On February 18, 2014, the Indiana Behavioral Health and Human Services Licensing Board indefinitely suspended the license of clinical social worker Elizabeth Covington, whose license the Board summarily suspended in July 2012 following an investigation which found that Covington had engaged in sexual intercourse with an inmate of the correctional facility where she was employed and had also trafficked in contraband. On or about May 2, 2013, Covington pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct and sentenced to probation.
March 20, 2014
The Minnesota Board of Psychology issued the following disciplinary actions:
In September 2013, the Board denied licensure to Denise Wood, Psy.D.
In December 2013, Marguerite Butler, Ph.D was indefinitely suspended.
In January 2014:
- Anne M. Vorbach, Ph.D., LP, was suspended.
- Nicholas Gammello, MA, LP was suspended.
- Robin L. Wetzel, Ph.D. LP, was suspended.
- John DeFrancisco, MA, LP, was suspended.
On May 7, 2013, professional counselor Patricia DeLorenzo voluntarily surrendered her license to the New Jersey Board of Marriage & Family Therapy Examiners Professional Counselor Examiners Committee. This follows DeLorenzo’s November 15, 2012 plea of guilty to charges of devising and intending to devise a scheme to obtain money fraudulently from the funds of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
On July 31, 2013, the North Carolina Psychology Board suspended the license of psychologist Hillary Siedler, Ph.D. until April 1, 2014/ According to the Board’s document, Siedler was found to have committed immoral, unethical, dishonorable or unprofessional conduct in the practice of psychology and practiced in such a way as to endanger the welfare of clients.
On February 20, 2014, psychologist Roseanne A. Bostonian surrendered her license indefinitely to the New Jersey Board of Psychological Examiners. According to the Board’s document, Bostonian had earlier surrendered her Department of Education certification, which granted her the authority to practice psychology in a school setting. That surrender was deemed a revocation. The basis for the surrender was an allegation that beginning in 1991-1992 and possibly sometime thereafter, Bostonian engaged in boundary violations involving a personal relationship with a student, whom she had counseled in the school setting. The Board was made aware of the Department of Education’s action in August 2013.
On January 13, 2014, the Pennsylvania Department of Health ordered Psychologist Marvin Berman to pay a civil penalty of $2,500 plus investigation costs and to desist from the practice of psychology in the state of Pennsylvania. He shall not represent himself as a psychologist, practice or purport to practice psychology. The reason for this is that he practiced psychologist without a license. In March 2010, the Department of Health revoked Berman’s license for gross incompetence, negligence and misconduct, as well as engaging in the practice of psychology without a valid license, failure to maintain records and immoral and unprofessional conduct.
The legal fate of former forensic psychiatrist Aubrey Levin, accused of sexually molesting two male patients under his care at his office in Peter Lougheed Centre, is now in the hands of a jury.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Beth Hughes sent the jury out to deliberate at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on two sexual-assault charges against the 74-year-old doctor.
The jury deliberated for six hours before being excused for the night. The jurors will return to their deliberations tomorrow morning.
Both charges had first gone to trial in 2012, but were among four counts that ended up with a hung jury. He was convicted of three similar charges and acquitted of two others in the first trial.
Two of the four counts subject to the jury deadlock were stayed by the Crown and the other two were set for the second trial.
Levin appealed the first three convictions last October, but the Alberta Court of Appeal has yet to release a decision.
Crown prosecutor Shane Parker argued Tuesday that Levin should be found guilty of both charges, saying he had no authority to conduct any examination of his patients’ genitals,
“If you say this was not a proper exam, then there’s only one other reason: it was done for a sexual purpose,” Parker told the jury of six men and six women.
“A psychiatrist should not be doing these types of exams. When you fondle a person’s genitals, it is a continuous sexual assault. These men had their sexual integrity violated … it was fraud, it was medical make-believe. The fairy tale is over.”
Parker also stressed that Levin made no notes or any other type of documentation of the visits, presumably so he would not get in trouble.
Defence lawyer Chris Archer outright discredited one complainant, J.M., who testified Levin fondled him for some 30 seconds during an exam to check for sexually transmitted disease on Dec. 15, 2009.
