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No-Good ‘Nurse’ Nets 51 Months in Prison

A Tennessee woman who posed as a nurse for several years has been sentenced to 51 months in federal prison and 3 years of supervised release, the U.S. Department of Justice announced last week.

Misty Dawn Bacon, 44, worked as a nurse for at least eight healthcare providers from 2012-2018 in eastern Tennessee, according to reports, even though she never secured a nursing license or degree and lacked previous nursing experience.

Bacon pleaded guilty in December to wire fraud, healthcare fraud, and using another person’s identity to commit federal and state offenses, including practicing a profession without a license.

“Her imposter status gave her access to real patients, and Bacon rendered actual medical care to numerous patients, including dispensing medications, obtaining invasive access to patient’s bodies, and becoming privy to patients’ sensitive, private medical information. Due to her lack of qualifications, Bacon created a serious risk of injury, and even death, to patients she was treating,” the Justice Department said.

Said state senator Richard Briggs, also a doctor: “This is one of the most egregious cases I’ve heard about.”

Leveraging a state database, Bacon used the first names and license numbers of registered nurses to pass herself off as one.

She claimed she had earned a nursing degree from Walters State Community College or Carson Newman University; she had attended Walters State but did not secure a nursing degree there.

“To everyone, I truly apologize. I wish I could make it better, but I can’t,” she said, according to a local television station.

He daughter and grandchildren needed to keep their home, according to her attorneys, explaining her motive.

The presiding judge said he hopes medical employers will scrutinize hiring more thoroughly. Tennessee does not mandate fingerprinting for healthcare provider employment, Briggs said, so the only solution is lawsuits.

Home care provider Amedisys reported it lost nearly $500,000 due to Bacon’s fraud; a company compliance officer said she “damaged” nearly 400 patients over a year working there.

Bacon also worked at Premier Support Services, Jefferson City Health and Rehabilitation Center, Hillcrest Healthcare Communities, Five Rivers OB/GYN, Camellia Home Health of East Tennessee and Life Care Centers of America, the station reported.

“I believe that this ruling will send out a message to others who may feel like this is something they can do. To make a little bit of extra money or just somebody that may attempt to try this in the future,” said a nurse whose name Bacon had used.

Last Updated September 28, 2020

  • Ryan Basen reports for MedPage‚Äôs enterprise & investigative team. He has worked as a journalist for more than a decade, earning national and state honors for his investigative work. He often writes about issues concerning the practice and business of medicine. Follow

Source: MedicalNewsToday.com