Hospital system cuts off EMS access to drug supply system, citing diversion concerns

The policy change will no longer allow third-party EMS providers to access its automated dispensing cabinets

By Laura French

EUGENE, Ore. — A hospital system with locations in Oregon, Washington and Alaska has announced it will no longer allow third-party EMS providers access to its automated drug dispensing system, citing recent cases of drug diversion.

PeaceHealth said in a statement that providers will no longer be able to use its Pyxis automated dispensing cabinet to replenish ambulance drug supplies starting in June 2020, according to NBC 16.

“In light of recent local and national cases of illegal drug diversion involving emergency medical services (EMS) personnel employed by outside agencies, PeaceHealth has decided to end the practice of allowing EMS personnel to access our Pyxis systems,” the statement said. “We made this decision after thoughtful consideration and discussion with our EMS partners and are working closely with them to find an alternative source for these important, potentially life-saving medications.”

The policy change comes shortly after new charges were brought against a paramedic for allegedly raping two women, at least one of whom he is accused of drugging with fentanyl and midazolam. Authorities have not said whether they believe Edward Augustus Blake got the drugs through his job in Eugene, Oregon, where one of PeaceHealth’s medical centers is located.

“We are actively supporting the criminal investigation and working closely with our regulatory partners to ensure our pharmaceuticals are secure, safe and appropriately administered every day,” said Fire Chief Chris Heppel of Eugene Springfield Fire, Blake’s former employer, in a statement.

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