UPDATE: Questions remain after woman poses as registered nurse
There are more questions than answers as authorities say someone pretended to be a registered nurse for almost four months before her true identity was discovered.
Relatives and other nursing home employees are questioning how that woman from Cross Lanes -- Ashley Monday, 33 -- managed to evade detection and collect more than $12,500 from Eastbrook, a skilled nursing facility in Charleston.
WyJean Sharp was making another trip to see her mother at Eastbrook on Wednesday afternoon. She comes to visit three to four times a week to the site where court documents said Monday worked as a registered nurse until last month, despite not having a nurse's license.
"That would worry me in any capacity," Sharp said.
She also said it also comes as a surprise, “very much.”
Monday lives at an apartment in Cross Lanes, off Cross Lanes Drive. A relative told us she wasn't home and declined to comment further.
We also spoke with several officials at various nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the state, including Ginger Chapman, director of Human Resources at The Village at Riverview, an assisted living community in Barboursville.
"My personal thoughts are, it concerns me," she said.
She said all prospective nurses here must show two forms of identification like a driver's license and Social Security card and are run through the West Virginia Cares screening system, along with their fingerprints, before they can start work.
She said the WV Cares program verifies a license within 24 hours; sometimes it’s able to do so almost immediately.
"It's a great program that keeps our people that we're hiring in, it keeps us informed about what's going on,” Chapman said. “It does extensive background checks on everything from A to Z."
According the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, by law, Monday should have passed the same fingerprint and background check.
Kathy Lawson, inspector general for the DHHR, answered some of our questions via email.
“All direct access personnel in West Virginia must undergo a fingerprint based state and federal background check in accordance with W. Va. Code §§16-49-1, et seq. The law ensures that persons with certain criminal histories will not have access to the vulnerable populations served by various health care facilities and child care facilities in West Virginia.”
As for best practices, Lawson stated, “Follow their own policies and procedures with respect to hiring practices, verify all required credentials with the appropriate licensing board, submit all direct access personnel for a fingerprint based criminal history record check.”
She said there had never been a case like this one before, but other people have tried to use someone else’s identity to get a job, which is why the DHHR pushed for new criminal penalties for those who do.
We tried to ask interview officials at Eastbrook on Wednesday to ask them several questions including if Monday had falsified information for them or perhaps the check was never completed. But we were told no one could speak with us.
We left our contact information with an administrative assistant and were told we’d be contacted by email, as of Wednesday night, that has not happened.
Sharp hopes Eastbrook will do a better job with hiring in the future.
"I have a lot of questions. I may not ever get answers."
Still, she's comfortable with her mother's care and making no plans to take her elsewhere.
"I'm pleased because I'm here all the time," she said.
According to Sue Painter, executive director for the West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, as well as other online databases, Monday has never been a registered nurse in West Virginia, though it's possible she could have been registered under another name.
She said while registered nurses who want to be licensed in multiple states would need to be fingerprinted, it’s possible for a registered nurse to not have to pass a criminal background check involving fingerprints. However, those who work at nursing homes and assisted living facilities have different requirements.
Multiple healthcare professionals we talked to Wednesday seemed a little shocked this could happen with fingerprinting and everything else, which is perhaps why Eastbrook's statement to us on Tuesday talked about reviewing their hiring procedures. Of course, we'll keep trying to get answers.
As for how you should pick a skilled nursing or assisted living facility for your loved one, Chapman said do your research. You can search online, talk to your doctor or other friends. But in the end, go with your gut. Pay attention. If something doesn't feel quite right, look elsewhere.
A woman from Kanawha County faces charges of posing as a registered nurse at a skilled nursing facility, court records show.
Ashley Monday, 33, of Cross Lanes, is charged with obtaining money, property and services by false pretenses.
According to a criminal complaint from Kanawha County Magistrate Court, Monday falsely represented herself as a registered nurse while working for the Eastbrook Center in Charleston from Nov. 28, 2017, to March 13, 2018.
During that time, Monday received a little more than $12,580 in wages, according to the complaint.
The CEO of Eastbrook released the following statement to WSAZ:
"A few weeks ago, the leadership of Eastbrook became aware that a woman with a history of deceptive behavior had posed as a registered nurse using another person’s license number. She was immediately fired. Her actions have been reported to the appropriate legal authorities and state regulatory agencies.
"We do not believe resident care was adversely affected during her employment. Our management team is reviewing hiring and background check procedures to ensure a situation like this does not occur in the future."
Kathy Lawson, Inspector General with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, released this statement to WSAZ:
“WV CARES, administered through the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Office of Inspector General, provides employers with tools to run a background check using state and national abuse registries and the state and national sex offender registries. It is the employer’s responsibility to verify educational and professional credentials of its potential employees to ensure the person’s identity.
To help combat fraud issues such as these, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources successfully sought an amendment to the criminal code (W. Va. Code §61-3-54) to make it a crime to take the identity of another person for the purpose of gaining employment. Governor Jim Justice approved HB 4001 on March 27, 2018, which becomes law on June 8, 2018.”
Monday was arrested last week but has since been released from custody.