Psych Crime Reporter

January 5, 2014

ER doctor sues psychiatrist over misdiagnosis

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 5:18 pm
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An emergency room doctor in Coos Bay is suing a Eugene psychiatrist for more than $2 million over an alleged misdiagnosis that required the doctor to temporarily withdraw from practicing medicine.

The lawsuit filed by Dr. Susan Haney in Lane County Circuit Court accuses Dr. Howard Sampley of mistaking the side effects of a medication for a mental disorder and then reporting Haney to the state Medical Board. The board opened an investigation, and Haney agreed to withdraw from her medical practice while that took place.

Four months later, Haney was reinstated with no restrictions. She continues to practice medicine.

The suit seeks $2.25 million in damages. It asks for $1.5 million for lost income and $750,000 for pain and suffering.

A spokeswoman for PeaceHealth Medical Group, which employs Sampley, said the organization cannot comment on pending litigation.

According to the suit, Haney went to the emergency room at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District, in Eugene in December 2011 because of increasing asthma problems and increasing pain from a burn on her leg. It said she also showed symptoms of psychosis.

She was discharged about two weeks later with a diagnosis of psychosis and bipolar disorder. A short time later, the suit claims, Sampley notified the state Medical Board that Haney was bipolar, manic, mentally incompetent and a danger to herself and others, and should not be practicing medicine.

But Haney claims that her symptoms were brought on by prescribed medication used to treat her asthma and the fact that she was pregnant and had received fertility treatment. The suit says she is not bipolar, does not have a mental disorder, is mentally competent and is not a danger to herself or anyone else.

The suit claims Sampley was negligent for misdiagnosing Haney and for not telling the Medical Board that her symptoms could have been caused by her medication rather than a mental disorder. As a result, the suit claims Haney has lost and will continue to lose income and suffers from emotional distress and ongoing interference with her usual activities.

No trial date has been set.

Source: Greg Bolt. “ER Doctor Sues Psychiatrist,” The Register Guard, December 30, 2013.

State fines private mental health facilities$2.7 million for fraud

TRENTON — The Office of the State Comptroller today slapped a $2.7 million fine against the owner of three mental health care facilities, charging him with submitting fraudulent bills and seeking to bar him from the Medicaid program for five years.

The state has accused Howard Lundy, the owner of Guiding Light Behavioral Health Inc. and Guiding Light Drug and Alcohol Treatment Service, both in Neptune, and Brighter Day Behavioral Health Inc., Lawrenceville, of submitting more than 2,859 false claims from September 2009 to March 2012.

Comptroller Matthew Boxer said Lundy billed Medicaid for hundreds of patients in which no documentation could be found to verify the date of their care. In other cases, the patients had been treated by another facilities. Twice, one facility billed for health care and transportation services on days the centers were closed.

“The integrity of the Medicaid program is dependent on health care providers acting in an ethical manner,” Boxer said. “In this case, the overbillings that we allege occurred, along with the effort to cover up those overbillings, were particularly brazen.”

Robert Bonney Jr. of Freehold, Lundy’s attorney, released a statement late today that says state investigators had yet to provide “any specifics concerning the allegations.”

“Brighter Day and Guiding Light have been cooperating with the State Controller’s investigation for almost 2 years,” and will address the issues “in due course,” Bonney’s statement said.

“Guiding Light Behavioral Health and Brighter Day Behavioral Health have been providing treatment to over 230 patients for more than 18 years,” according to Bonney’s statement. “It is significant that none of the State’s allegations concern patient care in any way.”

The facilities are operated by Lundy and his wife, Gwendolyn, according to Boxer’s announcement.

Lundy may challenge the findings and request a hearing with the state Medicaid office, with an administrative law judge, or both, according to Boxer’s announcement. An appeal can be filed by Jan. 27, according to Boxer.

Source: Susan K. Livio, “N.J. Comptroller fines private mental health facilities $2.7 million, alleging Medicaid fraud,” The Star-Ledger, January 2, 2014.

UK psych nurse Gideon Bryant loses license for sexual relationship with teenage patient

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 5:16 pm
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A 48-year-old psychiatric staff nurse who had a relationship with a teenager has been struck off the nursing register.

Gideon Bryant met the 19-year-old when she was under his care at Bodmin Hospital in Cornwall in January 2011.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in December found him guilty of misconduct.

