DANVILLE, Va. – Sovah Health will pay the United States $4.36 million to settle claims that it violated the Controlled Substances Act in several instances between 2017 and 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The claims center around Sovah Health’s failure “to have effective controls in place to prevent the diversion of powerful painkilling prescription opioids.”
Officials report that from 2017 to 2019, a Sovah Health employee, 60-year-old Paulette G Toller, diverted more than 11,000 Schedule II controlled substances from Sovah Health. Toller has been sentenced to 13 months in federal prison for the illegal distribution of a controlled substance.
Then, from January to May 2020, another Sovah Health employee, 31-year-old Emilee Kathryn Poteat, tampered with Fentanyl vials and hydromorphone injectables by replacing the controlled substance with saline and diverting the controlled substance. Poteat was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for tampering with consumer products and making false statements.
Authorities say the regional health care delivery system must undergo a period of four years of “increased compliance and oversight” as part of the resolution. If the hospital system fails to adhere to this obligation, it could face additional monetary sanctions and injunctive relief.
The settlement is the third-largest civil penalty ever obtained from a hospital system under the Controlled Substances Act and the largest ever in the Fourth Circuit, according to officials.