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NISKAYUNA: Nurse charged in drug theft

In recent years, Medicaid fraud has become a particularly sensitive issue in the Capital District with local officials claiming the rapidly growing cost of the program is a driving force in county property tax increases. The vulnerability of nursing home patients has also led to concern that they may be subjected to abuse by staff members.

In Schenectady County that led to the adoption of legislation several years ago that requires nursing home employees to be fingerprinted and go through criminal background checks, according to County Legislator Joseph Suhrada, R-Rotterdam. "When you are dealing with vulnerable seniors and patients, this is very serious stuff," he said.

Another local lawmaker, County Legislator Jim Buhrmaster, R-Niskayuna, expressed concern about the latest incident.

"It is critical that we do whatever we can to protect the health and safety of nursing home patients and those under medical care," Buhrmaster said. "If we have someone taking medications intended for patients and preparing false reports, it is absolute grounds for them to be removed and prosecuted if they have committed a crime." ""

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