LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A Kentucky hospital system will pay a $4.4 million civil penalty for faulty recordkeeping that enabled a pharmacy technician to divert 60,000 doses of opioids, federal prosecutors announced.
Pikeville Medical Center self-reported the diversion, cooperated with a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation and has taken “substantial steps” to address its problems ahead of the settlement, which does not determine any liability, according to a statement Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lexington.
“The size of this fine shows how serious this situation is,” said agent Todd Scott, who leads the DEA’s Louisville division. “Hopefully, Pikeville Medical Center will do a better job in the future with their record keeping and the resulting harm inflicted on the community can be reversed.”
Prosecutors said a failure to maintain accurate and complete inventories and dispensing records enabled Kayla Nicole White Perry, then a pharmacy technician at the hospital, to divert more than 60,000 doses of oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone from the hospital system's narcotics vault and Pyxis MedStations from January 2016 through early September 2018.
She and her husband William Chad Perry pleaded guilty in 2020 to a conspiracy to distribute the drugs. She was sentenced to 41 months in prison, while he was sentenced to 38 months.
The hospital system told the Lexington Herald Leader that no patients there were deprived of medication or harmed because of the diversion.
A three-year memorandum of agreement between the hospital and the DEA includes inspection, reporting and training requirements.
“We have taken multiple steps and invested in new technology to better detect and prevent medication diversion in our facility,” a hospital statement said. “Pikeville Medical Center and our current leadership is committed to being the provider and employer of choice for healthcare in the southeastern Kentucky community by providing quality care to our patients.”