Former Molokai Community Health Center worker sues center for her “illicit” termination allegedly due to the center’s delay in reporting that it had provided expired hepatitis vaccines to two children.
Lorna Keliipuleole, a former patient service associate/physician assistant, filed the lawsuit May 4 in the 2nd Circuit Court alleging there was “fake” disciplinary actions by the center between September 17, 2020 and October 13, 2020, that “finally served as a pretext” for his dismissal.
Keliipuleole said that on August 4, 2020, she gave two children hepatitis vaccines that she later realized were expired while reviewing their records. She immediately informed her supervisor, who said she would report the incident to the health center administration and return to Keliipuleole, according to the lawsuit.
Knowing that the parents had not yet been notified, on September 2, 2020, Keliipuleole raised the matter with two health center administrators, who asked her to fill out a specific report, which she did that day- the.
A health center investigation found the supervisor violated the center’s reporting policy and was later disciplined, the lawsuit said.
On September 14, 2020, when the supervisor filed a report on the incident, the parents were notified, according to the lawsuit.
Shortly after, Keliipuleole received three written warnings in his personnel file by his supervisor, without his knowledge, the lawsuit said. Prior to this, Keliipuleole had never received any disciplinary action from the center since being hired on January 20, 2020.
The warnings involved violating part of the center’s security policy by leaving her computer screen on and unlocked and that Keliipuleole allegedly failed to obtain written consent from patients who were allegedly vaccinated on her own. . The third written warning related to an alleged violation of a medical assistant’s workflow.
A doctor also allegedly found problems with Keliipuleole, including sticking herself with a needle and reviewing her own medical records, the lawsuit says.
Keliipuleole testified in the lawsuit that although she had undergone training, she had not received full, complete and/or adequate training and had no training in the procedure for administering vaccines.
“We strongly disagree with the assertions of this former employee,” the Molokai Community Health Center said in a statement. “As his alleged age discrimination claim was recently dismissed by a federal judge, we believe his other current claims will be denied in state court. Future court proceedings will demonstrate that there was no discriminatory animosity or retaliation towards this former employee. As revealed by a recent investigation (by the Department of Health), the health center continues to comply with all federal requirements for health centers licensed by the federal government.
In addition to the emailed statement, the center attached a letter from the state DOH Office of Medicare dated May 3, which noted compliance with federal requirements for federally qualified health centers. participating in Medicare and/or Medicaid programs.
In 2019, the center came under community scrutiny over shortages of providers and patient care, prompting calls for leadership changes and an investigation into the center.
A DOH investigation later found the center was in violation in three areas, including failing to meet the federal requirement to be under the direction of a physician and not having a physician on staff at its clinic. medical, according to the lawsuit.
Keliipuleole’s lawsuit was filed by Oahu-based attorney Andrew Daisuke Stewart. She seeks unspecified damages and costs of the lawsuit.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.