grieving over the loss of her beloved black cat, and wanted to memorialize their companionship. “I want to do something of sentimental value but I’m scared of it not coming out the way I like,” said Kelsey, 18, who did not wish to give her last name. She’s part of a growing trend. Body modification, especially professional tattooing, has become more popular in recent years.
After being rejected twice, a Connecticut Army veteran has been awarded federal disability benefits for terminal brain cancer he contends was caused by exposure to open burn pits in Afghanistan. Peter Antioho, 33, of Berlin, had to walk daily through heavy smoke emanating from burn pits as he performed his job as second in command on his base in 2012. A variety of items, including human and animal waste, plastic, ammunition and batteries were burned with diesel fuel 24 hours a day in open pits. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer two years ago. (The Conn.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday disciplined five doctors, including fining a West Hartford psychiatrist $7,500 for prescribing excessive doses of Xanax and fining a Hamden ophthalmologist $7,500 for having a consensual relationship with an adult patient. The board also reprimanded the medical license of the psychiatrist, Dr. Dale Wallington, for performing an inadequate diagnosis of the patient and for failing to implement strategies between 2008 and 2017 to prevent the patient’s abuse of Xanax and Vyvanse, a consent order Wallington agreed to said. Vyvanse is used to treat attention deficit disorder. The board also placed Wallington’s license on probation for 18 months, during which he must take a course in prescribing practices and hire a physician to review a portion of his medical records, the order said. In a letter to the state Department of Public Health, the patient’s parents complained about Wallington’s care of their son and objected to the consent order.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday disciplined 10 nurses, including revoking the licenses of three nurses and imposing fines on two others. The board revoked the licensed practical nurse license of Laurie Davidson of Bolton after finding that she failed to properly document medical records while working in 2015 as a nurse at Walnut Hill Care Center in New Britain. Davidson has an 18-year history of substance abuse and was suspected of taking “excessive” amounts of drugs from Walnut Hill, the board’s memorandum of decision said. The board revoked the registered nurse license of Amanda Alarcon of Shelton for failing to attend therapy sessions or submit to drug tests, its memorandum of decision said. Those were violations of a four-year probation that the board imposed in 2017 because she had abused heroin between 2011 and 2014, state records show.
Four nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that hurt or endangered residents. The Springs at Watermark 3030 Park in Bridgeport was fined $6,960 after a resident fell onto the floor when being moved from a bed to a wheelchair by two nurse aides. The resident suffered a broken right tibia and fibula in the fall, which happened May 4, 2018, according to DPH. An investigation found the nurse aides were using a Hoyer lift to help with the transfer, as outlined in the resident’s care plan, but the resident slid out of the lift pad. The pad was “bunched up” and had been incorrectly put above the resident’s head when it should have been placed at the base of the resident’s neck, according to the citation.
Five nursing homes have been fined by the state, including a facility in Westport where money was taken from residents’ trust funds. Westport Rehabilitation Complex was fined $8,120 following the discovery of the thefts and another incident in which a resident was injured. An investigation found that 20 residents had money missing from their resident trust funds and a facility business office manager was responsible, according to the Department of Public Health (DPH). In total, $3,161 was taken from the residents’ accounts. According to the citation, the missing funds were discovered in November 2018 when an employee alerted the facility’s administrator of “concerns regarding the facility-managed residents’ trust funds.” Several withdrawal documents appeared to have been altered with Wite-Out.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing this month disciplined five nurses, including two registered nurses who stole drugs meant for patients and took them for their own use. Meeting in Hartford on April 17, the board imposed a four-year probation on the registered nurse license of Kerry Donlon of the Oakville section of Watertown, who stole the opioid painkiller Hydromorphone for her own use while working as a nurse at Yale New Haven Hospital in 2016, a consent order she agreed to said. Donlon also took allergy medicine and medicine for muscle spasms for her own use while working as a nurse at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport in 2018, the order said. She used all three drugs to excess, the order said.