UPDATED 8:16 AM PT — Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018
An error overlooked by members of a Tennessee nursing board is allowing a nurse practitioner, who over prescribed opioids to patients, keep her license.
State attorneys are accusing 43-year-old Christina Collins of giving out a “colossal” amount of opioids — more than 31 times the current recommendation by the state’s government. Collin’s was able to keep her nursing license after giving a patient 51 pills a day in 2011.
Officials have petitioned the decision, saying it should be thrown out after a member of the board violated basic rules of evidence by doing her own online research and then using it to misinform other board members. The member claimed doctors and nurses received little guidance as to what the proper procedures were for large opioid prescriptions.
Collins, who was the ninth highest opioid prescriber in the state, reportedly sent hundreds of pills in the communities of eastern Tennessee, where the opioid crisis hit hard.
During a medical discipline trial earlier this year, she admitted to routinely prescribing massive doses to patients she never actually examined.
The following is a transcript from a 2017 board of nursing hearing:
State Attorney – “So, she can take up to 6 milligrams of Xanax everyday?
Collins – “Uh-huh.”
Attorney – “And then she can take one 10-milligram Ambien every day as well?”
Collins – “Yes, at bedtime.”
Attorney – “And you wrote these without seeing the patient?”
Collins – “Well, this was a prescription refill, so.”
Attorney – “So your refill was based solely on documentation in the chart and not an examination of the patient yourself?”
Collins – “Well when a patient comes in for a refill, then they are worked up, like we’ve talked about, by the staff and somebody’s laying eyes on them, making sure that they are actually present, there and able to function.”
The state’s Department of Health said her prescriptions were so large they could only be used for suicide and drug trafficking.
Furthermore, Collin’s reportedly continued to give out prescriptions even after patients failed drug tests, lost pills or even overdosed. However, Tennessee’s Board of Nursing allowed Collins to continue writing opioid prescriptions.
She was sentenced to two-years of professional probation, but continued to work at small clinics and nursing homes in the Knoxville area. The state has petitioned a judge to order the board to reconsider.