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Hershey Medical Center provides details following Benko guilty plea

To help inform your coverage of today's guilty plea by Floyd Benko, a former research technologist at Penn State College of Medicine, we want to offer some background information to reassure the community about the Medical Center's direct response to this situation.

On April 4, 2014, a quality review conducted by a Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center physician found inconsistencies in the test results of one patient, which triggered a full process review on a distinct set of clinical lab tests on solid tumors performed at the Medical Center. The review included an assessment of the patient tumor samples for approximately 120 patients and retesting as appropriate.

Hershey Medical Center immediately stopped processing this set of tests internally while it conducted a thorough review. The Medical Center also notified external accrediting and regulatory agencies.

Mr. Benko, who was directly responsible for processing the tests, was immediately placed on administrative leave and, based on the review, the Medical Center chose to contact law enforcement regarding his role in the testing irregularities.

These tests are performed after a patient has been diagnosed with cancer – sometimes with advanced stage cancer – to help determine potential treatment options. These tests are not used to diagnose whether or not a patient has cancer.

The Medical Center sent letters to involved patients and their treating physicians when the issue was identified. Clinical leaders at the Medical Center also spoke personally with treating physicians and engaged them in communicating with their patients about their ongoing treatment.