State Board Fines, Disciplines Nurses

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing last week disciplined three nurses, including issuing a total of $1,500 in fines and placing two nurses’ licenses on probation. The advanced practical registered nurse (APRN) license of Jane M. Buckley of Wallingford was placed on probation for a year and she was fined $500 by the board for inappropriately prescribing controlled substances from January-July 2018 to a patient despite evidence of addiction, according to her signed consent order. Buckley also failed to provide requested medical records in a timely manner, failed to maintain adequate treatment documents, and failed to appropriately assess, manage and/or treat addiction and/or mental health issues, according to the consent order. Buckley’s license had previously been reprimanded and placed on probation in June 2018 for prescribing a controlled substance to a family member without adequate treatment records in 2015 and 2016, according to the consent order. Buckley successfully completed that probation on Dec.

Nursing Homes Fined Following Resident Sexual Assault, Falls, Medication Error

Six nursing homes have been fined by the state Department of Public Health (DPH) for violations that endangered or injured residents. Apple Rehab West Haven was fined $6,960 after a resident reported being sexually assaulted by a visitor. On Oct. 2, 2018, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) saw the resident and a male visitor naked in the resident’s room, and the resident told the LPN they’d just had sex, according to DPH. The LPN asked the resident several times if she was alright and the resident replied that the male was her boyfriend.

Lost Lives: A Mother’s Heart Attack, A Daughter’s Disrupted Adolescence

Gail Williams was 15 when her mother died of a heart attack.  “The world seemed like it got dimmer, a shade darker than it was,” said Williams, now 60, of New Haven. The death of Shirley Mae Burgess, Williams’ mother, at age 41 was a shock and a tragedy for her family. But it also is a story of how economic and social determinants of health shape lives. Even though deaths from heart disease have been falling, it is still the No. 1 killer for both men and women, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

14 Hospitals Penalized For High Infection Rates, Injuries

Fourteen Connecticut hospitals are being penalized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), losing 1% of their Medicare reimbursements this fiscal year for having high rates of hospital-acquired infections and injuries, new data show. The hospitals are among 786 nationwide being penalized under the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program, which was created under the Affordable Care Act, according to a Kaiser Health News (KHN) analysis. The program is in its sixth year and the latest Medicare reimbursement penalties are for the current fiscal year, which began in October 2019 and runs through September. When assessing penalties, CMS considers the number of infections, blood clots, sepsis cases, pressure ulcers, and other complications that may have been prevented. The 14 hospitals losing 1% of their Medicare reimbursements are: Waterbury Hospital, Stamford Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London, Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Midstate Medical Center in Meriden, Middlesex Hospital, and Windham Community Memorial Hospital & Hatch Hospital in Willimantic.

Nearly 40% Of Young Children Missing Out On Vision Screenings

Nearly 40% of preschool-aged children nationwide have never had a vision screening, new data suggests, and there are disparities in who has been tested. During 2016 and 2017, only 63.5% of children 3 to 5 years old had their eyes tested by a doctor or other health professional, and whites were more likely to have been tested than blacks and Hispanics, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Childhood vision screenings can lead to early detection of vision disorders. The United States Preventative Service Task Force, an independent panel of experts, and the American Optometric Association recommend children in that age group have their eyes checked at least once, even if they’re asymptomatic and at low risk for problems.

“The purpose of a screening is to pick up any red flags, warning signs or risk factors for vision problems,” said Dr. Caroline DeBenedictis, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and an assistant professor at UConn School of Medicine. “Vision screening should be happening from the time [children] are born.”

Early detection plays a major role in improving outcomes, she added.

Med Board Disciplines Two Doctors; Fines Weston Doc $7,500

The state Medical Examining Board voted Tuesday to discipline two physicians including issuing a $7,500 fine and one-year probation to a Weston doctor who prescribed opioids to six people without discussing pain management treatment goals or informing the patients of the risks in taking the drugs. The board also agreed to discipline a physician assistant who had told a patient suffering from a pulmonary blood clot to “lose weight.”

While working at the PCA Pain Care Center in Wallingford from 2014–2016, Dr. David Marks, of Weston, primarily prescribed opioids and no other pain care treatment to six people, according to a consent order. Marks failed to obtain patient histories pertaining to their injuries or previous pain management treatment, failed to discuss treatment goals, or warn people of the risks associated with opioids, the consent order said. He also failed to consult the state’s Prescription Monitoring and Reporting System to see if the patients were receiving prescriptions from other practitioners and failed to assess the patients’ mental status for depression or suicidality or document his findings, the consent order he signed said. The board fined Marks $7,500 and placed him probation for one year during which he’ll be required to have supervision when prescribing Schedule II or III controlled substances.

State Issues Reprimands, Probation For Nurses

The state Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday disciplined four nurses for drug use and other violations. The board placed the LPN license of Ashley E. Lambert of Thompson on probation for four years and ordered her to attend therapy, undergo random drug tests and attend a support group eight to 10 times a month, according to her signed consent order. According to documents, Lambert was found to have abused or used to excess heroin, cocaine, marijuana and Trazadone from 1998 until April 2019. The board also reprimanded the registered nurse (RN) license of Elaine B. Simms-Walton of Enfield, placed her license on probation for six months, and ordered her to take coursework in advanced directives and critical thinking. According to her signed consent order, Simms-Walton was working as a nurse supervisor with a resident who had a physician’s order that requested life-sustaining treatment, including CPR, in an emergency.

Nursing Homes Fined For Privacy Violation, Verbal Abuse And Injuries

Six nursing homes have been fined by the state for violating a resident’s privacy, verbally abusing a resident and for violations that resulted in residents’ injuries. Whitney Center in Hamden was fined $6,120 after a nurse aide used her personal cellphone to take a picture of a resident being transferred to a shower chair with a Hoyer lift on June 18, 2019, according to a citation issued by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The resident and nurse aide disagreed on what happened, according to DPH.  The aide said the resident wanted the photo taken, but the resident said that was not the case. The aide deleted the photo from the cellphone.

Son’s Death Inspires Family’s Work To Raise Awareness About Asthma

It was a 70-degree day in January 2014, and Cristin Buckley was at her daughter’s basketball game with her husband and twin sons. The boys were planning to head to Target to buy baseball cards after the game, but before they could leave, 7-year-old Ben said he was having difficulty breathing and needed a nebulizer treatment. Ben’s dad took him home. “My husband called me and said, ‘Have you ever done a nebulizer treatment and have it not work?’ and I said, ‘No,’ and at that point he realized something was wrong,” Buckley said. Forty minutes after they left the basketball game, Ben was unconscious in their driveway.

Hospital Errors Rose 7% In 2018

The number of “adverse events” occurring at Connecticut hospitals rose 7% in 2018, compared with the previous year, with a growing number of patients suffering serious injury or death associated with falls, according to a new state report. Overall, the total number adverse events, or medical errors, reported by hospitals rose to 376, from 351 in 2017, according to the state Department of Public Health (DPH). Of the 29 categories tracked, tallies rose in 12, declined in seven and remained flat in 10. “I’m very discouraged by the report,” said Lisa Freeman, executive director of the Connecticut Center for Patient Safety. “Some of these numbers, they give me chills, they’re so frightening.