The case of the “nurse” who wasn’t and the importance of background searches

Alleged Nurse of the Year Betty Lichtenstein

Alleged "Nurse of the Year" Betty Lichtenstein

Once upon a time there was a Nurse named Betty Lichtenstein.  Betty was a fine nurse, or so it seemed, so fine in fact that she was awarded “Nurse of the Year” by the Connecticut Nursing Association in 2008.  There was an awards dinner and everyone showed up to honor Betty, even the doctor she worked for in a private practice who presented her with the award.

Everything was peachy, or so it seemed until Nurse Betty was arrested three months ago at a local pharmacy, charged with illegally obtaining prescription painkillers.  The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in the Office of the Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s office came a-knockin thereafter and discovered that Betty wasn’t a nurse at all.

But what about that “Nurse of the Year” award you say?  How could a prestigious organization of Connecticut Nurses have her listed as a nurse, no less honor her, if she wasn’t a nurse at all?  Because she made up the whole thing.  Even the nursing association didn’t exist.  And that dinner?  She funded it from her own pocket.

Pretty unbelievable, huh?  Well, believe it.  That’s “Nurse” Betty’s mug shot to the left. Because “Nurse” Betty worked for a private practice there was no organized credentialing process as with most hospitals.  Nurse Betty could have gone undetected for a long time.  Until, of course, someone was hurt and, well, you know the rest.

Nurse Betty has been arraigned and, if convicted, faces up to five years in prison.  You can avoid the predicament of Nurse Betty’s employer by conducting thorough background searches for every new employee, including independent verification of licensure status with the appropriate agencies.

To read the news article, click here.

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