Summer 2012 / Volume 1, Issue 2
Information provided by Kern Augustine Conroy & Schoppmann, P.C.
The State Board of Medical Examiners (“SBME”) is the investigative and prosecutorial agency charged with bringing actions against the physicians in the State of New Jersey. By bringing these actions to the forefront, it is hoped that awareness will aid physicians in the risk management of their practice and the protection of their license to practice medicine.
- Unlicensed Practice of Medicine
Physician violated prior Consent Order regarding closure of practice in State by failing to close offices and continuing to offer surgical services. He also continued to use newspaper advertisements and brochures to offer professional medical services. Medical Board’s undercover investigators placed covert telephone calls to physician’s office and obtained appointments for medical consultations with physician. In settlement, physician agreed to cease and desist from practicing in the State, foreclosed from reapplying for license for two years, and agreed to $90,000 civil penalty.
- Gross and Repeated Acts of Negligence Lead to Hepatitis B Outbreak
Physician’s license revoked with no right to reapply for reinstatement for period of four years (credit given for time already served). Prior to application for reinstatement, physician must demonstrate fitness to practice and successful completion of courses in OSHA infection control, blood borne pathogens, and ethics course. Costs assessed in the amount of $372,029.28, due within thirty days of assessment.
- Allegations of Grossly Negligent Treatment
Board alleges grossly negligent treatment in physician’s interventional pain management practice and insurance fraud. Board delegated full authority to a committee of the Board to render decision on its behalf and to issue temporary suspension order if warranted because of the emergent circumstances alleged in the Order to Show Cause. Board found Attorney General made a “palpable demonstration of imminent harm to the public.”
- Violation of Prior Order Requiring Restricted Practice under Supervision of Chaperone
Due to behavior five years earlier, physician was under order to practice only under supervision of one licensee, solely within her office, and always under requirement of a chaperone. Physician later admitted performing house calls and providing services outside the purview of a chaperone. License revoked with costs assessed at $42,987.10. Civil penalties waived based on evidence presented regarding physician’s financial hardship.
- Plea of Guilty to 2nd Degree Health Care Claims Fraud and Indiscriminate CDS Prescribing
As part of physician plea, Medical Board found physician had engaged in acts constituting crimes or offenses involving moral turpitude and/or relating adversely to the practice of medicine and engaged in professional misconduct. Under the terms of the plea agreement, physician sentenced to a maximum term of four years incarceration in State prison; required to contribute partial restitution to State in the amount of $128,081.00 and pay a penalty in the amount of $101,281.00; and agreed to be debarred from the Medicaid program for five years. Surrender of license until terms of plea agreement fulfilled.
- Intoxication while on call
Investigation of physician’s drinking while on call (including loss of clinical privileges) and further difficulties with cognitive impairment lead to Medical Board’s concerns about mental status and competency to safely practice medicine. In lieu of administrative proceedings, physician voluntarily agreed to license surrender, to submit to a mental status evaluation, and to continue to participate with the Physician Advocacy Program. Physician may apply for reinstatement no sooner than 90 days from date of Order, along with submission of report detailing results of comprehensive mental evaluation and recommendation of PAP program.
- Trafficking in Child Pornography
After pleading guilty to one count of a Criminal Information charging him with knowingly receiving and distributing child pornography, physician surrenders license, deemed a revocation of his license to practice medicine and surgery in the State of New Jersey.
- Tax Evasion
Physician pleads guilty to one count of federal income tax evasion. Medical Board hearing addresses guilty plea as to violations of statutes which included professional misconduct and commission of crime or offense involving moral turpitude. Physician’s license suspended for five years, three years of which are active and the remaining two to be served as probation so long as physician complies with conditions: prior to resuming practice, physician must demonstrate fitness to practice, submit to a psychiatric evaluation, and proffer position statement from Physician Assistance Program to support return to practice. Board reserved right to limit physician’s future medical practice to practice only as an employee of another physician or within a health care entity without any responsibility for billing. Physician must complete courses in ethics and medical office billing practices. Costs to be assessed.
Increased awareness will hopefully result in an increased willingness among physicians to take action to make the SBME process fair to both the complainants and the physicians. A fair and just disciplinary system should be a goal that no one can, or should argue or work against. Any questions call us at 800-445-0954, or email us at info@DrLaw.com.