University Physicians, Tucson, Ariz., which will take over 114-bed Kino Community Hospital from Pima County next month, has hired a criminal defense lawyer to represent it during an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of prescription drugs from the hospital pharmacy.
Law enforcement officials said more than 200,000 hydrocodone and diazepam pills, with an estimated street value of $1 million, have disappeared from the pharmacy over a two-year period. The investigation involves the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Tucson police, the U.S. attorney's office and the state board of pharmacy.
If violations are found, the hospital could be fined, put on probation or lose its pharmacy license.
Calls to the physician group and to Stanton Bloom, the lawyer it hired, were not returned by deadline.
Bloom told the Associated Press that he was hired because many of Kino's former employees now work for United, which wants to make a lawyer available to the employees if they are interviewed by investigators.