The Florida Department of Health recently issued emergency suspension or restriction orders to 28 health care professionals in Florida.
These types of suspensions are issued after it's determined that a health practitioner poses serious danger to the welfare of public health. The health department's emergency orders are not final. The health care professionals are entitled to hearings.
Of the recent suspensions, five were South Florida health care providers who were convicted of or pled guilty to criminal charges.
Here is what led to those suspensions, according to the Florida Department of Health and law enforcement investigations:
Erica Lynn Przystas-Baker, Registered Nurse, Boca Raton
On Oct. 24, 2012, Przystas-Baker was arrested on multiple charges of trafficking Oxycodone. According to police, she fraudulently obtained more than 1,000 Oxycodone pills from a pharmacy in West Palm Beach.
In August, Przystas-Baker pled guilty to one charge of attempted trafficking Oxycodone and one count of attempt to obtain a controlled substance by fraud.
Amy Topolski, Registered Pharmacy Technician, Key West
Topolski admitted stealing, hundreds of Tylenol #4 pills and 500 pills of Soma, a prescription drug used to treat muscle pain, from the CVS pharmacy where she worked.
She would swipe the pills and place them in her pocket to avoid detection, according to the health department.
The CVS pharmacy prescription manager noticed that when Topolski worked dozens of pills would come up short even though none had been dispensed to customers.
Topolski was later arrested and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of grand theft.
In the emergency order of suspension, Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong wrote, “Mrs. Topalski’s behavior in stealing approximately 1,000 Soma and Tylenol #4 pills over a period of five months demonstrates that she is lacking the good judgment needed to practice as a registered pharmacy technician.”
Idelia F. Viamontes, Licensed Practical Nurse, Miami
According to the FBI, Viamontes, of Miami, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and receive health care kickbacks.
Viamontes allegedly recruited and referred Medicare beneficiaries to multiple Miami-Dade home health care agencies in exchange for bribes and kickbacks.
Denise Frazier, Certified Nursing Assistant, Miami
Frazier pled guilty to cocaine possession.
Roger Rousseau, Medical Doctor, Miami
Rousseau of Miami was convicted of two counts of health care fraud.
According to the FBI, Rousseau, the former medical director of now defunct Health Care Solutions Network Inc., fraudulently billed Medicare and Medicaid for mental health services that were not needed or were never provided.
The criminal investigation also found that Rousseau regularly fabricated medical records without ever meeting with the patients.