April 24, 2001

APRIL 24, 2001

CONTACT: Kerry O'brien, Assistant Attorney General 207-626-8800

Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that Joy Lagasse, R.N., 44, of Casco, pled guilty Friday in Superior Court in Portland to one count of Stealing Drugs, a Class D crime. Rowe stated, "It is very troubling when health care professionals responsible for our most vulnerable citizens steal drugs."

The offense occurred in October of 1999 while Lagasse worked as the director of nursing at Ledgewood Manor Nursing Home in North Windham.

Justice G. Arthur Brennan of the Maine Superior Court sentenced Lagasse to a six month term of imprisonment, all suspended, with one year of probation and a $400 fine. As special conditions of probation, Lagasse may not possess alcohol or illegal drugs, must agree to undergo a substance abuse evaluation, and must abide by the conditions of a prior consent agreement with the Board of Nursing. Under that consent agreement, the Nursing Board placed Lagasse on probation for one year. She may not work in a home health care setting, and her nursing employment is restricted to supervised facilities.

Attorney General Rowe stated: "This office will prosecute health care professionals whose conduct jeopardizes the health and well being of the patients they are obligated to care for and protect."

Detective Scott Michaud of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Maine Attorney General's Office investigated the case and MFCU Director Kerry O'Brien prosecuted it. The MFCU is a state and federally funded entity with statewide jurisdiction to prosecute fraud by Medicaid providers and patient abuse in Medicaid facilities. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia have MFCUs.