Psych Crime Reporter

August 22, 2011

Three disciplinary actions in three and a half years? Why is psychiatrist Peter Benet still allowed to practice?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 12:19 pm

On August 16, 2011, the Connecticut Medical Examining Board (“Board”) issued a Consent Order on psychiatrist Peter Benet.

This is the third Board disciplinary action in three and a half years against Benet, for obvious harm to patients yet each time the Board has merely ordered him to pay a fine.

One has to wonder if the Board is more interested in money than in protecting the public a psychiatrist who appears to prescribing drugs with no informed consent, no meaningful patient interaction and no follow-up.

Benet’s Connecticut medical license expired January 31, 2011 and he failed to renew it but continued to practice even after the license was rendered void on May 2, 2011. He applied for reinstatement sometime in mid-July 2011.

At that time, the Board charged him with treatment of a patient which failed to meet the standard of care in several ways. Specifically, Benet provided treatment to patient “P.F.” on March 21, 2009 and into the summer of that year and started the patient on a course of lithium without obtaining necessary laboratory studies.*  Futher, he failed to monitor P.F.’s response to the drug and failed to return phone calls from P.F. and his wife.

The Board also charged Benet with practicing on an expired license after May 2, 2011 and until at least  July 13, 2011.

The Board ordered Benet to pay a civil penalty of $10,000.

This is not the first time Benet has been disciplined over his apparent ignorance and/or ineptitude regarding the use of lithium: In March 2008, the Board issued a Consent Order in which Benet admitted that he “deviated from the applicable standard of care” in his treatmen of patient “AKB” because he failed to coordinate his prescription of lithium with her hypothyroidism” and/or “failed to record adequate clinical justification for his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder.” Despite the adverse effect this had on AKB’s quality of life (and that of her child and family) over an extended period, Dr. Benet was merely required to pay a $3,000 civil penalty.

Just over a year later, in June 2009, the Board fined Benet for delivering substandard care to a patient who developed the incurable nerve disorder tardive dyskinesia (abbreviated “TD,” the disorder  manifests in involuntary muscle contractions of the face, neck, etc.).  According to the Board’s report, Benet prescribed the patient multiple drugs, some of which are known to cause TD. However, the patient’s medical record does not reflect that Benet advised the patient of the risks associated with at least seven of the drugs he prescribed. The Board also charged Benet with failure to coordinate his prescriptions with drugs the patient was already taking for extant medical conditions. The Board fined Benet $15,000 and placed his license on probation for one year.  He was also ordered to hire a supervising psychiatrist to conduct a random review of his patient records and complete courses in TD and managing medications.

As a result of the current disciplinary action, Benet’s license was placed on probation for two years and he is  again required to have a portion of his patient files reviewed by a licensed physician pre-approved by the Board.

* Lithium can be toxic to the liver and lethal to the patient, and thus patients taking the drug must be tested prior to its prescription and must receive routine testing for as long as they take it.

Source: Reinstatement Consent Order in re: Peter Benet, M.D., Petition No. 2011-839, Petition No. 2009-20091603, State of Connecticut Depart of Health, “State medical board disciplines South Windsor psychiatrist,” Hartford Courant, June 17, 2009.

 

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August 15, 2011

Were you placed on an emergency mental health hold at St. John’s Hospital, St. Louis, MO?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 8:52 pm

Psych Crime Reporter was contacted by a St. Louis resident who possesses evidence that they were placed on a 96-hour emergency mental health hold (for “observation and treatment”) when they were not, according to the law, “mentally ill” and/or a danger to themselves or others.

This individual feels that what occurred to them was not an isolated occurrence but business as usual for St. John’s emergency room and behavioral health department.

This person is not intending to just let it pass and is seeking other people who have had similar experiences and want to do something about it.

I will pass on your messages to them if you leave a comment.

Sue                                                                                                                                                     Psych Crime Reporter

August 11, 2011

Clinical social worker Amy Eyles receives board warning on confidentiality

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:49 am

On April 19, 2011, the Maine Board of Social Work Licensure issued a warning against licensed clinical social worker Amy L. Eyles for a violation of both the Board rules and the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics Provisions.

The Board’s statement of facts states that Eyles was providing both group and individual counseling to a client who left the group due to troubles with another member in the group. In e-mail communications encouraging the client to return to the group, Eyles discussed a new member of the group, including the person’s profession and professional difficulties and also discussed with the former client other group members, assessments of their participation in the group and also revealed some issues they were dealing with.

