Breaking
May 19, 2024

Midwife Faces $300K in Fines for Falsifying Vaccine Records for Nearly 1,500 Long Island Schoolchildren

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Jan 18, 2024

Overview

A Long Island midwife is facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties after the New York State Department of Health (DOH) says she falsified COVID-19 and other vaccine records for nearly 1,500 schoolchildren across multiple school districts in Nassau County. She has been barred from practicing as a midwife in New York State.

The case raises concerns around fraudulent vaccine records and vulnerabilities in school reporting systems statewide. It also calls into question the vaccine status of thousands of Long Island students.

The Accused

57-year old Diane Salzbank of Baldwin has been practicing as a midwife for over 20 years in Nassau County.

According to state records, her registered business – Baldwin Midwifery Practice – has been operating since at least 2002 out of her home address.

The practice came under scrutiny last year after irregularities were noticed in vaccine records she had filed for students across multiple school districts.

Discovery & Investigation

The violations were first discovered in October 2022 when a local school district noticed inconsistencies in vaccine records submitted by Ms. Salzbank.

Upon further state investigation, officials found that she had falsified records for nearly 1,500 students from districts including Brentwood, Commack, East Meadow, Eastport-South Manor, Freeport, Garden City, Glen Cove, Great Neck, Harborfields, Hauppauge, Lawrence, Locust Valley, Long Beach, Longwood, Manhasset, Massapequa, Merrick, North Bellmore, North Merrick, Oceanside, Plainview, Sewanhaka, Uniondale, and more.

Authorities say Ms. Salzbank submitted falsified certificates both electronically through the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) and directly to the schools in paper form.

The DOH was able to identify the records in question through a review of the NYSIIS system. Vaccination records were tagged as coming from Ms. Salzbank’s practice.

Students with suspicious records were found across grade levels from pre-K through 12th grade. Some students had false documentation for multiple vaccines over multiple years.

Prior Issues

Public records show that Ms. Salzbank has faced other complaints and citations related to her midwifery practice going back over 5 years.

In 2018, a disciplinary action limited her practice for failing to maintain malpractice insurance.

Since then, she has also been cited for deficiencies in infection control practices during the home deliveries she conducts.

There is no evidence that school and public health officials were aware of her history of complaints and disciplinary issues prior to the discovery of the falsified vaccine records.

Penalties & Charges

The DOH has revoked Ms. Salzbank’s license to practice midwifery in New York State.

Additionally, she is being fined $300,000 for violations related to the false vaccine documentation. Each record she falsified carries up to a $2,000 penalty under public health law.

At this time she has not been criminally charged, though the DOH says they have referred the case to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office. Falsifying vaccine records may constitute felony forgery charges under New York State law.

Impacts on Schools & Students

The revelation that thousands of Long Island students may have invalid or falsified vaccine records has raised alarms.

Across New York, children are required to have a standard battery of immunizations in order to attend school or daycare. These requirements have tightened in recent years, particularly with the addition of COVID-19 vaccines.

Now school districts face a crisis in assessing which of their pupils may have fraudulent records from the Baldwin Midwifery Practice:

“This is an extremely serious situation,” said Lino Bracco, superintendent of schools in the Locust Valley district, one of the affected districts on the North Shore of Nassau County.

Bracco worries “…it may take substantial time and effort to clarify all of the individual student records that have been compromised.”

Likewise, Freeport Superintendent Dr. Kishore Kuncham frets over “…the prospect of tracking down 1,500 sets of records to ensure adequate immunization coverage.”

To handle the immense task of validating so many student health records, some districts are considering holding mass immunization clinics to re-vaccinate or boost students who may have been affected.

What Comes Next

Going forward, the top priorities for health officials and school districts are:

  1. Assessing the up-to-date vaccine status of all students potentially impacted
  2. Validating which vaccine records from Baldwin Midwifery are falsified
  3. Re-vaccinating students who may have gaps in immunizations

This will be a massive undertaking requiring coordination across dozens of school districts, hospitals, and government agencies. It remains unclear who will bear the cost and effort of revaccinating thousands children.

Many parents are also urgently contacting their pediatricians and school districts to find out if their child’s records have been falsified. Some families had used Diane Salzbank’s midwifery practice for years and trusted her record-keeping.

Several civil suits have already been filed against Ms. Salzbank seeking damages related to the falsified records. These cases will likely take months or years to resolve.

Meanwhile, authorities have flagged the incident as demonstrating vulnerabilities in the state vaccine tracking systems. Steps are being explored to implement additional safeguards and auditing of vaccination records submitted by licensed providers.

Tougher oversight and improved technology integration may help prevent future incidents of widescale record falsification.

Table Summary of Key Facts

Accused Diane Salzbank, 57, Baldwin, NY
Occupation Midwife
Date of Discovery October 2022
Type of Fraud Falsified COVID + other vaccine records
# of Impacted Students ~1,500 across Nassau County
Affected School Districts 35 districts, including Brentwood, East Meadow, Freeport, Garden City, Great Neck, Harborfields, Lawrence, Manhasset, Massapequa, North Bellmore, Plainview, Sewanhaka, and Uniondale
Penalties to Date
  • $300,000 in fines from NYS DOH
  • Revocation of license to practice midwifery in NY
Potential Criminal Charges Felony forgery
Next Priorities
  1. Assess all impacted students’ vaccine status
  2. Validate real vs. falsified records
  3. Re-vaccinate students with gaps in immunization history

This table summarizes key details related to the midwife’s falsification of student vaccine records across multiple Long Island school districts. Over 1,500 students have compromised records which must now be validated. Authorities aim to identify and fill any vaccine gaps resulting from the fraud.

Conclusion

The Baldwin Midwifery vaccine record scandal raises urgent health concerns for thousands of Long Island families. It remains unclear how long it will take for authorities to unravel the full impacts of the systematic record falsification. Civil and criminal cases against the accused midwife Diane Salzbank are likely to unfold in the coming months. Meanwhile parents, pediatricians, school administrators and public health agencies grapple with the aftermath of shattered trust in what were assumed to be accurate student medical files. The incident prompts deeper discussion around ethics and oversight across healthcare and education systems.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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