Northern Maine Medical Center Agrees to Pay $125,000 to Settle Civil Controlled Substances Act Allegations
Northern Maine Medical Center (“NMMC”), has entered into a civil settlement agreement with the United States in which it will pay $125,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”).
Controlled substances are strictly regulated in the United States because of their potential for abuse and the danger they pose if improperly used. The CSA establishes a closed system of controls over the handling of controlled substances by registrants, including hospitals, pharmacies and rehabilitation facilities. Violations of the CSA concerning dispensing and administering, distribution, recordkeeping, and other related activities can result in civil penalties.
NMMC is a hospital in Fort Kent, Maine. In addition to acute care services, NMMC also offers long term care and skilled rehabilitation at a location at 25 Bolduc Avenue, in Fort Kent, known as Forest Hill. NMMC operates as a Hospital/Clinic registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), but does not have a separate registration for Forest Hill.
The settlement resolves allegations that NMMC negligently failed to maintain and keep records of its destruction of Schedule II through V controlled substances at Forest Hill and at its on-site pharmacy. The CSA requires registrants to document the amount, date and manner of destruction and disposal of controlled substances. The Government alleged that the only information NMMC maintained concerning the destruction of controlled substances at Forest Hill was a notation that the drug was “wasted”; that NMMC pharmacy records omitted the manner of disposal; and that NMMC unlawfully distributed controlled substances at Forest Hill because it did not have a registration permitting it to distribute and dispense controlled substances there.
NMMC admitted no wrongdoing in resolving the matter and contended that its actions at all times complied with the applicable CSA requirements. NMMC cooperated fully throughout the investigation.
The case was investigated by the DEA’s Office of Diversion Control. The civil action is docketed United States v. Northern Maine Medical Center, 16-cv-00445-JDL (D. Me.).