State shells out $425,000 in settlement for doctor’s blank prescriptions

June 6, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa -- A physician now practicing in Sioux City will cost the state of Iowa $425,000 for pre-signing blank prescriptions.

The Iowa Appeal Board approved a settlement Monday, which calls for University of Iowa Health Care to pay Henry County Health Center $425,000 through its affiliate entity, University of Iowa Physicians, to cover expenses incurred as a result of Dr. Susan Roeder signing blank prescription pads and physician order sheets.

Before joining the staff at June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City as a hematologist/oncologist in 2016, Roeder worked for 13 years for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She served as a clinical outreach director and clinical associate professor for the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation.

According to documents provided by the Iowa Appeal Board, in April 2015, Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, discovered that Roeder had developed a practice in which she would leave signed blank prescription pads for nurses to use for her patients and signed blank physician order sheets to be filled out and used by staff in her absence.

As a result of Roeder’s actions, the health center incurred more than $633,000 in expenses, including costs associated with internal audits, reports to payers of bills associated with the improperly signed documents and reimbursements to various payers, including Medicare and Medicaid

In 2016, the Iowa Board of Medicine charged Roeder with violating the laws and rules governing the practice of medicine in Iowa. After entering into a settlement agreement with the board, Roeder was issued a citation and warning and ordered to pay a $2,500 civil penalty and complete a professional ethics program. Roeder paid the penalty and completed the program, according to documents from the Iowa Board of Medicine.