POST 98. December 28, 2020. CORONAVIRUS. “Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new penalties in order to rein in possible vaccination fraud…

“A New York health care provider is being probed over accusations that it illegally acquired COVID-19 vaccines and inoculated people against state guidelines.

The State Department of Health received reports that ParCare Community Health Network in Orange County “may have fraudulently obtained COVID-19 vaccine, transferred it to facilities in other parts of the state in violation of state guidelines and diverted it to members of the public,” according to a statement from state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

The Department of Health and New York State Police are conducting a criminal investigation to determine if ParCare misappropriated the vaccine and violated its distribution plan.” (A)

“Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new penalties in order to rein in possible vaccination fraud as suspected by Parcare Community Health Network which allegedly received the vaccine and distributed to regions and individuals who were not prioritized under state and federal law.

According to the governor, practitioners who break this law will be subject to a $1 million fine as well as all state licenses being revoked.

“You’ll have fraud in the vaccine process it’s almost an inevitable function of human nature, and of the marketplace. Vaccines are valuable and there’ll be people who break the law. And we’re looking at one health care provider who may have done that,” Cuomo said. “That will apply to a provider, a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist any licensed health care professional. So, if you engage in fraud on this vaccine, we will remove your license to practice in the state of New York.”

New York State Police will be leading investigations into healthcare providers who misrepresent how they will be distributing the vaccine will then be in the hands of Attorney General Letitia James.

“We provide them the vaccine because they fraudulently filled out a form that said that they were a qualified health center, that was incorrect, so that was strike one and number two they moved it from one area to another area, which was inappropriate,” state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said. “So that strike two, and then they gave it to people who were not on the priority list and so that was strike three.” (B)

“At NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, one of the most highly regarded hospitals in New York City, a rumor spread last week that the line for the coronavirus vaccine on the ninth floor was unguarded and anyone could stealthily join and receive the shot.

Under the rules, the most exposed health care employees were supposed to go first, but soon those from lower-risk departments, including a few who spent much of the pandemic working from home, were getting vaccinated.

The lapse, which occurred within 48 hours of the first doses arriving in the city, incited anger among staff members — and an apology from the hospital…

The arrival of thousands of vaccine doses in New York City hospitals last week was greeted with an outpouring of hope from doctors and nurses who had worked through the devastating first wave in March and April. But for now, the vaccine is in very short supply, and some hospitals seem to have stumbled through the rollout.

Most of the vaccinations in the New York region to date have involved hospitals giving shots to their own employees, a relatively easy process compared with what is to come as part of the largest vaccination initiative in the nation since the 1940s…

Health care workers and nursing home residents and staff members form what is called Phase 1 of New York State’s vaccine distribution plan. About two million people are in this group, and the state’s initial allocation of the vaccine most likely means that Phase 2, which includes essential workers, won’t begin until late January. (Widespread distribution isn’t likely to begin until the summer, officials have said.)

But the state has left it mostly to each health care institution to devise a vaccination plan during the first phase. In the first week of vaccinations, many hospitals chose a wide variety of health care workers — nurses, doctors, housekeepers — from emergency rooms and intensive care units to be the first at their institutions to receive the vaccine. But in the days after the celebrations accompanying the first shots, the moods at hospitals have shifted.”  (C)

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