The client objected to this pattern of sharing and Eyles apologized but repeated the behavior thereafter, leading to a second objection by the former client, who felt that her own confidentiality might also not be respected. Eyles also engaged in e-mail communications with the former client which disclosed excessive personal information.

Eyles acknowledged the facts to be true.

In addition to the warning, the Board required that Eyles’ practice be placed under the supervision and consultation of an outside clinical social worker for two years.

Source: Consent Agreement, in re: Amy L. Eyles, Complaint #2010-SOC-6112, State of Maine Board of Social Work Licensure.

Psychologist Mary O’Neill seeks return of license revoked for sex with patient

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:24 am

In April 2010, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Psychology revoked the license of psychologist Mary O’Neill, who acknowledged beginning a sexual relationship with a patient just weeks after his therapy sessions with her ended. O’Neill has, of late, petitioned a single justice of the state’s Supreme Court to review her revocation, arguing that the Board failed to considering “mitigating evidence” to justify her behavior. Both O’Neill and the Board have asked the court to hear the case, which it agreed to do. Oral arguments begin in the fall.

Source: Colman M. Herman, “Psychologist seeks return of license,” Commonwealth magazine, June 22, 2011.

Psychologist Peter Clark-Saunders suspended for three years for sex talk, etc.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:12 am
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On December 10, 2010, the Psychologists Tribunal of New South Wales suspended the license of psychologist Peter Clark-Saunders (aka Peter Clark, Peter Clark Saunders, Peter McCann) for a minimum of three years for professional misconduct.

The prosecution was the result of several complaints made to the Victims Services of the Attorney General’s Department by victims of crime who were being counseled by Clark-Saunders. Specifically, the Tribunal’s document contains the complaints of four patients.

Three of the four testified that Clark-Saunders made casual and suggestive conversation with them about his sex life and:

Client A: “He would tell me about how he would have sex with men who he met out. He had an active sex life and only spoke about sex with men.”

Client B: “…he suggested me that myself, Mark and Mark’s bisexual girlfriend have a threesome and they would be willing to pay me.”

Client C: “Peter was always talking about sex and his boyfriends during counseling sessions. He would often talk about young boys as well (young adults, not children) and his sex life.”

The Tribunal’s document also contains testimony from the patients as to Clark-Saunders’ drug use in their presence; his socializing/boundary violations with them (social visits, text messaging, etc.) and his charging Victims Services for counseling session when no counseling actually occurred (because he spent the session talking about himself and his problems) and his having friends or other non-therapeutic personnel attending counseling sessions, among other things.

One patient also testified that when she would get upset and confront him about his conduct and lack of involvement in her therapy, “…he would threaten to report me to the mental health authorities…specifically…the Victims Compensation Tribunal. I have text messages on my mobile phone from Peter showing this.”

The Tribunal accepted the patients’ testimony and found Clark-Saunders guilty of professional misconduct relative to eight separate complaints against him.

Clark-Saunders is thereby prohibited from providing any psychotherapy, counseling, welfare or related health services to the public during his suspension.

Source: HCCC v Clark-Saunders, Psychologists Tribunal of New South Wales, Matter Number PST 005/2009 PS0041476.

Illinois board places psychiatrist Dexter Whittemore on probation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:06 am

On April 6, 2011, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation placed the license of psychiatrist Dexter Whittemore on indefinite probation.

This action occurred following disciplinary actions taken against Whittemore by the state of Minnesota, which, in November 2009, reprimanded him for unprofessional and unethical conduct; improper management of medical records and for engaging in conduct that is sexual or may reasonably be interpreted by the patient as sexual.

In addition to the reprimand, he was prohibited from providing treatment to patients or to meet with them outside of a hospital or clinical setting and other conditions for the next two years.

He was also required to pay a $682 civil penalty.

Also in November 2009, Whittemore surrendered his license in the state of California, also relative to the actions taken against him in Minnesota.

Source: Entry in Illinois Dept. of Financial and Professional Regulation News, Stipulation and Order In the Matter of the Medical License of Dexter D. Whittemore, M.D., license 17,811, Minnesota Board of Practice, filed November 14, 2009 and Stipulated Surrender of License, In the Matter of the Accusation Against Dexter Delmont Whittemore, Jr., M.D., Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate No. C32389, Case No. 16-2009-203303, Medical Board of California, filed January 25, 2010.       

