Woman charged with stealing patient’s ID
Nurse practitioners don’t often phone in prescriptions for “a huge quantity” of narcotic pain relievers on Sunday afternoons, the pharmacist thought.
Suspicious, Kevin Elick called the patient. She had no idea what he was talking about.
“That patient had never been in here before,” said Elick, a pharmacist at the CVS on London-Groveport Road in Grove City.
The woman who came to pick up the prescription was a certified nurse practitioner for the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital pretending to be one of her patients, investigators say.
The pharmacy alerted Grove City police, who arrested Stacy Lynn Whisner, 36, of 5813 Birch Bark Court, Grove City, on Feb. 28 as she drove away with a bottle that contained mostly placebos, according to police reports.
Whisner was charged with identity fraud and deception to obtain a dangerous drug. The case will be presented to a Franklin County grand jury soon, said police Capt. Steve Robinette.
He said investigators are trying to figure out how many patient files Whisner might have accessed and how many identities she might have used.
“Maybe we caught her early, or maybe we caught her at the tail end of it,” Robinette said.
Hospital officials sent letters and made phone calls to about 20 James patients to tell them their medical records could have been breached, spokesman David Crawford said yesterday.
“All we know is that she misused confidential information,” he said. “They were probably patients in the clinic where she worked.”
Crawford said Whisner was fired shortly after her arrest.
Contacted at home yesterday, Whisner referred questions to her attorney, Bradley Koffel.
He said his client is “a classic example of folks who come under the spell of addictive pharmaceuticals.”
Whisner voluntarily placed her nursing license on inactive status and is trying to get help for her addiction to painkillers such as the hydrocodone – whose brand names include Lortab and Vicodin – described in the charge against her, Koffel said.
“There is not going to be any evidence that she was trafficking,” he said, adding that Whisner had been taking “lawfully prescribed pain pills” for back problems previously.
Koffel said he doesn’t know whether investigators have evidence of other patients’ identities being used.
Crawford said that, so far, officials “don’t think that this person accessed their credit information.” But as a precaution, the hospital is offering credit protection for the next year.
Hospital officials and investigators praised the pharmacist for being alert.
Unfortunately, Elick said, he has plenty of experience working with police to catch people trying to pass fake prescriptions.
“We’ve got it down pat now,” he said.Source on net: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2010/04/28/nurse-faked-prescription-police-say.html?type=rss&cat=&sid=101