The state Medical Examining Board fined a Greenwich doctor $3,000 on Tuesday for failing to justify prescribing high doses of opioids for patients in 2015 and 2016. The board also reprimanded the license of Dr. Francis X. Walsh, placed his license on probation for six months and ordered him to take courses in medical documentation and controlled substance prescribing, a consent order he agreed to said. In prescribing the drugs in his office practice, Walsh failed to properly document that he had examined the patients and failed to justify “potentially dangerous dosing and combinations of medications,” the order said. During the probation, Walsh must hire a doctor to review his office practice. Walsh has surrendered his state registration to prescribe controlled substances in that practice, state records show.
Five Connecticut nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) following lapses in care, including one incident after which a resident died. Jewish Senior Services of Bridgeport was fined $3,060 after a resident with multiple sclerosis died after falling from a bed onto the floor. On June 12, 2018, a registered nurse was applying protective dressings to the resident’s coccyx, turned away to dispose of the dressing wrappers and, when she turned back toward the resident, saw the resident was starting to fall, according to the citation. The RN tried to stop the fall but couldn’t. The RN had moved the patient without help, even though the resident’s care plan called for two-staff assistance with mobility, according to the citation.
Connecticut hospitals reported increases in patients suffering from pressure ulcers, as well as serious injuries or deaths associated with falls and burns in 2017, compared to 2016, according to a new state report. Overall, the total number of “adverse events” reported by hospitals dropped from 431 in 2016 to 351 in 2017, a 19 percent decline, the Department of Public Health (DPH) said. But most of the decline was due to the elimination of two categories in 2017: serious injuries or death resulting from perforations during open, laparoscopic or endoscopic procedures; and those resulting from surgeries. Together those categories accounted for 72 adverse events in 2016. The reporting requirement for the two categories was eliminated after a work group of the Quality in Health Care Advisory Committee concluded that the vast majority of perforations that occur during some procedures aren’t preventable, and that serious injuries or death resulting from surgery are already better captured by other categories, the DPH report said.
A nurse at Avon Old Farms School was fined $5,000 today by the state Board of Examiners for Nursing for inappropriately prescribing controlled substances to herself, family members and friends 42 times. Lenore Leone of Avon, an advanced practice registered nurse, who works at the private school under her married name, Lenore Severni, prescribed the drugs for herself and seven friends and relatives from 2014 to 2017, a consent order she agreed to said. The board also reprimanded her license. From 1992 to 2017, Leone also practiced and prescribed controlled substances without having a collaboration agreement with a doctor, as state law requires, the order said. Under the order, Leone must enter into an agreement with a doctor.
The state Medical Examining Board today recommended reinstating the medical license of a former Yale School of Medicine department head who served nine months 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 fine of $75,000 and an assessment of $400 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.
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 number of Medicaid-insured children treated in Connecticut emergency rooms for behavioral health crises rose 20 percent between 2014 and 2016, mirroring a national trend – despite efforts to provide non-ER treatments. In 2014, Connecticut ERs recorded 12,100 Medicaid-insured youth visits compared to 14,448 in 2016, according to a study of Medicaid-eligible patients ages 18 and younger commissioned by the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI). Most of the children who go to emergency rooms with behavioral health issues go to one of five hospitals, according to data collected by consultant Beacon Health Options, which manages behavioral health care for the state’s Medicaid population. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford saw the most behavioral health-related ER visits, with 3,962 visits by Medicaid-insured youth in 2016. Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital had a combined total of 2,263 visits, followed by St.
Consumers will have the shortest open enrollment period yet to shop for 2019 health insurance plans – 45 days — but they can “window shop” and compare plans beginning today. Open enrollment for health plans effective Jan. 1, 2019, will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, giving consumers the least amount of time to enroll in or renew plans since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law.