Blog

Pennsylvania Nurse Practitioner Faces Probation Over Fraudulent Prescriptions

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jan 16, 2023 | 0 Comments

While nurse practitioners are authorized to prescribe medications in every state, abusing that trust can result in serious consequences, including loss of license and even a criminal record--as one CNP in Pennsylvania found out recently. According to the Tribune-Review, Kari A. Halaut of Greensburg, PA, has been sentenced to three years probation for fraudulently writing hundreds of prescriptions for thousands of pills over a period of several years. In addition, both her nurse's license and her certified registered nurse practitioner's license have been suspended by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.

According to reports, Halaut wrote the fake prescriptions using prescription pads from a former employer while practicing at other facilities. She reportedly used other people's names to fill out the prescriptions, then picked up the prescriptions herself at the pharmacies. The article stops short of saying Halaut wrote the scripts for herself, but she is under mandatory orders to undergo alcohol and drug treatment during her probation. She pleaded no contest to charges of identity theft and violations of the Pharmacy Act. She is also currently seeking legal help to have her RN license reinstated by the Board, as the resulting court order does not prohibit her from doing so.

Why Prescription Writing Privileges Are Monitored Closely by State Licensing Boards

Prescription drug abuse and misuse are significant public health problems across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 107,000 overdose deaths in 2021, many of which were caused by prescription drugs (particularly opioids). To avert these types of tragedies, states have implemented laws that hold healthcare providers accountable for prescribing medications that are not medically necessary or otherwise appropriate. (In the case of Kari Halaut, investigators were able to track her prescription writing practices through Pennsylvania's drug monitoring program.)

Consequences of Writing Fraudulent Prescriptions

Not every licensed healthcare professional is authorized to write prescriptions, but whether or not you are authorized to do so in your profession, writing fraudulent prescriptions is a serious offense that can have severe consequences. Writing fraudulent prescriptions includes providing a prescription for any controlled substance without medical necessity or providing a prescription with the intent to deceive or defraud. The state boards in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York all have the authority to suspend or revoke your license to practice if they find evidence that you have written fraudulent prescriptions.

The trouble may not end there. Even if you're allowed to keep your license, any drug violation may be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB). The NPDB is used by hospitals and other healthcare organizations as part of their credentialing process when hiring new practitioners. Therefore, any violation reported on your record may impact your ability to find employment in the future.

Getting Legal Help if You Are Accused of Wrongdoing

Even if you're a healthcare professional facing allegations of improper prescription writing, that doesn't automatically mean you can no longer practice. Even in the case of Kari Halaut, her no-contest plea to criminal charges still left the door open to reinstatement of her registered nurse's license on approval by the Board. Even so, the stakes are high, so the best way to protect your license and your career is to seek help from an experienced professional license defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help licensed professionals in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and beyond, who are facing possible disciplinary action. To schedule a consultation, contact the Lento Law Firm today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience fighting for the futures of his professional clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and also nationwide. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

CONTACT US TODAY

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are committed to answering your questions about Physician License Defense, Nursing License Defense, Pharmacist License Defense, Psychologist and Psychiatrist License Defense, Dental License Defense, Chiropractic License Defense, Real Estate License Defense, Professional Counseling License Defense, and Other Professional Licenses law issues in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact him today to schedule an appointment.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu