R. J. Oenbrink DO, Cheryl A. Oenbrink
103A Shore Lake Dr
Greensboro NC 27455
(561) 371-2805 VOX (561) 262-8432
(336) 676-5572 FAX
Governor Pat McCrory
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-2000
(919) 733-2120 FAX
Subject: Complaints regarding the North Carolina Medical Board’s Legal Dept.
Dear Gov. McCrory;
Please note that everywhere in this document that I refer to the NCMB, the real intent references their legal department in general and attorney Marcus Jimison in particular. By the very nature of how Boards and Committees operate, they must use the information provided to them by their sources. Regarding my issues, their legal department has criminally misinformed the NCMB physicians and other Board members as this document details. This document is best reviewed on a computer so that the hyperlinks can display.
I’ve practiced Family Medicine as a Board Certified physician since 1989 despite having Asperger’s Syndrome, which is recognized by the ADA as a protected disability. In twenty-three years of practice in Florida I’ve had no Medical Board issues attributable to my disability. This disability is part of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. Asperger’s presents itself primarily as difficulty with nonverbal communication. I must concentrate on paying attention to these cues. Classic examples can be seen in the character of “Dr. Sheldon Cooper” in “Big Bang Theory” and the UK “Doc Martin”, or an article written by another physician with Asperger’s http://risablairlovitz.com/2012/05/25/guest-writer-dr-victor-tulchinsky-d-o-physician-with-aspergers-syndrome-how-having-aspergers-has-influenced-his-practice/. Another characteristic of the syndrome is intense interest in a specific field or endeavor. My area is general medicine. This has served me well throughout my career. Notable Aspergian’s include Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson
In 2011 I replaced a physician who was “burnt out” at the end of his career. Proper care was neglected for his patients. For the next year I was extremely busy as I concentrated on correcting deficiencies in their care in a busy practice seeing 20-30+ patients daily. Consequently, I didn’t spend enough of my attention on the non-verbal aspects of communication with some of my patients. Despite having a 98.6% approval rating on an anonymous survey of patients done by my employer, there were some disgruntled patients (other comments in folder McCrory Letter/My Patient’s Comments). Complaints were sent to the NC Medical Board. None of the complaints involved substandard care or in any way endangered patients; they are attributable to my Asperger’s Disability.
The NC Medical Board (NCMB) has not investigated complaints that were lodged against me. If they had done the most cursory investigation my innocence would have been proven. They have not yet threatened to charge me with any of the complaints that they did investigate. I am voluntarily under contract with the North Carolina Physicians Health Plan (NCPHP), which deals with physicians with impairments or disabilities. Logan Graddy, MD is the psychiatrist who is my primary contact at the NCPHP. Both Dr. Graddy and Jim Wilson, my attorney have explained to me that the Board intends to suspend my medical license for two years as a result of my disability despite their lack of evidence due to their lack of investigation regarding the facts of the patient accusations involved. The NCMB’s stated intent is to punish me for behavior attributed to the Asperger’s Syndrome that I was born with and that I’ve practiced with from 1989 until 2011 without incident. In other states, when the equivalent of the NCPHP clears a patient to return to practice, the Medical Board is no longer liable; the liability shifts to the impaired physician program, which cleared the physician to return, and continues to monitor the physician. In North Carolina, Dr. Graddy has informed me that the NCMB does not pay any attention to recommendations by the NCPHP regarding impaired physicians. This violates the NCMB scope of practice as explained below.
90-14-6; Unprofessional Conduct;
Unprofessional conduct, including, but not limited to, departure from, or the failure to conform to, the standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice, or the ethics of the medical profession, irrespective of whether or not a patient is injured thereby, or the committing of any act contrary to honesty, justice, or good morals, whether the same is committed in the course of the licensee's practice or otherwise, and whether committed within or without North Carolina.
The NCMB refuses to tell me what I’ve done that constitutes unprofessional conduct. I am unaware of any such breach.
After the Board has made a nonpublic determination to initiate disciplinary proceedings, but before public charges have been issued, the licensee requesting so in writing, shall be entitled to an informal nonpublic pre-charge conference. At least five days prior to the informal nonpublic pre-charge conference, the Board will provide to the licensee the following: (i) all relevant information obtained during an investigation, including exculpatory evidence except for information that would identify an anonymous complainant; Marcus Jimison, the attorney for the NCMB refuses to meet with me per statutory requirements. The NCMB legal department vacillates between taking the position that I’ve had unprofessional conduct vs. my Asperger’s (which is itself, a violation of the ADA) without specifying what the unprofessional conduct or perhaps professional misconduct is.
(v) that the Board will complete its investigation within six months or provide an explanation as to why it must be extended; and (vi) that if the Board makes a decision to initiate public disciplinary proceedings, the licensee may request in writing an informal nonpublic pre-charge conference.
The Board shall complete any investigation initiated pursuant to this section no later than six months from the date of first communication required under subsection (i) the NCMB admits that they have not investigated nor do they have evidence on accusations that they're using as grounds for suspension of my license. (page 1).
As evidence of the above claims, please refer to the 20130730 Graddy Transcript with the emboldened items demonstrating my claims regarding the NCMB refusal to adhere to State Statutes (full recording available on request).
Regarding the violation of Federal Statutes:
This rule implements subtitle A of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Pub. L. 101-336, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities. Subtitle A protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in the services, programs, or activities of all State and local governments. According to http://www.ada.gov/montessori_academy_settle.htm autism spectrum disorders must be accommodated. Sixth Constitutional Amendment violation as well.
To further elaborate on the NCMB discrimination against me for my disability, on March 30, 2012 I was referred to the NCPHP for evaluation. They in turn, referred me to Acumen Associates, a multi-specialty mental health facility geared toward evaluating professionals. My diagnosis of Asperger’s was formally made with recommendations for treatment, which I’ve since undergone at the direction of the NCPHP with whom I’m under contract. Acumen released me to practice. The NCPHP concurred. I had previously signed a Non-Practice Agreement with the NCMB stipulating, “Nothing in this Interim Agreement shall constitute disciplinary action, a finding that Dr. Oenbrink has engaged in unprofessional conduct, a finding that Dr. Oenbrink is unsafe to practice medicine within the meaning of NC Gen. Stat. S90-14(a)5, or an admission by Dr. Oenbrink that he has committed any act that would constitute unprofessional conduct”. This document is posted on my profile on their website. This posting also violates my right to privacy per HIPPA. No further adverse actions on my part took place after this agreement went into effect. There was a patient seen 12/21/12 before the agreement went into effect who didn’t complain to the NCMB until mid-January 2013 after the NPA went into effect and before I had therapy at Acumen. NCMB counsel has threatened to use this to charge me.
According to an Email from my attorney, the NCMB admits that they have not investigated nor do they have evidence on accusations that they're using as grounds for suspension of my license. (page 1)
Madigan Army Medical (MAMC) Suspension not reported to the NCMB
Bruce Jarvis, NCMB investigator (828) 724-1850, email@example.com proved I had not been notified of a suspension which happened after I resigned. He was also unable to find evidence of actions warranting suspension. He stated this verbally 12/2011 to my attorney and me at the conclusion of his investigation. Currently my record at MAMC shows no evidence of disciplinary issues.
Alleged I violated HIPPA by loudly broadcasting her name and that she was an addict “all over the office”; This would be a criminal HIPPA breach, my evidence proves my innocence. This was never investigated by NCMB.
Alleged I disrobed her in exam room for annual physical with chaperone in room; Chaperone’s affidavit notes that patient requested my assistance (demented patient). This was never investigated by NCMB,
Ms. M (85 year old spouse of patient)
Complaint by son that I had made her uncomfortable in exam room while reassuring her that my patient/her spouse was going to recover from his infection OK; I did try to comfort her, but allegation is here-say as complaint that did not come from the person I touched. This was never investigated by NCMB. This is a classic example of Asperger’s inability to read nonverbal cues.
Overdosed on medications prescribed by other prescribers the day after seeing me. Investigation by NCMB cleared me of wrongdoing.
Daughter alleged that I refused to see patient. I was never notified patient was in office without a scheduled appointment. Daughter assumed I owned the large practice; I was merely an employee. NCMB cleared me of wrongdoing.
