Kindred Healthcare is headed back to court after the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine on July 27 rejected its request for a summary judgment in a wrongful discharge lawsuit filed by a former executive director the company said was fired for violating state regulations by accepting a medication order from a physician over the phone.
Potitsa Schott was executive director of Monarch Center, an assisted living and memory care community in Saco, ME, that was operated by Kindred Healthcare company Maine Assisted Living LLC, when the March 9, 2015, incident occurred.
The company, according to court documents, said Schott accepted an over-the-phone order from a physician stopping an antipsychotic medication for a new resident who had dementia and “exhibited challenging behavior, including physical altercations with staff and another resident.” Schott, however, said she dealt directly with the physician over the phone, with family members present, because it was an “emergency medical situation” and there were no other clinical professionals in the building. State regulations only specify that assisted living communities provide a registered nurse “weekly.”
Schott subsequently called 911, and the resident was transferred to the hospital for an evaluation. He died in hospice care about a week later.
According to the court documents, an internal investigation by Kindred found that Schott had “accepted” and “transcribed” the physician’s order in violation of state regulations, which dictate that only registered nurses and pharmacists can accept medication orders over the phone. Schott, however, reportedly disputed Kindred’s findings, saying that she did not write anything in the resident’s medical record and merely verbally conveyed to staff the doctor’s and family’s concerns related to the resident’s medication.
Kindred told McKnight’s Senior Living that it does not comment on pending litigation and no longer owns the assisted living community.