August 9, 2011

Missouri mental health counselor Kristi M. Smith pleads guilty to fraud

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:10 am

On July 19, 2011. the Missouri Attorney General announced that Kristi M. Smith, a provisionally licensed professional counselor, pleaded guilty to one count each of Medicaid fraud, forgery and stealing by deceit–all felonies.

Smith admitted having submitted claims for reimbursement to Medicaid for children’s counseling services she did not perform and presented documents with forged signatures to support the fraudulent claims.

Smith billed the state Medicaid program for more than $3,200 in false claims between November 2009 and September 2010. She will be sentenced September 20.

Source: Pemiscot County woman pleads guilty in Medicaid fraud case,” news release of the Missouri Attorney General, July 19, 2011.

State revokes license of counselor Ricardo N. Vargas following sex conviction

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:08 am

On or around July 26, 2011, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs revoked the license of professional counselor Ricardo Nolan Vargas, following his criminal conviction for criminal sexual conduct.

Vargas, whose entry on the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ website shows him to hold a license as “professional counselor – educational limited,” was convicted in February 2011 of four misdemeanor counts, which stemmed from instances of inappropriate touching with a minor.

He was sentenced to 165 days in jail and ordered to pay $2,777 in fines.

Source: “Counselor loses license after CSC conviction,” ClickOnDetroit.com, Local4News, July 26, 2011.

State medical board accuses psychiatrist Stephen Merritt Raffle of negligence

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:06 am

On July 14, 2011, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against psychiatrist Stephen Merritt Raffle for unprofessional conduct, excessive treatment, failure to maintain adequate records, repeated negligent acts and gross negligence.

The Board’s document states that in or around 1978, Raffle counseled a then-25-year-old patient relative to the death of the patient’s father and an ensuing probate dispute with his uncle over the deceased father’s estate.

When the therapy was concluded (also in or around 1978), Raffle invited the patient to continue therapy in order to discuss Raffle’s financial advice for him, to help him “get ahead.” The patient continued seeing Raffle for the next 30 years, until 2008. The “therapy” consisted mainly of discussions about real estate. In or around 1998, Raffle helped the patient set up a business by helping him draft documents to be used in the business and recommending a direct mail business plan to the patient.

In or around 2004, the patient purchased an apartment building with five units with the purpose of living in one unit and living off the rental income. Raffle advised the patient to convert the property to condominiums for sale and advised him on loans and legal counsel.

The patient followed his advice but ran out of funds before the project could be completed and could not get another loan. Raffle recommended that the patient sign the property over to him, who would then rent one of the condo units to the patient. The patient declined and discontinued therapy.

All of these interactions took place during therapy sessions.

Between 2004 and 2008, Raffle did not create or maintain patient records; failed to discontinue therapy with the patient in the absence of demonstrated psychoanalytical results and engaged in boundary violations when he discussed his own business and real estate knowledge and experience and referring the patient to lawyers and lenders.

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against Stephen Merritt Raffle, M.D., License No. G 16478, Case No. 03-2009-198781, Medical Board of California.

State medical board issues charges against Anna Nicole psych Khristine Eroshevich

Filed under: Uncategorized — Psych Crime Reporter @ 10:03 am

On July 13, 2011, the Medical Board of California issued an Accusation against psychiatrist Khristine Elaine Eroshevich for dishonest acts, creation of false record and unprofessional conduct.

The Accusation alleges that in two instances, Eroshevich submitted claims for psychiatric evaluations which she indicated she’d conducted when in fact he had never met with either of the patients.

In one case, which occurred in 2006, a workers workers compensation claimant met with an employee of Eroshevich’s who took a psychiatric history and then with a colleague who performed a mental status exam. The claimant did not at any time meet with Eroshevich but the 38-page report which she provided stated “I, Kristine Eroshevich, M.D., Ph.D, personally took the pertinent history of the applicant and performed the psychiatric examination.”

In the other instance, which occurred in 2004, a claimant met with a colleague of Eroshevich’s, who took a psychiatric history and performed a psychiatric examination but never met with Eroshevich. Nevertheless, Eroshevich provided a 44-page report which contained numerous statements such as “I took the applicant’s history and performed the psychiatric evaluation,” which were false.

Source: Accusation in the Matter of the Accusation Against Khristine Eroshevich, M.D., License No. C37980, Case No. 17-2009-197998, Medical Board of California.

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