Disgruntled former employee whom I had never seen complained that I did not notify her of my leaving practice after the NCMB refused to return me to practice. NCMB cleared me of wrongdoing.
Seen 12/22/12; I saw 35 patients while short-staffed due to the holiday. She claims her knee touched my privates while I reached for the otoscope behind where she sat on the exam table. Furthermore, she claims to know my “thoughts, feelings and future intentions” and has been on prolonged amphetamine therapy which causes paranoia. I passed a second polygraph that I voluntarily took on my own initiative and cost regarding this. Why would I do this if I were guilty? I have absolutely no recollection of this patient as the polygraph showed.
I will be the first to admit that I’ve made mistakes. Clearly, I’m the common denominator in all of these accusations. I will also point out that the errors made by me are Aspergian in nature; with the most noble and pure of intentions, I’ve “stepped on toes” unintentionally.
The NCMB is charged with ensuring the safety of the populace of North Carolina. They license physicians.
They are responsible for dealing with complaints about those physicians.
They are also charged to ensure that physicians don’t practice outside of the scope of their training; Family Physicians don’t perform brain surgery.
The NCMB referred me to their consultant, the NCPHP regarding my disability. The NCMB evaluated me and in turn referred me to Acumen where an exhaustive multi-disciplinary three-day evaluation including polygraph examination was performed.
Both Acumen and the NCPHP have agreed that I am safe to return to practice.
Acumen specified that I return to practice IMMEDIATELY so that when I returned to the group of physicians I trained with there, in May and August 2013 we would share our experiences as we continued to help each other. I have not seen a patient since December of 2012. Acumen advised me that I need to be seeing patients for at least sixty days prior to returning there. I’ve thus missed the two follow-up training sessions scheduled to help me with my disability at the behest of the NCMB
There is not a single mental professional on the NCMB, yet they either over rule their consultants whom they mandated to diagnose and treat me or their legal department is acting independently.
I have been out of work for over seven months, despite the recommendations of their consultants. It’s unclear if this directive is coming from the NCMB physicians or solely from their legal department; the legal department won’t answer my queries to that effect. If this is in fact the case, then their legal department is practicing medicine without a license for which charges need to be leveled.
On July 15, 2009 I was invited to an interview for licensure by the NCMB. During that interview I was accused of “falsifying my application for licensure”. Mr. Jimison accused me of dishonesty in every employment and hospital privilege application I had made since my NC license was granted due to his statement that the 2009 meeting was a formal NCMB investigation. Clearly, according to the NCMB invitation for interview letter it was not an investigation. Mr. Jimison had access to my file. He knew the purpose of the 2009 interview, yet portrayed it to the committee on 3/21/13 as yet another example of my dishonesty and deceit. This slanderous comment was clearly intended to prejudice the investigative committee against me. In 2005 I had received a “private letter of guidance” from the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (FBOME) advising me to release a patient’s chart to her spouse without her knowledge, as HIPPA had not yet been enacted. I complied. Their letter stated that there was no need to reply, no disciplinary actions would be undertaken, no records were requested, that this letter was a simple letter of guidance. Other than this incident, I've never had an issue with the FBOME George Saunders, MD then-chair of the Board disagreed with his three counsel members that day, mandating that I accept a private letter of concern on my file as a condition of licensure. That was subsequently turned into a public letter which has acted as a “lightening rod” to bring about complaints from disgruntled patients; obviously, according to the complaint I’m a dishonest physician. Due to my own ignorance, having never dealt with a medical board in an adversarial manner, I hadn’t noticed that the NCMB had changed this document from private to public without my noticing it.
My NPA, which refers to my disability, is posted on the public website of the NCMB. I object to mention of my disability being posted. It’s a violation of my right to privacy. When I signed the NPA, my attorney advised me that it was strictly non-negotiable, that I should sign it immediately to avoid more severe consequences. I had no choice.
During my investigative hearing of 3/21/13 Mr. Jimison, counsel for the NCMB engaged in perjury and slander per the Graddy Transcript according to Dr. Graddy who was in the interview room while I was present, remaining there after I was dismissed. I recorded our conversation during the interview of 7/30/13.
