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Post date: June 18 2007

Attorney General Cuomo Announces Arrest Of West Islip Narcotic-stealing Nurse; Secures Guilty Pleas From Fraudulent Home Health Aides

ALBANY, NY (June 18, 2007) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of a West Islip nurse who stole narcotics from two facilities and guilty pleas from three Brooklyn home health aides for stealing from Medicaid by using falsified certificates to provide services they were not qualified to perform.

Registered Nurse Rosann Silvia, 46, of Colony Dr. in Holbrook, was charged with 13 counts in a felony complaint for stealing narcotics, falsifying records to cover up the theft and endangering the welfare of her patient. She was arraigned at District Court in Central Islip by Judge John Iliou. If convicted, she faces up to 25 years in prison.

“The sick depend on health care providers to provide treatment, not neglect,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This nurse’s lack of judgment and responsibility and her blatant disregard for her patients, duties and the law put innocent people at risk, and my office will ensure that justice is delivered.”

Silvia was employed at Patchogue’s Brookhaven Memorial Hospital in 2006 and at West Islip’s Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center in 2007. An investigation by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit revealed that Silvia reported in a Brookhaven Memorial patient’s chart that she had given the patient three doses of 3 mg of morphine from three separate 10 mg vials during her shift, and that she had properly destroyed the excess of the narcotic. In fact, Silvia did not provide any of the medication to her patient, but instead stole the entire 30 mg of morphine for her own use (the patient did not actually need the narcotic and had slept peacefully through Silvia’s shift). Witnesses indicated that on the morning of October 2, 2006, Silvia could not stay awake, keep her eyes open or even stand on her own two feet. She could not attend to the needs of her patient nor was she able to communicate coherently with other nurses about her patient’s condition. She was also unable to give a report to the nurse coming on duty, as is customary at the change of shift.

Silvia subsequently worked at Our Lady of Consolation Nursing and Rehabilitative Care Center until March 23, 2007, when it was discovered that she had stolen a total of three 10 ml vials of Dilaudid (a hydrogenated ketone of morphine) on two different dates and had falsified records to hide her thefts, including creating false narcotic inventory sheets and forging another nurse’s name.

In a separate case, Attorney General Cuomo also announced that former Brooklyn-based home health aides Irina Barisavili Jansen, 43 (formerly of Brooklyn, now in Colorado); Bella Scott, 42 (of Bayshore, Queens) and Ano Chiarella, 47 (of Montauk) all pleaded guilty to Petit Larceny (a class A misdemeanor) before State Supreme Court Justice John Ingram in Brooklyn Supreme Court Part 21.

Each will pay restitution to the state at time of sentencing, scheduled for August 24. Jansen will pay $10,000, Scott will pay $3,000, and Chiarella will pay $5,000.

The individuals purchased bogus certificates falsely certifying that they had been trained to provide home health services. Under the law, these services must be provided by those who have successfully completed a training program licensed by the Department of Health or the State Education Department, with a minimum 75 hours of training and 16 hours of supervised practical training by a Registered Nurse.

“These individuals perpetrated blatant fraud against New York’s taxpayers and the state Medicaid program,” said Attorney General Cuomo.

The Silvia case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Veronica Bindrim-MacDevitt of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s Long Island Regional Office under the supervision of Alan Buonpastore, Regional Director. Senior Special Investigators Erik Podszus and Thomas McBride conducted the investigation of this case with the assistance of Medical Analyst Karen Patterson, R.N.

The home health aide cases are being prosecuted by New York City Regional Director Richard Harrow under the supervision of Heidi Wendel, head of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.