Estes Park Medical Center officials confirm drug investigation

Full story: Estes Park Trail-Gazette

Officials at the Estes Park Medical Center have confirmed that there is a police investigation under way into an alleged theft of drugs at the hospital in March.

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So the thief

Fort Collins, CO

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#1
Jun 2, 2013
 

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is a drug addict, and as such is protected by HIPPA and can't be talked about? Bureaucracy run amok! Swenson sounds as mealy-mouthed as they get. I hope Hessel gets a good lawyer and his job back.
Sunny

Denver, CO

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#2
Jun 3, 2013
 

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I think David Persons is the only TG contributor that has a working telephone. NICE WORK David, for taking the time and effort to follow up on this story. Keep up the effort though, it's far from over!
All I Want is the Truth

Estes Park, CO

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#3
Jun 3, 2013
 

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EPMC says it did everything legal and correct. Dana Hessel, Director of Pharmacy, says he was told not to report the illegal drug use. When he reported the illegal drug use, as required under his pharmacy license, he was FIRED. Then Hessel went to an open board meeting and made the story public. The truth will come out when the local police, state authorities, and Federal Drug Enforcement Agency disclose the date and person who first informed them of the drug problem at EPMC. Then we will know the truth. I can see EPMC wanting to keep the problem secret and a Director of Pharmacy wanting to disclose the problem. Hessel can have his pharmacist's license revoked if he doesn't report drug problems to authorities.
Tom

Denver, CO

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#4
Jun 3, 2013
 

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As usual a bureaucracy turns a legitimate , well meaning standard as confidentiality to their own means and end.
Doctor's do not want a national database in effect because it infringes on patient's rights'. Instead doctors want to record their own impressions of patient, however haphazard, and be free from liability.
Why not bring everything out into the realm of open opinion and public forum, so, proper judgments may be dutifully rendered?
Overcome fear, show courage and we may progress as a community.

Tom H.,Estes Park
Kathleen BSN RN EPMC

United States

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#5
Jun 3, 2013
 

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On behalf of my co-workers at the Estes Park Medical Center and of nurses in general, I am compelled to write in defense of one of my favorite nurses. Smart, compassionate, patient, responsible and fun. Excellent teacher, great team leader, respected by both co-workers and patients alike. In many ways the heart of our unit. We miss her dearly.

I cringe at the bitterness of the tone of those who so easily judge. Thieves, drug addicts, mealy-mouthed CEO’s and doctors who record haphazard impressions to keep themselves free from liability? Please…These are my people you are badmouthing.

I consider myself fortunate to be working in a facility where our CEO’s, both past and present, as well as our entire Senior Leadership go out of their way to know each and every employee. I am proud of the fact that Bobbi Swenson, our interim CEO and former Director of Nursing admits to having compassion for the nurse involved. I am proud to be associated with an organization that is willing to hold employees, regardless of stature, accountable for violations of privacy concerning other co-workers to the same degree expected with our clients.

Be assured there is more to this story than is being reported in the Trail. This is not news. It is not some beaurocratic cover-up. It was a deliberate and thoughtful response by the Estes Park Medical Center to a very difficult situation involving the lives and careers of good people. I’m not sure why anyone feels it is their business to the degree that it would cause such angst?

Sincerely,
Kathleen, BSN,RN EPMC
Kathleen BSN RN EPMC

United States

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#6
Jun 3, 2013
 

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I'd like to edit the first part of my previous letter "On behalf of my co-workers.."
It should read "In defense of" and not "On behalf of".
Outside nurse

Lincoln, NE

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#7
Jun 3, 2013
 

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There are many nurses who are fired every day for this. Hippa doesn't fall on a nurse who steals narcotics from patients in a hospital. Hippa would cover if a nurse was in treatment somewhere. Nurses and Pharmacists have A DUTY to REPORT these infractions. No hospital can tell you that you can not report this. Pharmacist should have reported to the state board and left it at that. They do their investigation and then the hospital can contact police. Pharmacist was not a victim. The hospital was.
EstesNative

