Probe leads to charges against 10 Kansas nurses or aides

Kansas City, Kan. — Ten Kansas nurses or nurse aides face charges stemming from a state investigation into allegations of Medicaid fraud, the theft of narcotic medications and the mistreatment of vulnerable adults.

Online records show that at least eight of those charged are still licensed to work in Kansas, the Kansas City Star reported. Three health care workers from the Kansas City area were working at nursing homes when authorities say they committed the crimes, according to witness lists provided by the attorney general’s office.

Carol Moreland, executive director of the Kansas State Board of Nursing, declined to discuss the cases.

Lenexa resident Catherine Santaniello is charged with two felony counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult, including allegations of “knowing infliction of physical injury, unreasonable confinement or unreasonable punishment.” She also faces two misdemeanor charges for battery and making a false claim to Medicaid.

The charges were filed against Santaniello this week, but the incidents allegedly occurred in January 2017.

Santaniello didn’t respond to requests for comment. She’ll appear in court Oct. 24.

Erin Whitlow, the former nursing director at Parkway Care and Rehabilitation in Edwardsville, is charged with felony possession of morphine with the intent to distribute. The Leavenworth woman is also charged with felony mistreatment of two dependent adults by depriving them of “treatment, goods or services that were necessary to maintain” their physical or mental health.

The alleged incidents occurred in July and August 2017.

Whitlow’s attorney, Brian Costello, said she’s sought drug abuse treatment and is “willing to accept what she did.”

“We’ve been cooperating with the attorney general and she’s taking full responsibility for it,” Costello said.

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