He said Levin was checking the other patient, K.S., for potential melanoma, a type of skin cancer on his genitals, on Nov. 5, 2008, and during a followup on Feb. 3, 2010. Archer said Levin wanted to see if the mole was still there and if it had grown. Both alleged assaults took a few minutes of the total appointments.
“The examination of K.S. was a valid medical examination for melanoma,” said Archer. “It was proper medical exam for cancer screening. If the mole is melanoma, it’s potentially deadly.
“These were complete medical exams, nothing more, nothing less. They were done in a doctor’s office by a doctor.”
Parker said Levin did not wear rubber gloves, for protection of both himself and the patients, he did no actual tests for melanoma, no referral to an oncologist or other specialist, and he made no followups.
March 14, 2014
On June 18, 2013, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration Office of Diversion Control granted psychiatrist David A. Ruben’s application to renew his DEA controlled substance registration with conditions and suspended it for a year as of July 18, 2014. This action was related to disciplinary action taken against Ruben by the Arizona Medical Board. On May 21, 2010, the Board censured Ruben and restricted him from prescribing opioid drugs for a period of one year. He was additionally placed on probation with terms and conditions for two years. According to the Board’s order, Ruben deviated from the standard of care with 12 patients to whom he prescribed controlled substances and other dangerous drugs without doing one or more of the following: conducting evaluations; ordering lab studies; obtaining past medical records; obtaining a history of alcohol or substance abuse or a past psychiatric history or performing a functional assessment to support the diagnosis and prescription.
A tearful Brooklyn shrink who lied about treating needy veterans to bilk Medicare out of more than $1 million in unearned reimbursements was sentenced to 18 months in jail Thursday in Brooklyn federal court.
Dr. Mikhail Presman, 56, inflated the number of patients he treated between 2006 and 2013 to suck up extra Medicare money, according to court papers. He was fired from his post at the Brooklyn VA Hospital after his arrest.
Many of the visits never happened, and investigators discovered that he was gallivanting around China with his family during some of the supposed treatments.
“I cannot stress enough how sorry and regretful and embarrassed I am,” Presman told the court Thursday before being sentenced. “Everything I worked so hard to achieve I lost by my own wrongdoing.”
A native of Russia, Presman told the court that he brought his family to America in 1992 and worked hard to establish his practice before greed overtook him.
Judge Leo Glasser — a veteran himself — acknowledged the severity of Presman’s brazen fraud but still sentenced him to 18 months, less than half of the bottom end of federal sentencing guidelines.
“Dr. Presman was hired and paid by the taxpayers to treat those who sacrifice so much for our country — our injured veterans,” said US Attorney Loretta Lynch at the time of his bust.
“As alleged, by defrauding the Medicare program, he betrayed the trust placed in him and stole from the very taxpayers who paid his salary. Far from honoring their sacrifice, Dr. Presman used our veterans as a cover for deceit and fraud.”
Presman has agreed to pay the government $1.2 million in restitution for the money he stole.
A jury has unanimously blamed the death of a schizophrenic Hatfield man on serious failings at the psychiatric unit based at Welwyn Garden City’s QE2 Hospital.
In a narrative verdict after a four-day inquest into the death of Ozan Atasoy, 34, of Lemsford Road, a jury identified five failings by the Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Welwyn Garden City unit.
The jury found that despite strict instructions not to allow Mr Atasoy out of Mymms Ward on the first floor, he had slipped out behind another patient, and escaped from the smoking garden over a five-foot fence on May 6, 2012.
Thirteen days later, he was found dead in the River Thames in London.
Although the jury did not rule on how he entered the river, his father has no doubt that he jumped from Blackfriars Bridge.
Mr Atasoy was detained for his own protection under the Mental Health Act as he was plagued by voices urging him to kill himself, and his parents had warned managers the fence was too low.
His father, Cahit Atasoy, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We are pleased with the verdict.
“The whole thing was a shambles.
“They [the trust] have now done things like raising the height of the fence and changing the layout of the garden.
“But the staff are the same. The staffing was inadequate. There must be training and monitoring to ensure nobody else has to go through what we went through.”
Source: “Serious failure led to death of Hatfield psychiatric patient,” Welwyn Hatfield Times, March 10, 2014.