By Dave Muoio – Dec 8, 2022
A Massachusetts health system has agreed to a nearly $2 million settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) due to controlled substance record-keeping violations.
Regulators took a deep dive into the controlled substance records at Northeast Hospital Corporation, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, in 2018 after the system reported that an employee stole nearly 18,000 units of drugs including fentanyl, oxycodone and Percocet.
The health system reported in March 2018 that a pharmacy technician had been taking medications from automated dispensing machines and recording the withdrawn substances as “expired,” according to the settlement agreement published by the DOJ (PDF).
The theft had occurred over “at least” 13 months and was discovered as the organization was overhauling its pharmacy operations and controlled substances accountability procedures, DOJ said. Northeast promptly suspended the employee and reported the theft to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
When the DEA began its investigation, however, the agency said it “found discrepancies” in how many substances it found in automated dispensing machines across Northeast’s locations versus what the system had documented.