On June 4, 2013, the Idaho Board of Medicine revoked the license of psychiatrist Richard J. Pines based, among other things, on: engaging in sexual conduct or sexual contact with a high-school senior who was Pines’ former foster child; asking to and performing naked massages of another of his former children, under the guise of a requirement of keeping his medical license and engaged in a three-year affair with a woman to whom he prescribed controlled substances.
July 31, 2013
Psychiatrist loses license in Canada for sexual misconduct; skips back to Ireland and gets license…then gets found out
On or about March 11, 2013, the Irish Medical Council announced that it had obtained a High Court order suspending psychiatrist Bolarinwa Olutosin Oluwole (the order came in February 2012 but his identify was not revealed at that time, by order of the court).
Oluwole, who had previously been registered to practice in Ireland, reapplied for licensure some time in late 2012 or early 2013 but neglected to disclose on his application that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia had revoked his license in November 2012, due to having engaged in sexual intercourse with two female patients and for acting inappropriately with another.
Oluwole admitted to the College that he’d engaged in sexual misconduct.
On April 10, 2013, the Massachusetts Board of Physicians reprimanded psychiatrist Frederic Schiffer and terminated and earlier voluntary agreement not to practice.
The Board’s news release stated that Schiffer committed a boundary violation with a patient.
Schiffer is an Associate Attending Psychiatrist at McLean and an Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and a clinical investigator at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital.
On May 8, 2013, The Massachusetts State Board of Medicine indefinitely suspended the license of psychiatrist Raymond W. Kam, finding that he engaged in conduct that places into question his competence to practice medicine, and that he failed to notify the Department of Children and Families (DCF) that he had reasonable cause to believe a child was suffering injury resulting from abuse. The suspension may be stayed upon his entry into a 5-year Probation Agreement after two years retroactive to June 25, 2012, when he entered into a Voluntary Agreement Not to Practice with the Board. Dr. Kam will be required to undergo a clinical skills assessment.
On May 21, 2013, psychiatrist Byron Kilgore surrendered his license to the Medical Board of California.
According to the Board’s document, Kilgore engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient.
Kilgore began treating the patient in 1974 and continued to see the patient intermittently at various time intervals, including between 2001 and 2009.
In 2008, the sessions became more flirtatious and Kilgore would sometimes hug her at the end of sessions.
In or about May 2009, Kilgore engaged in a sexual encounter, including sexual intercourse with the patient, at a hotel near his office, followed by two or three further encounters in his office in the ensuing weeks.
The sexual relationship then ended and the patient stopped seeing Kilgore.
On June 3, 2013, psychiatrist Ananth Shanmugam surrender his license to the Medical Board of California, admitting that, at a hearing, the Board could establish a factual basis for the charges against him contained in the Board’s October 3, 2011 Accusation, which alleged gross negligence and repeated negligent acts for attempting to establish a romantic relationship with a patient.
Shanmugam treated the patient March to May 2010, during which he talked to her about her feelings, how her medications were affecting her, her sex life, what she could do to make sex better and about her relationship with her husband.”
Shanmugan sent the patient text messages which turned increasingly personal and inappropriate. The patients’ cellphone records showed that 273 text messages were exchanged between them over a three-week period.
July 29, 2013
A New York company that provided psychiatry services to nursing home residents with dementia has settled a whistleblower Medicare fraud case for $1 million. The son of a company founder reportedly filed the original False Claims Act complaint to initiate the case.
The Department of Justice alleged Park Avenue Medical Associates billed for psychiatry services for patients whose dementia or cognitive disorders actually made them unable to benefit from psychotherapy. Authorities also charged the company with billing for services where there was no documentation. PAMA billed for nearly 91,000 exams that “were duplicative, failed to comply with Medicare rules and reflected a lack of coordination of care both among PAMA’s own psychiatrist, psychologists and nurses, and between PAMA”s employees and staff at the facilities at which PAMA performed services,” according to the complaint.
Prosecutors said the organization gave incentives to employees to “perform unnecessary and duplicative services by compensating them based on how many services they provided and the level at which Medicare reimbursed for those services.” It continued that PAMA’s compliance program was “inadequate” to detect and counter the illegal billings.
In a statement sent to McKnight’s, Park Avenue Medical Associates said it “fully cooperated with the government during the course of this inquiry. It is pleased that this matter is now settled and that the uncertainties and cost of protracted litigation with the government have been avoided.”
The settlement, which can be seen here, was approved Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon. PAMA also entered into a corporate integrity agreement with the government, which guarantees additional oversight for a period of time.
The False Claims Act case became all the more interesting Thursday when it was reported by the New York Post that the whistleblower, Zachery Wolfson, is the son of the company’s chief medical officer and founding partner, Mitchell Wolfson, M.D. The younger Wolfson stands to collect as much as $250,000 for filing the original complaint, according to the Post.
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Dr Bolarinwa Olutosin Oluwole, who had been working as a locum at a medical centre in Dublin until earlier this month, as well as for the Cavan/Monaghan Mental Health Service earlier this year, was struck off by the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) in Nova Scotia arising out of complaints made against him by the women.
All three had gone to him suffering from anxiety and depression while the he was practising as a consultant psychiatrist at Yarmouth
Regional Hospital, Nova Scotia, from January 2008 to March 2010.
He was struck off by the CPS in October 2012.
According to papers filed in the High Court, one of the women, who was seeking treatment over suicidal thoughts, alleged he took advantage of her by hugging, kissing and touching her, leading to sexual intercourse.
She also alleged he exchanged text messages of a sexual nature as well as gifts.
