has agreed to pay $1.55 million to resolve claims it mishandled controlled substances.
The 37-hospital system based in San Francisco will pay $1.25 million immediately, with the remainder to be submitted as deferred payment pending two-year compliance and an action plan.
The Justice Department's Drug Enforcement Administration investigated Dignity after one of its hospitals, St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton, Calif., lost more than 20,000 hydrocodone tablets from its outpatient pharmacy in 2010 and 2011. Federal officials said hydrocodone, a narcotic pain medication, is often obtained from legitimate healthcare sources and then pushed onto the black market.
The DEA found that several Dignity facilities in the Sacramento, Calif., area had not properly recorded the status of prescription drugs and other controlled substances. Dignity said it has already worked with the government to create an action plan. —Bob HermanFollow Bob Herman on Twitter: @MHbherman