Former Glenwood Springs ‘nurse’ arrested as imposter
A 39-year-old woman was arrested Saturday in Knox City, Texas after an investigation found she allegedly had worked as an imposter nurse at a nursing home in Glenwood Springs and an assisted living facility in Evergreen.
According to an arrest warrant, Glenwood Springs Health Care hired Heather Lee Wood, now Heather McCray, on Nov. 21, 2016 to work as an administrator in a building behind the main nursing home. The building she worked in was an assisted living facility, which closed about four months ago, a former employee said.
Some time after she was hired, she expressed interest in working as a nurse and told the facility she wanted to help alleviate problems of understaffing by filling in on nights and weekends, according to the warrant.
The documents say she had allegedly told administrators she was a certified nurse, but after an investigation officials found she hadn’t been and that she had never held a nursing degree.
According to the police report, once hired as a “nurse,” McCray told facility administrators she preferred payment in the form of a “bonus,” instead of changing her job title, as that would have led the facility’s managers to ask for her nursing credentials.
During her 11-month-long stint with Glenwood Springs Health Care, the facility’s management promoted her twice, once, from administrator to “nurse,” and then again, from nurse to nurse manager, according to the report.
Only after staff conducted an on-site audit did they find there was no copy of McCray’s nursing credentials. When they asked her to produce it, she came up with a myriad of “random excuses” as to why she could not provide the documents, the report says.
After numerous failed attempts, building administrators say they sat McCray down in front of a computer and told her she had 30 minutes to provide proof of her nursing license, the report says. Officials say when she was unable to do so, she left the facility, and never returned.
The nursing home’s administrator allegedly told police he’d provide documents that showed McCray had regularly signed off on patient medications, some of which included schedule class II drugs, but officers say they never received that information.
Facility staff said they reported McCray to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. The arrest warrant says, “Her actions and experience level led most other co-workers to believe that she was, in fact, licensed, even though she was not.”
According to Glenwood Springs Police Chief, Terry Wilson, McCray was arrested on July 14 in Knox City, Texas on a Glenwood Springs Police Department warrant. She was lodged into jail and posted bond that same day, according to Chief Wilson. Police said she was cooperative during the arrest, Wilson said.
A recent Denver 7 investigation found it took the state almost two years to issue McCray a cease and desist order, despite multiple complaints from a resident’s loved one. The TV news station said it spearheaded its own investigation after a former Glenwood Springs Health Care employee called to report the news.
Prior to working in Glenwood Springs, McCray also had worked at Elk Run Assisted Living in Evergreen in 2016, according to state documents.
At one point, according to Denver 7, McCray used another nurse’s name and license number as her own, “and state regulators seemingly took her word for it.”
She is charged with criminal impersonation, a class 6 felony, unlicensed practicing nurse, a class 2 misdemeanor, and unlawful distribution of a schedule II controlled substance, a class 3 drug felony.
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