The NMC said striking off was the only sufficient order to maintain public confidence in the profession.
‘Became fixated’

The hearing in London was told the vulnerable teenager – known as Client A – was admitted to the hospital’s psychiatric unit after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act and became “fixated” on the father of two.

Mr Bryant said his “loving and sexual relationship” with the teenager only began after she was discharged.

Following an internal inquiry at Bodmin Hospital, his employment was terminated and he was made the subject of an interim suspension order by the NMC last year.

In its ruling, the NMC said Mr Bryant’s behaviour could have resulted in harm to Client A in light of her “clear vulnerability” and his serious misconduct amounted to an abuse of the special position of trust he held.

Mr Bryant’s behaviour was such a serious departure from the standards required, it was “fundamentally incompatible” with his remaining on the register, it said.

Source: Bodmin Hospital nurse Gideon Bryant struck off, BBCNews, January 3, 2014.

Psychologist David Falkner had sexual relationship with patient; must register as sex offender

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 5:16 pm

The 60-year-old Ann Arbor psychologist who pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a patient was sentenced Dec. 30 to five years of probation and $5,569 in fines, according to court records.

David Falkner also has to register as a sex offender, perform community service within a year and pay $920 restitution to the 44-year-old woman and $540 to her insurance, the records indicate.

The restitution amounts are part of the fines and costs. Records indicate Falkner has already paid them.

Three counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct were dismissed as part of a plea deal.

Falkner pleaded guilty to one count of the charge, as well as no contest to a charge of billing health insurance for unnecessary counseling, on Nov. 15.

According to state records, Falkner is still in possession of his heath care license, but that could change now that he has been convicted of a sex crime.

Falkner’s attorney John Shea said they’ve met with investigators from the state licensing agency and there will unlikely be any action until March, when the board will meet that makes such decisions.

Shea said his client can probably expect a suspension, but it remains unseen for how long the psychologist could be suspended.

Falkner has been voluntarily not practicing since being charged, Shea added.

Falkner was convicted under the subdivision of the state’s fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct law that says: “The actor is a mental health professional and the sexual contact occurs during or within two years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse. The consent of the victim is not a defense.”

Falkner had been a school psychologist with the Ann Arbor Public Schools for 25 years before going into private practice after retirement.

The 44-year-old woman told police she began seeing Falkner as a patient in July 2011. The woman told police that her therapy sessions were normal enough at first, but that when she arrived to one in February 2012, Falkner offered her wine and that subsequent sessions involved both wine and sex, according to a police report obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. Falkner continued to bill the woman’s insurance, according to the police report.

On March 6, 8 and 15 of 2012, the woman told police she met Falkner in his office and had sex, according to the report. The woman told investigators she was billed for each one of these sessions and that March 15 was the last session her insurance was billed, the report also states. Despite both being married, they continued having an affair until fall, when the woman went to police, she alleged.

Falkner denies serving wine or having sex during counseling sessions, or billing for such things, his attorney John Shea told The Ann Arbor News in the past.

On Jan. 28, the prosecutor’s office authorized the four counts of fourth-degree CSC. Falkner turned himself in on Feb. 4 and was arraigned in the 15th District Court in downtown Ann Arbor.

In police interviews, Falkner said the relationship was “mutual and consensual.”

“Falkner has been forthright from the beginning that he had a relationship with an adult patient that was wrong on many levels and for which he is deeply sorry,” Shea said in a statement to The Ann Arbor News earlier this year. “It lasted for some months, it became extremely troubling for both, and it ended. However, that does not change the fact that the relationship was completely inappropriate and, unfortunately, it hurt people.”

Source: John Counts, “Ann Arbor psychologist who pleaded guilty to sex with patient gets 5 years probation, fines,” Ann Arbor News, January 4, 2014.

December 26, 2013

Psychologist Karen A. Pauly surrenders license; engaged in sexual relationship with patient

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:09 pm

On November 8, 2013, psychologist Karen A. Pauly surrendered her license to the Washington State Department of Health (DoH).

The DoH’s document states that Pauly engaged in an approximately 15-month sexual relationship with a patient.

The patient gave Pauly money and access to the patient’s debit card to withdraw additional funds.

The patient also gave Pauly money for personal items, spending cash, and to help her avoid foreclosure (her house was not in foreclosure)—approximately $15,000 altogether.

