Former Ball Memorial Hospital nurse arrested, accused of stealing opioids

MUNCIE, Ind. -- A former Ball Memorial Hospital nurse is facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing pills. She's the fourth nurse since last March charged with taking medications from the hospital.

On Thursday, Rose Johnson turned herself in to the Delaware County Sheriff's Office on multiple charges. She posted a $15,000 bond and was released.

According to court records, a drug diversion investigator with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Unit found Johnson was stealing medications from a locked box system at the hospital.

Court records show multiple instances where Johnson charted incorrectly and suspected "diversion" of drugs. When interviewed by investigators, court records noted Johnson "claimed to be more knowledgeable regarding pain management than other nurses and apparently doctors." She told them she would pass a drug screen test.

Court records showed that drug screen test was positive for opioids.

According to investigators, Johnson also told them discrepancies in charting were due to data entry errors because the "sign" button and "cancel" button are next to each other.

The investigation revealed that on at least six occasions between Sept. 20, 2017 and Oct. 2, 2017, Johnson stole opioids, according to court records.

Ball Memorial Hospital representatives said the Proactive Drug Diversion Team is working with investigators.

Johnson is the fourth nurse from Ball Memorial Hospital to be arrested since last March. In a statement, hospital representatives said:

"We will continue to support our oversight processes to protect our patients and our team members when it comes to the use of medications in our facilities."
The attorney general's office has seen various recent similar cases.
"There’s 90,000, 100,000 nurses in the state of Indiana. To think they're going to be untouched by the opioid problem is naive," explained Jessica Krug, Supervisory Deputy with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.
If you think a nurse may be stealing drugs, you can file a complaint with the Indiana State Board of Nursing or Office of the Indiana Attorney General.
You can also encourage a nurse to contact the Indiana Nurses Assistance Program by calling 1-800-638-6623 or 317-295-9862