Archive for the ‘Drug Abuse of Elders’ Category

Prescriber Checkup: Lifting the veil on dangerous prescribing

September 22, 2013

Federal officials were skeptical two years ago when ProPublica asked them to release a database of prescriptions written in Medicare’s landmark drug plan, known as Part D.

The data details the prescribing habits of more than 1 million doctors and other health professionals who treat Medicare patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had never allowed any outsider, let alone journalists, to have access to such records, which include identity codes for individual providers.

In the months that followed, ProPublica reporters argued that freeing this data could help patients assess the prescribing patterns of their health providers. The reporters pointed out that the stringent laws on the confidentiality of medical records were written to protect the privacy of patients, not doctors.

After months of high-level deliberation, CMS, to its credit, agreed to release the records — and to unveil one of medicine’s biggest secrets.

In examining the data, our reporters found powerful indications that Medicare has not done all it could to oversee its drug plan.

Some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens rely on this program — the elderly and disabled. We found that some doctors were prescribing antipsychotic drugs to large numbers of seniors — an age group for which such medicines are particularly hazardous. Others were writing unusually high numbers of prescriptions for painkillers and other dangerous drugs. Reporters systematically examined these cases, interviewing the doctors about their prescribing decisions. In some cases, they could explain their conduct. In others, they could not.

They all had one thing in common: None of the doctors whose prescribing habits stood out in our analysis had ever been questioned by Medicare officials. Government overseers, our reporters found, didn’t consider it their job to examine these patterns or act upon them.

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Prescriber Checkup: Lifting the veil on dangerous prescribing

Nurse faces drug charge

September 16, 2013

A state registered nurse supplied Temazepam prescribed for another patient to an elderly woman in a nursing home.

Patricia Connolly, 56, of Back Westgate, Hornsea admitted to supplying Temazepam to 93-year-old Bertha Hutchinson during her employment as a nurse at Northfield Manor Nursing Home in Driffield.

The offence took place in January this year.

On Wednesday 4 September at Bridlington Magistrates’ Court it was heard Connolly is a state registered nurse, and has previously worked as a psychiatric nurse.

Prosecution solicitor David Ward said: “There was an elderly lady who was 93-years-old and she appears to have been prescribed some extra Temazepam which was actually for another patient. That idea was that this would help her to sleep as she was having problems sleeping, walking round at night.

“She was reported by a cleaner as being the only nurse that didn’t follow the normal procedure. Mrs Connolly would administer the drugs without anybody else present and would ask the cleaner who was also a qualified as an assistant to sign the paper work.

“Subsequently this was reported to the doctor and saying perhaps this wasn’t helping with her problem. The extra medication she was on was affecting her balance, so it may have been counter-productive.

“The defendant was interviewed and made full admissions. It is a willful administration of a prescribed drug.

“It seems quite a sad case.”

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Nurse faces drug charge

CA Elder Affairs Committee Holds Hearing Regarding Anti-Psychotic Drugs In Nursing Homes

July 19, 2013

The state Legislature’s Elder Affair’s Committee holds a hearing Tuesday to discuss the use of anti-psychotic drugs in nursing homes. It is at 10:30 a.m. in Room B-2 at the State House.

“An Act Relative to Psychotropic Medications,” (S. 303) would require long term care facilities in Massachusetts to obtain written consent before administering a psychotropic medication to a resident. Caregivers with the health workers union, 1199SEIU, will testify.

Caregivers will share their experiences with residents with dementia and advocate for alternative treatments to anti-psychotic drugs. The alternatives include person-centered care, consistent assignments and adequate staffing levels. The health care union leadership will explain how it believes the legislation would reduce the rates of anti-psychotic drug administration in elder care facilities.

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CA Elder Affairs Committee Holds Hearing Regarding Anti-Psychotic Drugs In Nursing Homes