Louisville, CO

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#8
Jun 3, 2013
 

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Bobbi Swenson needs to go- she is worse than Robb Austin..wow..it gets worse than that?? Oh...by the way-Robert S.(HR Director/VP/Compliance Officer) no longer works at EPMC-fired?? Ran away?? He obviously did his job pretty well. There is always a cover up at that place. Note to clueless Kathleen-you are not speaking on my behalf so let's make that clear. You don't speak for everyone that works there. You are defending a drug addict, that stole drugs from EPMC and used them at EPMC???? And SLT doesn't care about the employees...HA! What a joke. Do you know how many good, long term employees left because of that crooked administration? I thought with Robb, Shirley and Marcia gone, that place may be shaping up..but obviously not. Dana should absolutely get his job back and the State needs to come in and clean house. That place has been top heavy for years-comprised of "senior leaders" that do nothing but spend money and make employees miserable. Wish people would stop sugar coating the truth. As a taxpayer, I would want to know what's going on there...and the truth will come out. GOOD JOB DANA for doing your job and exposing the dirty truth!
Another EstesNative

Longmont, CO

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#9
Jun 3, 2013
 

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it is our business and it causes great angst because as locals our taxes go toward EPMC, as a local I doctor there, as a local I have experienced the billing nightmares and the lack of staffing at night and I have kept quiet but this time I can't. I want to be assured that when things like this come up, and they will, they are addressed appropriately not brushed under the carpet or pushed to the side as it appears to have happened with this incident. Dana should have reported the incident to the proper authorities protecting both the facility and the patients as it appears he did.
Estes resident

Louisville, CO

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#10
Jun 3, 2013
 

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There is clearly more to this than what the hospital is reporting. Robert Austin, EPMC's CEO, was forced to resign a few weeks ago. Robert Stansel, an attorney and EPMC's VP-HR/Compliance Officer, was forced to resign a few days ago. I would hope the Board comes to the correct decision that Bobbi Swensen, interim CEO and former Nursing Administrator (oversees nursing departments and nurses) needs to resign also.
Tom

Denver, CO

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#11
Jun 4, 2013
 

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And with a looming criminal charge, incentive might be in place.
We the residents of Estes are the one's ultimately in charge, and accountable for loss thru increased property taxes.
A person who speaks up in the face of administrative pressure show's one of Plato's four main virtue's...courage.
Perhaps after proper public forum we'll see the other three; justice, wisdom and temperance.

Tom H.,Estes Park
InsideOut

Littleton, CO

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#12
Jun 4, 2013
 

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..on the topic of 'resignations', take a look at the last 12 months and say that there isn't an atmosphere of FEAR at the EPMC as shown by the number of ex-employees that have left by their 'own choice' or not. I'll even say that many of today's employees are so nervous about being THE NEXT ONE that they will not say anything or stand up for what is right. The BOARD is powerless. They are removed from operations of the EPMC. They are however, the taxpayers representatives and are ultimately responsible for what happens- SO DO SOMETHING! Going to work in fear of losing your job SUCKS. If you can't change the leaders, you might have to CHANGE THE LEADERSHIP. It's the employees that clock in and out and work their asses off that balance the garbage streaming out of the top end.
EstesNative

Bloomington, IL

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#13
Jun 4, 2013
 

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For the past 6 years there has been an atmosphere of fear. I was hoping with Robb, Marcia and Shirley gone that would go away but it sure hasn't. I was an "insider" for years at the hospital, I knew the ins and outs of how SLT operated and who they were conspiring against. They were evil. The Board never does anything. Even when employees stand up at the meeting and plead with them-they do nothing. It's ridiculous. Dana Hessel should most definitely sue the hell out of that place if they dont hire him back. He is a good, honest guy-Ive worked with him-I know. The never ending saga at EPMC.
Understand the LAW

United States

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#14
Jun 4, 2013
 

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Outside nurse wrote:
There are many nurses who are fired every day for this. Hippa doesn't fall on a nurse who steals narcotics from patients in a hospital. Hippa would cover if a nurse was in treatment somewhere. Nurses and Pharmacists have A DUTY to REPORT these infractions. No hospital can tell you that you can not report this. Pharmacist should have reported to the state board and left it at that. They do their investigation and then the hospital can contact police. Pharmacist was not a victim. The hospital was.
The issue you and many others are not comprehending is that the nurse fell at work and then become a PATIENT, which enacts HIPAA protections. That is why the reporting changed from just a regular diversion issue to a HIPAA issue that required special handling in reporting. Dana is just a bully, he disclosed protected information to the press, he most certainly deserves what he got.
Understand the LAW

