NY Nurse Pleads Guilty to Consumer Product Tampering in HIPAA Case

A former nurse at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center admitted to a crime of tampering with a consumer item in a case that involves fraudulence and HIPAA violations.

In 2018, there were 6 patients of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center who got infected with Sphingomonas paucimobilis in their bloodstream within a period of a couple of weeks. The investigators traced the cause of infection from syringes of hydromorphone with bacterial contamination. The cancer center believed that a nurse had taken out some of the medicine and swapped it with the same amount of water.

Kelsey Mulvey of Grand Island, NY, 28 years old, was required to go on administrative leave in June 2018 after discovering she had stolen pain medicines and resigned from her job at the cancer center last July 2018. The center notified the appropriate authorities which include the New York State Department of Health, the Bureau of Narcotics and Tobacco Enforcement, the NYS Department of Education, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. In July 2019, the U.S. Attorney’s office charged Kelsey with consumer product tampering, fraudulent acquisition of controlled substances, and criminal violations of the HIPAA Regulations.

Mulvey was accused of getting drugs like hydromorphone, oxycodone, lorazepam, and methadone supposedly for patients, adding water in the vials to cover the theft, and putting the vials with the diluted medicine into the electronic medication system. She is thought to have been unable to give pain medicine to 81 patients from February 2018 to June 2018.

Mulvey confessed to viewing patient records with no consent to look for patients who were given the drugs she like, then utilizing the drugs, and adding water to the vials.

Mulvey got into a plea deal for one count of consumer product tampering, while the two charges of fraud and HIPAA violations dropped. Under the conditions of the plea bargain, Mulvey will get a maximum sentence of 97 months in prison, then monitored release after the jail period, and will need to pay indemnification to the victims. Her medical license also got suspended permanently.