Evansdale Nurse Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing Pain Medication from Elderly Nursing Home Resident in Waterloo
An Evansdale nurse who stole pain medication from an elderly nursing home resident in Waterloo was sentenced on January 4, 2023, to federal prison. Kelsey Ann Baxter, age 33, received the prison term after a July 19, 2022 guilty plea to one count of acquiring a controlled substance by means of misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge.
In a plea agreement, Baxter admitted she was working at a Waterloo nursing home as a licensed practical nurse in the State of Iowa. In April 2021, Baxter was caught stealing and consuming two morphine pills that were intended for an elderly resident of the nursing home. The nursing home investigated and discovered that Baxter had diverted 43 morphine pills to her own use over a two-week period in April 2021. The elderly resident of the nursing home, who suffered pain from physical ailments, indicated that she had not received pain medication even though Baxter had documented in the elderly resident’s handwritten and electronic medical records that the resident had received the pain medication. The nursing home terminated Baxter’s employment after she tested positive for opiates without having a prescription for them. The nursing home had previously suspected Baxter of drug diversion as she was noticeably slurring her speech and disoriented while on the job. Baxter admitted she falsified the elderly nursing home resident’s physical and electronic medical records and the nursing home’s narcotics logs.
While this case was pending, Baxter repeatedly violated the terms of her pretrial release. Ultimately, a federal judge ordered Baxter confined in her home while awaiting her sentencing hearing, because she repeatedly used controlled substances while on pretrial release. In July 2022, Baxter was convicted in state court of making a false report to law enforcement before she was charged in federal court.
Baxter was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Baxter was sentenced to one month imprisonment. She must also serve a one-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. Baxter also agreed to forfeit her State of Iowa nursing license to the United States.
In 2016, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa was selected as one of 10 districts in the nation to form an Elder Justice Task Force (http://go.usa.gov/cSngj). The task force was assembled to foster a collaborative working relationship among all levels of government officials, advocacy groups for the elderly and the disabled, and others charged with the care and protection for these vulnerable groups. The goals include ensuring the integrity of all government expenditures by eliminating fraud, waste, and abuse in health programs, and protecting some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens from harm, whether it occurs in nursing homes or other institutions or involves financial fraud schemes. To learn more about the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, visit: https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/.
Baxter was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and investigated by the Iowa Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 22-CR-2040.
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