United States

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#15
Jun 4, 2013
 

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So the thief wrote:
is a drug addict, and as such is protected by HIPPA and can't be talked about? Bureaucracy run amok! Swenson sounds as mealy-mouthed as they get. I hope Hessel gets a good lawyer and his job back.
The issue you and many others are not comprehending is that the nurse fell at work and then become a PATIENT, which enacts HIPAA protections. This is not just a simple diversion issue.
estes park resident

Greeley, CO

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#16
Jun 4, 2013
 

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Why is the EPMC BOARD NOT holding the nurse's direct supervisor accountable? That supervisor let this employee work all the time while diverting narcotics and working while on nonpresciption drugs! And the Interim CEO should be supervising that supervisor and is ultimatley responsible for the whole hospital 24/7. These employees should resign or be let go. Very suspicious that the HR attorney director left under mysterious circumstances. The BOARD needs to open their eyes and do the right thing. The pharmacist is being blamed for this whole problem when there is obvious incompetance with the supervisor and CEO. Please BOARD ACT NOW instead of being figure heads. Estes Park residents please conact the EPMC BOARD with these concerns. The pharmacist wanted to look into things like this, the BOARD and CEO are trying to act like the problem was taken care of by wrongly firing the pharmacist and that no one is was accountable for this problem. Please hold the nurse with the drug problem supervisor and the interim CEO accountable!
Understand the LAW

United States

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#17
Jun 4, 2013
 

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estes park resident wrote:
Why is the EPMC BOARD NOT holding the nurse's direct supervisor accountable? That supervisor let this employee work all the time while diverting narcotics and working while on nonpresciption drugs! And the Interim CEO should be supervising that supervisor and is ultimatley responsible for the whole hospital 24/7. These employees should resign or be let go. Very suspicious that the HR attorney director left under mysterious circumstances. The BOARD needs to open their eyes and do the right thing. The pharmacist is being blamed for this whole problem when there is obvious incompetance with the supervisor and CEO. Please BOARD ACT NOW instead of being figure heads. Estes Park residents please conact the EPMC BOARD with these concerns. The pharmacist wanted to look into things like this, the BOARD and CEO are trying to act like the problem was taken care of by wrongly firing the pharmacist and that no one is was accountable for this problem. Please hold the nurse with the drug problem supervisor and the interim CEO accountable!
It is clear you do not understand the chain of command or how a hospital functions. The board does not, by design, monitor day to day operations of the facility. The board hires, gives direction, and vision to the CEO who then runs the day to day operations of the hospital. You are very amiss if you think Dana bears no responsibility. The pharmacist is responsible for the monitoring of drug dispensing anomalies and it is obvious he missed that. Now Dana wants to make a big deal and tell stories to cover something he should have caught.
Weighing in

Estes Park, CO

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#18
Jun 4, 2013
 

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Everyone is calling for mass resignations, which I agree with totally, but my question is, why not just shut the damn place down for two months and completely clean house, you know, make sure all the records are purged and all the walls washed clean of narcotics and the toilets flushed on a regular basis and any decomposing bodies buried nearby unearthed and given a proper burial.

How it is again that the town got itself into this mess? How are those of us that would never want to step foot into that godforsaken excuse for a Bass Pro Shop supposed to care or feel responsible besides requesting that all life flights divert to Saigon or Entebbe?
Fear and Loathing

Salt Lake City, UT

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#19
Jun 4, 2013
 

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It's always easy to be an armchair quarterback. Residents of the Park Hospital District should be active and involved all the time. Go to Board meetings, ask hard questions, be informed. Perhaps if the meetings were changed to evening more residents could make the time to attend. There is a CEO and seven vice presidents who should all be able to answer any and all questions the public might have. But we do have a responsibility to be involved even when it's just the boring stuff, like authorizing the purchase of an MRI (then realizing a special building needs to be built around it) or discovering, while legal, somewhat creative ways to push back little things like getting a budget to the State in a timely manner. When you show up and are present for all the meetings, it gives a person more credibility when questions about this drug issue are asked. Just sayin...
Tom

Denver, CO

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#20
Jun 4, 2013
 

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Sounds like EPMC is to the point every bureaucracy reaches; shuffling responsibility around, people who can't comprehend the mess, and finances run amok. Not to speak of diminished quality of care.
Been the talk of the town for awhile.
And due for a house cleaning. Good.

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