Amsterdam Hospital to Pay Civil Penalty for Violations of the Controlled Substances Act
Recordkeeping Violations Complicate Diversion Prevention
ALBANY, NEW YORK – St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam, New York, agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty as a result of its Narcotic Treatment Program’s (NTP) failure to create and maintain records required by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), announced United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith.
In March 2019, Drug Enforcement Administration diversion investigators inspected St. Mary’s NTP and noted multiple recordkeeping violations. When St. Mary’s relocated its NTP in October 2018, the NTP failed to conduct the required initial inventory of methadone at the new location. Furthermore, the NTP omitted material information on multiple forms required by DEA, which are used to order and track controlled substances. The forms omitted information such as quantity of packages ordered, date the containers were received, and the correct supplier. The lack of an initial inventory, combined with incomplete forms, made it difficult to determine whether diversion was occurring at the NTP. Diversion occurs when controlled substances are transferred from legitimate distribution channels to illegitimate distribution channels. Since this matter was brought to its attention, St. Mary’s created a new position for a registered nurse to oversee controlled substance dispensing at the NTP and is implementing a policy to enhance its compliance with the CSA recordkeeping requirements.
“Reliable recordkeeping is a cornerstone of the safe distribution of prescribed drugs,” said United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith. “This settlement demonstrates that medical facilities that do not accurately keep track of addictive drugs will be held accountable. I commend St. Mary’s for promptly taking responsibility and changing its practices to enhance its compliance with the Controlled Substances Act and encourage all medical facilities to examine their own practices and ensure they are in full compliance.”
This case was investigated by the DEA’s Diversion Unit in Latham, New York. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Moran.