Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced plans Tuesday to stop pharmaceutical drug thefts in adult care facilities. The governor plans to offer help to every nursing home, assisted living agency and residential care facility in Ohio.
DeWine said that the effort is a response to growing concerns over prescription drug abuse, including drug theft, by care facility employees. "Every time this happens a real patient is deprived of the medication they need to get well," said Attorney General DeWine. "This is why my office is now contacting facility administrators throughout the state. We want to remind them that we can help."
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) of the Ohio Attorney General's Office is authorized to review and investigate complaints of elderly abuse, neglect, and drug diversion. Along with the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman and the Ohio Department of Health, the MFCU can also seek the prosecution of suspects.
"Our law enforcement officers have been aggressively shutting down 'pill mills' across the state, but now addicts may turn to care facilities to feed their dependence," DeWine said. "We want to remind those who work in these licensed care facilities that they have the mandatory duty, as required by law, to report suspicions of abuse, neglect or drug diversion."
Beginning next week, administrators of every care facility in the state will receive a letter reminding them of their obligation under state law to report suspected illegal activity and that investigative assistance is available through the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Anyone who suspects abuse, neglect or drug diversion in one of Ohio's care facilities can file a complaint by contacting the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at 614-466-0722, by calling the Attorney General's Help Desk at 800-282-0515.