Winter 2015
Volume 4, Issue 1

“DRUNK DOC?”

MULTIPLE ARRESTS RESULT IN PHYSICIAN VOLUNTARILY SURRENDERING LICENSE  The Board opened a matter upon receipt of information that a physician was arrested for driving under the influence in May of 2014 and later arrested for a second time in August of 2014 for alleged violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1 (assault), 2C:12-3A (terroristic threats) and 2C:33-4 (harassment). As the criminal matters were pending before the Superior Court and in lieu of the Board filing an emergent motion seeking the temporary suspension of the physician’s license, the practitioner voluntarily surrendered the license. The physician was required to immediately surrender the license to practice medicine and surgery in the State of New Jersey pending demonstration of the physician’s fitness, competency and ability to practice medicine unimpaired and by further order of the Board. The physician, however, cannot apply for reinstatement until six (6) months pass from the date of the filing of the Board’s Order. The Interim Consent Order was entered into without prejudice, which allows the Board to file an Administrative Complaint, conduct further investigation and or take additional action. The physician was further ordered to enter into the Physician Assistance Program (“PAP”) and notify the DEA of this voluntary surrender.


IN OTHER NEWS...

PHYSICIAN’S FAILURE TO KEEP ADEQUATE MEDICATION LOGS, INVENTORY OF MEDICINES AND DOCUMENT PHYSICAL EXAMINATION LEADS TO REPRIMAND The State Board of Medical Examiners (“Board”), upon receipt of information and an investigation by the Enforcement Bureau and the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), found that a physician was violating the New Jersey Controlled Dangerous Substance statutes and regulations. Specifically, the investigation found that, despite the large amount of medications maintained and dispensed by the physician, the proper medication logs and inventories were missing, and many of the medications were kept in bins that were left unlocked. The investigation further found that in cases where records were maintained, they reflected the routine dispensing of controlled dangerous substances in excess of the regulated days’ supply allowed by N.J.S.A. 45:9-22.11.  Furthermore, the investigation revealed the ordering, dispensing and record keeping was maintained by the practice’s unlicensed office manager. The physician attempted to defend his prescribing habits at the Preliminary Evaluation Committee (“PEC”) by reasoning that larger quantities of the drugs were dispensed because it was necessary to his elderly and low income patients. The physician was also questioned regarding his dispensing of expired medications and treatment of one particular patient, where it was noted that the patient’s medical records failed to document the necessary physical examination. The PEC concluded that the respondent engaged in repeated acts of negligence in maintaining and dispensing medications. The Board later adopted the findings made by the PEC and reprimanded the physician. The physician was required to, among other things, pay a $10,000.00 fine, $27,305.60 in investigative costs and not order or keep at the registered location any controlled dangerous substances for a period of five (5) years.

PHYSICIAN’S GUILTY PLEA IN NEW JERSEY FEDERAL COURT RESULTS IN FINE AND SUSPENSION  The physician entered into a civil settlement agreement with the United States Department of Justice, agreeing to pay $564,383.46 in restitution. The agreement covered the period of March, 2003 through June, 2006, when the physician allegedly received payment for his services as a Clinical Assistant Professor, which in reality was remuneration for referring patients to the university’s hospital. On February 28, 2008, the physician pleaded guilty based upon the same allegations in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and was subsequently sentenced to two (2) years’ probation. The Board found that the physician’s conviction, and the facts admitted at the time of the entry of the guilty plea, provided a basis for the entry of disciplinary sanctions pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:1-21(f), 45:1-21(b) and 45:1-21(e). As a result, the physician’s license to practice medicine and surgery in the State of New Jersey was suspended for three (3) years, and the physician was also required to pay a fine of $10,000.00.

PHYSICIANS REPRIMANDED BY THE NEW JERSEY BOARD STEMMING FROM OUT-OF-STATE BOARD ACTIONS  In one matter, the New Jersey Board received information from the Delaware Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline concerning an Order that a physician, who is also licensed in the State of New Jersey, was recently reprimanded. As per the Order, the physician was found to have engaged in unprofessional misconduct while the physician and support personnel were preparing a patient for surgery. Specifically, the physician repeatedly pulled a surgical drape from the hands of a surgical technologist while attempting to avoid contaminating the patient, causing physical injury to the technologist. As a result, the Delaware Board determined the physician’s acts gave rise to disciplinary action. The New Jersey Board echoed the findings of the Delaware Board and the physician agreed to enter into a Consent Order of reprimand. Similarly, the New Jersey Board received notice from the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct concerning a physician who entered into a Consent Order, agreeing to a censure and reprimand and to a $1,000.00 fine, together with other terms and conditions. The physician was reprimanded for pleading nolo contendere to a DUI charge and a careless driving charge in Florida. After reviewing the matter, the New Jersey Board found that the physician’s acts gave rise to disciplinary action in the State of New Jersey as well and the physician agreed to enter into a Consent Order of reprimand.
 

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.