The Board of Examiners for Nursing has disciplined five nurses, including a Manchester nurse, in connection with lapses in care of a patient in Massachusetts who died. On Feb. 21, the Connecticut board reprimanded Elinor Riberio, a licensed practical nurse from Manchester, and placed her license on probation for one year in connection with the Massachusetts case. In June 2017, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing placed Riberio’s license on probation for six months after she admitted she failed to properly care for a patient at the Heritage Hall West nursing home in Agawam, Massachusetts records from that state show. Riberio failed to monitor the patient’s respiratory status and vital signs, left the unit even though she was the only nurse working there, failed to perform chest compressions when she found the patient in cardiopulmonary arrest and failed to properly operate defibrillator and suction machines, her signed consent order with the Connecticut board said.
Ten Connecticut prescribers, including a Derby nurse who is at the center of a federal kickback probe, were responsible for more than 23 percent of the state’s Medicare spending on opioids in 2014, suggesting that the largest share of those prescriptions is concentrated among a small number of clinicians. Recently released federal Medicare data show that Heather Alfonso, formerly a nurse with the Comprehensive Pain & Headache Treatment Centers, LLC, in Derby, and four other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) at the clinic in 2014 dispensed more than $8.4 million in opioids in the Medicare program – accounting for a full 15 percent of all such prescriptions in the state. They were among the top 10 opioid prescribers in 2014, who accounted for $13 million of the $56 million spent on the drugs, the data show. More than 4,800 Connecticut clinicians, mostly physicians, wrote Medicare prescriptions for oxycodone, fentanyl and other opioids. But the prescribing was not evenly spread out – only two-dozen prescribers wrote out more than $250,000 worth of prescriptions.