The second woman complained he commented on her appearance, attempted to hug her and touched her on the knee.
The third woman, who was treated between November 2009 and February 2010, said he touched and fondled her leading to sexual intercourse during appointments. She alleged he gave her a nickname and also gave her a greeting card.
Authorities at Yarmouth Hospital also found a CD of sexually explicit photographs of a woman along with condoms, sexual lubricant and a greeting card in his desk, the report of the CPS hearing into his misconduct stated.
Dr Oluwole, who graduated in medicine in Ibadan University in Nigeria, admitted sexual misconduct in a settlement agreement at the CPS hearing but denied having sex with the women.
He came to Ireland where he had previously been registered but his name had been removed for non-payment of fees. He had re-applied for registration to the Medical Council but on his application form, he failed to disclose, as he was obliged to, that he had been struck off in another jurisdiction.
A Nevada state psychiatric hospital under fire for busing hundreds of mentally ill patients to cities across the nation over the past five years will not appeal a decision stripping it of its accreditation.
A committee of the Joint Commission, an independent agency that accredits hospitals nationwide, last week issued a preliminary denial of accreditation for Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas, citing multiple violations of quality care standards, many related to patient safety.
The hospital had the option to appeal, and keep its accreditation during the process, but officials announced late Thursday they would waive that right and that the hospital and affiliated programs would lose accreditation as of today.
“Rather than pursue an appeal, Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services plans to request a new accreditation review in the near future when the hard work and great effort to improve services for our patients will be considered and recognized by the Joint Commission,” Mike Willden, director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.
The hospital will remain open, Willden said. Most of its funding comes from the state, and the loss of accreditation does not automatically affect the flow of federal Medicare dollars. The hospital for now remains certified with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
But the loss of accreditation – a rare step taken against fewer than 1 percent of hospitals each year – will be a stain on the hospital’s reputation, particularly as it tries to retain and recruit staff to fix myriad problems identified by internal and external audits.
“It’s a very big deal,” said Troy Lair, CEO and president of The Compliance Doctor, a Los Angeles-based firm that consults with health organizations across the country on accreditation.
Private insurance companies generally will not pay for patient care in a hospital that is not accredited, Lair said. “They will not be able to see any type of private insurance patient,” he said.
In a best case scenario, Lair said, it generally takes a hospital up to a year to regain accreditation. Many hospitals that lose accreditation end up closing.
Joint Commission surveyors visited Rawson-Neal twice in May, following a series of Bee reports examining patient discharge practices at the facility, which serves as Nevada’s primary hospital for the mentally ill.
The Bee launched its investigation after Rawson-Neal bused a mentally ill homeless man to Sacramento in mid-February without making arrangements for his treatment or housing.
James Flavy Coy Brown, 48, who suffers from schizophrenia, had been living homeless in Las Vegas for years when he ended up at Rawson-Neal earlier this year with symptoms of psychosis. Seventy-two hours later, he was discharged via Greyhound to Sacramento.
Brown told The Bee he had never been to Sacramento and had no friends or family in the city, but that a Rawson-Neal doctor had suggested he would like “sunny California.” He arrived 15 hours later, confused and suicidal, and spent three days in the UC Davis Medical Center emergency room before staffers there were able to find him shelter.
A subsequent review of Greyhound bus receipts purchased by the state for Rawson-Neal patients found the hospital has bused roughly 1,500 patients to states across the nation over the past five years, a third of them to California.
By policy, those patients were put on buses alone, with one-way tickets, a small supply of medication and Ensure nutritional supplement.
In the months since The Bee published its findings, Nevada health officials have largely defended the hospital’s busing practices as safe and humane, arguing that the vast majority of patients transported out of state were mentally stable and wanted to leave. They insisted that in all but a handful of cases, staff members confirmed before discharge that patients had relatives and treatment arrangements waiting for them at the other end of their bus trips.
But Bee interviews with current and former Rawson-Neal staffers, as well as eight former patients, found multiple cases in which that protocol was not followed.
In April, Rawson-Neal revised its policy and no longer discharges people to buses without an escort.
The Joint Commission did not detail the specific conditions or treatment that prompted the denial of accreditation. Its statement simply lists numerous agency standards the hospital did not meet.
During their first May visit, they found 23 standards had not been not met. Among them: ensuring staff are competent to perform their responsibilities; educating patients during discharge about follow-up care; and giving adequate information to other service providers who will care for patients following discharge.
During a subsequent visit, Joint Commission inspectors cited Rawson-Neal for failing to meet 35 standards, many related to patient safety.
Willden said Thursday he was disappointed in the Joint Commission’s decision, arguing it “is not an accurate reflection of the hospital’s current practices and policies.”
The appeal process, he said in his statement, “does not allow the consideration of new information such as changes and improvements to discharge processes, treatment programs, and oversight accountability. The appeal process also does not take into account the follow-up surveys conducted by the Joint Commission itself which concluded the facility is in compliance with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions of Participation.”
A spokeswoman for Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said Thursday the governor “continues to evaluate the progress of Rawson-Neal.”
Spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner said Sandoval has requested special legislative action to get budgeted funding to the hospital more quickly “and to address any outstanding concerns with the facility.”
The hospital remains the subject of several outside probes. The city attorneys in Los Angeles and San Francisco are investigating whether Rawson-Neal has been systematically dumping patients across state lines for years. Last month, Sacramento civil rights lawyer Mark Merin filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status against Nevada and Rawson-Neal, contending the busing policy violated patients’ constitutional rights.
Source: Phillip Reese and Cynthia Hubert, “Nevada mental hospital accepts loss of accreditation,” Sacramento Bee, July 26, 2013.