Webster nurse practitioner fined for falsifying vaccination records

NYSDOH: Nurse practitioner never gave 500-plus vaccines she reported

NYSDOH: Nurse practitioner never gave 500-plus vaccines she reported

WEBSTER, N.Y. — A nurse practitioner in Webster is in hot water with the state for falsifying the vaccination records of more than 100 school-aged children. The state Department of Health says Sandra Miceli, the owner and operator of “Surviving Naturally” along Ridge Road in Webster, never actually gave 500-plus vaccines she signed off on.  All of the unvaccinated students now need to scramble to actually get the age-appropriate immunizations before they can return to school or daycare.

Joe Giovanetti, the Director of Investigations for the NYSDOH, tells News10NBC that Miceli’s vaccination fraud scheme began in June of 2019, when the state eliminated non-medical exemptions for required school immunizations.  Miceli was found to have falsely reported a total of 546 vaccinations for 116 children who, at the time, were school-aged and younger. None of the fictitious vaccinations ever occurred.  

The immunizations that were part of the scheme included: diphtheria, tetanus toxoid-containing and pertussis vaccine (DTaP or Tdap); hepatitis B vaccine; measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR); measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine (MMRV); polio vaccine; varicella (Chickenpox) vaccine; meningococcal conjugate vaccine (MenACWY and MCV4) and the Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine (HiB). 

Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – “Do you believe that the parents knew or somehow went to her because they knew they could get away with it or did the parents think that they were getting the vaccines that their children needed?”

Joe Giovanetti (Director of Investigations, NYSDOH) – “We didn’t really focus at all on the parents and what their motivations or understandings were. I can say this, Jennifer, our investigation determined that Surviving Naturally … going back to 2014 had promulgated and spread anti-vaccination propaganda through social media.”

Jennifer Lewke – “Is there any criminal aspect to any of this?”

Joe Giovanetti – “The Department of Health, first and foremost, is a public health agency; public health is always our priority with enforcement actions. In this case and in other similar cases what we have determined is that for our purposes and given our mission and objectives, resolving these cases when possible with a stipulation and order best serves the public health … We are not a law enforcement agency. We are not a prosecutorial agency or a prosecutor’s office.  One thing I can say is, there’s nothing about our investigations, or the way we resolve them through a stipulation and order, that would prevent any other law enforcement action”

The New York State Education Department licenses nurses and has the authority to pursue charges of professional misconduct against Miceli. That agency is still investigating. 

As part of the settlement with DOH, Sandra Miceli has paid $30,000 of the $55,000 monetary penalty. She is permanently excluded from the New York State Immunization Information System and permanently prohibited from administering any immunizations.    

“We have deleted all vaccination records related to her (Miceli) and to Surviving Naturally,” Giovanetti says adding that the state is now in the process of contacting parents of the affected children to inform them that their child’s records of vaccination are no longer valid.  These parents must ensure their children receive all age-appropriate vaccinations before they may return to school.

NYSDOH is also in the process of contacting all affected schools to inform them of their obligation to ensure parents comply with ensuring their students are actually vaccinated.

News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke called, emailed and visited “Surviving Naturally” on Tuesday to try and speak with Sandra Miceli.  Her calls and emails were not returned and an employee at the wellness center said Miceli was currently out of the country.