Health & Medicine

Dignity Health agrees to pay $1.55 million to settle claims that it failed to keep tabs on painkillers

Dignity Health agreed to pay the federal government $1.55 million to settle claims that its Sacramento area facilities failed to keep tabs on painkillers and other drugs, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The big health care provider agreed to pay $1.25 million immediately, while the remaining $300,000 "will be deferred pending Dignity Health's compliance over the next two years with a detailed action plan," federal officials announced.

The Drug Enforcement Agency began investigating after 20,000 hydrocodone tablets disappeared from the outpatient pharmacy at a Dignity hospital in Stockton, St. Joseph's Medical Center. The agency found that "several Dignity Health locations were failing to keep accurate records" of their medications, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Following the investigation, Dignity top leaders have worked with the DEA and federal prosecutors to develop an action plan to fix the problem.