Boulder Health System, Physician Assistant, and Nurse Practitioner Agree to Resolve Investigation into Improper Prescribing of Opioids
(STL.News) The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Boulder Community Health, a not-for-profit health system in Boulder, Colorado, Christopher Kreider (a Physician Assistant), and Bonnie Wilensky (a Nurse Practitioner), have agreed to resolve allegations relating to improper opioid prescribing at the Mapleton Pain Clinic in Boulder. The allegations are that Kreider and Wilensky wrote prescriptions for opioids in dosages, at frequencies, and in combinations with other substances that were outside the course of their professional practice.
As a result, these prescriptions were not valid under State law and not covered by the Medicare Part D program. BCH will pay $350,000. Kreider has agreed to have his practice supervised for the next two years and to complete 60 hours of continuing education regarding the prescribing of controlled substances, addiction, and alternatives to opioids for pain management. Wilensky has agreed not to prescribe any controlled substances for a period of two years.
Boulder Community Health owned the Mapleton Pain Clinic, a multi-disciplinary clinic treating patients with chronic pain that operated in Boulder. Boulder Community Health closed the Mapleton Pain Clinic in March 2017. The United States alleges that, while employed at the Mapleton Pain Clinic, Kreider and Wilensky regularly wrote prescriptions for opioids at high dosages and in dangerous combinations with other controlled substances (such as benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants), ignoring indications of patient substance use disorder, misuse and abuse of prescriptions, and mental health issues.
The United States also contends that Boulder Community Health, by its ownership of the Mapleton Pain Clinic, failed to properly supervise its employees’ prescribing practices and implement appropriate controls to prevent the improper prescribing of addictive opioid medications and other controlled substances.
“Medical professionals are required to follow proper professional practices when they prescribe opioids and other potentially dangerous drugs, and their employers are responsible for properly supervising those professionals,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “When professionals violate the rules, our office will pursue them and their employers.”
“By improperly prescribing opioids, health care providers put the health and safety of their patients at risk and undermine critical measures to address the opioid epidemic,” said Curt L. Muller, Special Agent in Charge with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General. “HHS-OIG will continue working with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who exploit patient addiction for personal gain.”
The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.
This case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Marcy E. Cook and Jessica E. Matthews.