Pauly purchased prepaid cell phones for the patient so that she and he could communicate without his wife finding out.

Lastly, Pauly supplied the patient with alcohol and consumed alcohol with him though she knew or should have known it was not in the patient’s best interest.

Psychiatrist Raymond Potterf, under investigation, gives up license

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:08 pm

On August 30, 2013, psychiatrist Raymond Potterf voluntarily surrendered his license to the Texas Medical Board and agreed to not petition the Board for reinstatement in lieu of no further disciplinary hearings. Potterf was under investigation by the Board on allegations that he non-therapeutically prescribed controlled substances to one patient and engaged in inappropriate conduct with another.

State denies counselor’s application due to criminal conviction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:08 pm

On August 16, 2013, the Washington Department of Health denied the license application of certified counselor applicant Aaron S. Glenn, due to his misrepresentation of his criminal record on his application. On the question which inquires if he’d ever been convicted of a crime, he answered “no.” The state found however that Glenn had been convicted in 2001 for Minor in Possession/Consumption of Alcohol; convicted in 2002 for Assault and Disorderly Conduct; and convicted in 2010.

Idaho counselor Mark Wiseman loses license after conviction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:08 pm

On October 29, 2013, the Idaho Board of Professional Counselors and Marriage & Family Therapists revoked the right of professional counselor Mark W. Wiseman to renew his license and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine.

According to the Board’s documents, Wiseman had sexual relations with a counseling client in August 2012, September 2012 and February 2013.

The client had filed a criminal charge against Wiseman for rape, relative to the February 2013 incident of sexual relations.

Wiseman did not deny sexual relations with the client but insisted it was consensual.

He nonetheless pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of battery.

Psych hospital worker must register as sex offender after patient sex conviction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:07 pm

A former assistant in St. Elizabeth Medical Center’s psychiatric unit will have to register as a Level 1 sex offender after having sexual contact with a patient.

Although the patient was 23 years old and not underage, Robert Mykel’s conviction for third-degree criminal sexual act still requires him to register as a sex offender. Level 1 is the lowest of the three risk levels.

Mykel, 39, of Whitesboro was sentenced Monday in Oneida County Court to 10 years of probation, with the first six months to be spent in the Oneida County jail.

Mykel was a psychiatric assistant at the Utica hospital when he became friendly with a patient and had sex with her in February, attorneys said. The woman later reported the incident, however, reportedly feeling that Mykel had taken advantage of her.

This is the first year that such conduct was considered a crime under state law, which now states that anyone under the care of the state Office of Mental Health cannot give legal consent to have sex with any employee at its facilities.

“I’d just like to apologize for my actions to the court, especially the victim,” Mykel said to Judge Michael Dwyer.

Because Mykel’s crime did not involve any children, Dwyer dropped the terms of Mykel’s probation that would have required him to stay away from shopping malls, parks, playgrounds and other public locations commonly associated with children.

Source: Rocco LaDuca, “Ex-psych assistant sentenced for sex with St. E’s patient,” Utica Observer-Dispatch, November 18, 2013.

Texas psychologist indicted in $158 million fraud scheme

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 7:07 pm

HOUSTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) — A federal grand jury has indicted a Houston doctor, alleging she took part in a $158 million Medicare fraud scheme, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The indictment charges Sharon Iglehart, 56, with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and four counts of healthcare fraud, the U.S. Justice Department said in a release.

Iglehart, who was arrested Monday, could be sent to prison for up to 10 years on each count if convicted, prosecutors said.

Iglehart is accused of taking part in a scheme to defraud Medicare from 2005 to May 2012. Under the alleged scheme, fraudulent claims were submitted to Medicare for partial hospitalization program services through a Houston hospital for treatment that wasn’t needed or never provided.

The services are for intensive outpatient treatment for severe mental illness.

Earnest Gibson III, the hospital’s administrator, and Mohammad Khan, an assistant administrator, also were indicted in the Medicare Fraud Strike Force investigation last year, along with William Bullock III, Robert Ferguson, Regina Askew, Leslie Clark and Robert Crane, the Justice Department said.

Khan and Clark have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

The fraud strike force, started in March 2007, has charged more than 1,700 individuals who had collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $5.5 billion, the Justice Department said.

Source: “Texas doctor indicted in $158 million Medicare fraud scheme,”UPI, December 17, 2013.

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