LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A former Lufkin hospital nurse accepted a plea bargain agreement of seven years of probation for stealing prescription medications and then billing the meds to patients.
Tammy Jane Pope, 47, appeared in front of Judge Gerald Goodwin for a plea hearing Friday morning. As part of the plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to second-degree felony fraudulent delivery of a controlled substance or prescription.
In addition to the probation, Pope will be drug tested, and she will be required to complete a treatment program. Pope will also have to go through a class for nurses who get in trouble with the law to get her license back.
"At first the state wanted to suspend her nursing license and so what we worked out was that she would go through the program through the State of Texas Nursing Board and based on that she just has to successfully complete that program," said Poe's attorney Ryan Deaton.
Pope will also have to pay restitution and will have to complete 200 hours of community service.
According to Yana Ogletree, the public information officer for CHI St. Luke's Health Memorial Hospital, Pope was fired from her position as a nurse at the hospital on Jan. 15.
According to the arrest affidavit, a Lufkin Police officer spoke to the director of pharmacy for CHI St. Luke's Health Memorial Hospital in Lufkin on Jan. 15.
The pharmacy director told the officer that over an unknown amount of time, Pope had been stealing prescription medication from the hospital. According to the initial police report, the pharmacy director told the LPD officer that in October 2014, it was brought to her attention that patients were being billed for prescriptions they did not receive.
Over the course of an internal investigation, the hospital's administration discovered surveillance video that allegedly showed Pope "removing prescription pharmaceutical drugs and billing a patient falsely in order to keep the pharmaceutical drug."
The LPD detective that took over the case, obtained medical records including patient names, hospital room numbers, dates, and the type of medication charged to the room by Pope.
According to the affidavit, Pope made 45 separate charges to various patients where a total 76 milligrams, or 38 2-mg bottles, of injectable Hydromorohone was charged and taken. In addition, Pope also allegedly took morphine and Meperidine and charged those to patients as well.
In all of the cases found by the LPD detective, there was no doctor's order or documentation supporting the prescription medication doses that were pulled by Pope, the affidavit stated. Of the 109 unauthorized charges, 34 of them were charged to the patients' Medicare or Medicaid benefits. In addition, at least one of the instances, the patient wasn't even in the hospital at the time when he or she was charged for the prescription drug on Dec. 12, 2014, the affidavit stated.