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FILE - In this Wednesday, May 1, 2013, file photo, a lab technician draws blood from a patient at a health center, in Phoenix. As health insurance plans become increasingly complicated, more patients are facing unexpected fees when they step outside their plan's coverage network. In many cases, patients don't realize they've received out-of-network care until they're slapped with a bill for hundreds or thousands of dollars. Surprise fees often arise when hospitals send blood samples or medical scans to outside facilities for development. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
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Former Phoenix surgery technician accused of stealing narcotics at Colo. hospital

Swedish Medical Center in Colorado has been victimized by a former employee stealing narcotic pain medication intended for patients.

Employment records identify the former employee as Rocky Allen, a former surgical technician of John C. Lincoln Medical Center, formerly known as North Mountain Hospital, in Phoenix. Allen was employed in Phoenix from July 28, 2014 to Sept. 26, 2014.

Swedish Medical Center does not believe any of the approximately 3,000 patient has been exposed to any diseases, but is taking extreme caution of the possibility of HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C exposure. The medical center is offering free testing to all patients who have received surgery at any of the locations the former employee worked.

“We deeply regret that one of our former employees may have put patients at risk, and are sorry for any uncertainty or anxiety this may cause,” President and CEO of Swedish Medical Center Richard A. Hammett said. “please know our first concern is the health, care, safety and privacy of our patients, and we are working diligently to look after the well-being of the patients who may have been affected by the wrongful actions of this individual.”

Allen was terminated from his position at the Phoenix hospital for testing positive for the use of a controlled substance. Although the Phoenix hospital has indicted there were no patients affected by this, John C. Lincoln Medical Center is offering free testing as to patients who received a surgery during the time Allen was employed.

The hospital will contact each of the 97 identified patients by phone and mail regarding the possible exposure, and information about the free testing. There are no evidence of any patient exposure, but the hospital is taking extreme caution.

“The staff and physicians at John C. Lincoln Medical Center are doing the right thing for their patients,” Medical Director for the Maricopa County Department of Public Health Rebecca Sunenshine said. “They immediately reached out to us about the matter, and we’re collaborating with them, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control to ensure patient safety.”

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