KAILUA-KONA — A former Kona nurse accused of falsely obtaining narcotic medications from automated hospital medication dispensing machines has surrendered her Hawaii nursing license.
Michelle R. Prather voluntarily surrendered her Hawaii nursing license as part of a settlement agreement with the state Board of Nursing effective July 5. The now-Ohio resident is barred from applying for a Hawaii nursing license for five years.
The action was included in the DCCA’s Aug. 13 summary of disciplinary actions taken during July on individuals and entities with professional and vocational licenses in Hawaii.
The settlement agreement follows a complaint the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Regulated Industries Complaint Office (RICO) received alleging that “while employed at Kona Community Hospital from Dec. 15, 2015, to Feb. 9, 2016,” Prather falsely obtained without authorization controlled narcotic substances from two of the hospital’s automated medication dispensing machines.
According to the filed settlement agreement, the RICO alleged Prather, specifically, on or about Feb. 1, 2016, dispensed hydrocodone from a Pyxis MedStation for a patient who did not request the medication and thereafter did not receive any hydrocodone from Prather.
The office further alleged that Prather falsified the patient’s record in reporting the administration of the medication to the patient and “diverted” the medication, according to the settlement’s uncontested facts to which Prather acknowledged RICO has sufficient cause for disciplinary action against her license but did not admit to violating any law or rule.
Prather was issued her license on March 9, 2012, according to the department.
It is unclear how long or where she worked at Kona Community Hospital.
“For privacy reasons, our policy doesn’t allow me to discuss disciplinary actions or personnel issues,” Judy Donovan, the hospital’s spokeswoman, said via email in response to questions about the allegations contained in the settlement and Prather’s employment with the hospital.
She continued, “However, I can say that we have strict policies, procedures security that outline protocol for the hospital’s Pyxis MedStations and medication dispensing.”
Meanwhile, Hawaii Police this week confirmed that a warrant remains active for Prather’s arrest stemming from a 2017 complaint filed by Hawaii County prosecutors.
Prather faces one count of knowingly or intentionally obtaining or attempting to obtain any controlled substance or procuring or attempting to procure the administration of any controlled substance by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, embezzlement, theft and/or forgery or alteration of a prescription or of any written order and/or furnishing fraudulent medical information or the concealment of a material fact and/or by the use of a false name, patient identification number or the giving of a false address, according to a felony information complaint filed June 16, 2017, in 3rd Circuit Court. The offense is a violation of Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 329-42.
The document states the alleged offenses occurred from Dec. 25, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016.
If she is convicted, the class C felony offense is punishable by up to five years incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000, according to Hawaii Revised Statutes.