Settlement Reached After Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Investigation

Settlement Reached After Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Investigation

Posted By Schick Shadel Hospital || Jul 12, 2016

In order to settle a U.S. Justice Department investigation into a nurse who managed to divert over 96,000 oxycodone pills, The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has agreed to pay $250,000.

In order to divert that many pills from an onsite pharmacy, the nurse in question had doctors sign fabricated prescriptions that she would later alter to increase both the quantity and potency of the pills. She would then pick up the prescriptions at the pharmacy, apparently doing a favor for the patients.

The scheme was started in 2011, but was revealed in 2013 when a former patient of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s claim was denied by the state Department of Labor and Industries. The claim was denied when the state Prescription Monitoring Program indicated that the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance was already providing the patient with prescribed pain medication.

Labor and Industries workers contacted the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance when the patient disputed receiving pain medication. Following the cancer care center’s investigation, the nurse’s scheme was discovered and she was fired. They then alerted state and federal agencies like the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and reportedly took immediate steps to avoid a repeat of the events.

In a written statement, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance said that it disagrees with the government’s findings and insists that it did nothing wrong, but agreed to the settlement in order to avoid any delays, uncertainties, or expenses that may accompany litigation.

"During the course of our own investigation, the [Seattle Cancer Care Alliance] reached out to national experts, who advised us that the employee's scheme was the most sophisticated they had ever seen and would likely have gone undetected in any cancer treatment center," the center said in a statement.

While the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is still not aware of what happened to the diverted oxycodone, they have agreed to ensure that their pharmacists take reasonable steps before validating any prescription.

Addiction to prescription painkillers is a growing epidemic in the United States, and breaking free of that addiction is no easy task. At Schick Shadel Hospital, we have been successfully treating addiction for over 80 years with our counter conditioning program. If you’re interested in learning more about our process and how it can help you overcome your addiction, check out our website, or you can give us a call at (888) 802-4206.

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