Spring 2014
Volume 3, Issue 2

“DOCTOR LOVE?”

PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT OF PHYSICIAN LEADS TO SUMMARY SUSPENSION OF HOSPITAL PRIVILEGES License Suspension This matter came to the Board of Medical Examiners (“Board”) upon the Board’s receipt of a report from a hospital’s Medical Practitioner Review Panel (“Panel”) disclosing an attending physician’s professional misconduct which led to the physician’s hospital privileges being summarily suspended. The Panel investigated the physician’s conduct following a resident’s Adverse Action Report detailing “unwanted physical romantic contact” on the part of the attending physician. The Panel noted that as an attending physician, the physician had responsibilities to train and supervise residents at the hospital, including the complainant. The Panel’s investigation included a review of documentation provided by the hospital, a certification from the resident, testimony from the attending physician and text messages between the attending physician and resident. The Panel concluded that the attending physician’s conduct was inappropriate and summarily suspended the physician. The Panel further ordered the physician to complete sexual harassment training. The physician was also dismissed from further participation as a trainer or supervising attending in the hospital’s residency program and prohibited from any further contact with any residents. The Panel found that the gravity of the misconduct was magnified by the fact that it was directed at a resident who was the physician’s subordinate. In reviewing this matter, the Board accepted all of the Panel’s findings and sanctioned the physician, who entered into a Consent Order. Under the terms of the Consent Order, the physician’s license is suspended for one year, which was stayed and served as a period of probation provided the physician timely and fully complies with all terms of the Order. The physician was further assessed civil penalties of $7,500, required to enroll in the Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey (“PAP”), undergo a comprehensive psychosexual evaluation and attend and successfully complete a course in medical ethics and professional boundaries.


IN OTHER NEWS...

INSUFFICIENT MALPRACTICE INSURANCE The Board sanctioned a practice that failed to comply with N.J.S.A. 45:9-19.17(a), requiring physicians providing patient care in New Jersey to maintain medical malpractice insurance with limits of $1,000.000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 aggregate coverage per year. This matter came to the Board’s attention as two physicians of the practice were the subject of a malpractice lawsuit where it was revealed that the practice only afforded $1,000,000 of total coverage for both physicians due to the fact that both physicians treated the same patient. It was subsequently revealed that the $3,000,000 aggregate coverage applied to all physicians under contract with the practice, which also violates the mandatory minimum statutory requirements. Although the Board found that the practice did not intentionally mean to underinsure its physicians, the practice was still fined $23,128.64.

HEALTHCARE FRAUD; KICKBACK CONSPIRACY The Board accepted the surrender of the license of a physician who was convicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York of conspiracy with others at a medical clinic to bill Medicare for over $20 million in medical procedures and services which were never performed. The physician was also found to have engaged in the fraudulent practice of medicine by a Hearing Committee with the New York State Department of Health, particularly by willfully making a false report and failing to comply with substantial provisions of state law. The Board found that the physician engaged in professional misconduct due to his conviction for acts constituting crimes or offenses involving moral turpitude and/or relating adversely to the practice of medicine; violating an insurance fraud prevention law; and failing to demonstrate on-going good moral character. The Consent Order required the physician to surrender his New Jersey license to practice medicine and surgery, which was deemed a revocation of his license.

 


THE PHYSICIAN ADVOCACY PROGRAM®
Far too few physicians are aware of the overwhelming weight that would befall them if targeted by the SBME. For SBME Protection go to ThePAP.com.