During the 3/21/13 interview Mr. Jimison accused me of the following to the investigative committee;
1. My initial licensure interview was termed a formal investigation by Mr. Jimison to the committee (Mr. Jimison has full access to my file at the NCMB. The NCMB letter states that it is an “invitation for licensure interview”).
2. The committee was informed that every time I applied for employment or hospital privileges I lied when I represented myself as having never been investigated by the NCMB (the NCMB doesn’t get copies of these applications).
3. The incident at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma WA in which I resigned due to difficulties with changes of my job description made after my arrival there. Madigan allegedly suspended my privileges after my resignation there. The NCMB investigator Bruce Jarvis proved that I had never been notified of the suspension and that he could find no evidence of actions warranting a suspension.
4. Mr. Jimison represented to the committee that I had known about the suspension all along, when their documents clearly showed that it wasn’t until December 2011 that news of the suspension became evident. I only found out about the suspension when the NCMB sent me the information a year and a half after the event. Further investigation by me showed that I left Madigan with “No adverse actions in Practitioner Credentials File” per their credentialing department.
5. Mr. Jimison stated that I intentionally misrepresented the fact that I had never been suspended every time I applied for hospital privileges.
6. Dr. Graddy stated to me on 5/1/13, and at the start of the Graddy Transcript that he was in the interview room after I was dismissed. He also stated that after I was dismissed, Mr. Jimison continued to harangue me, assassinating my character to the committee while I was unable to be present to defend myself against his accusations.
None of Mr. Jimison’s allegations were true, yet they clearly prejudiced the committee that I deserved further punishment despite the fact that Mr. Jimison had full access to my NCMB file while making these false accusations against me.
Mr. Jimison told my attorney, Jim Wilson, that he could listen to the recordings made of the 7/15/09 and 3/21/13 meetings involving me. He was provided incomplete, edited copies of the recordings while being told that they were the original recordings. I submitted a set of questions detailing information that I knew was present on the original recordings. Mr. Wilson in turn replied with a letter that stated that not all of the items were on the recording he listened to. I had the opportunity to listen to the recording 8/5/13. I recorded recordings of the meetings of 7/5/09, 7/19/12 & 3/21/13. I clearly recall what happened at both meetings. I remember this because it was so significant in altering my situation. I remember it as clearly as Nancy Pelosi’s statement; “…we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it”.
Mike Weddington stated in his Email that Mr. Jimison was unduly aggressive during his interrogation of 3/21/13. These questions are missing from recordings made during my review of what was alleged to be the complete audio recordings and my subsequent transcript of a recording of a conversation with Mr. Wilson about the recordings we had just reviewed. During the 3/21/13 transcript, Mr. Jimison only asked me three questions. None of these were inflammatory or aggressive. Why would Mr. Weddington have made the statement above other than if portions of the recording had been deleted?
Specifically, during the 3/21/13 interview, Mr. Jimison stated that;
1. The 7/15/09 "Invitation for licensure interview" was actually a “formal NCMB investigation” (I was not even licensed yet; how could it be a formal investigation?).
2. That I dishonestly misrepresented myself every time I answered in the negative a question regarding my prior disciplinary history with the NCMB, that I had been investigated.
3. That on my letter of 8/8/11 I was trying to hide the fact that I had a “Public” letter of concern by requesting that it be returned to “Private” status as had been portrayed to me during the 7/15/09 interview by Dr. Saunders.
4. Mr. Jimison slandered me to the 3/21/13 Investigative Committee chaired by Dr. Hill by telling them that I was pathologically dishonest, could never be trusted and was incapable of telling the truth because of the points above and that I needed to be punished for the numerous problems I had had recently with patients (at least three of these accusations were not investigated, I was exonerated on three additional complaints and had proof of innocence in the remaining two). These issues were all portrayed to the committee as factual, legitimate complaints when in fact, they were not.
On 8/8/11 I wrote a letter to the NCMB appealing to remove or make private the Public Letter of Concern. In the letter of appeal, reference was made to the facts that:
1. There was a lengthy discussion between George Saunders MD, the two attorneys in the interview and Judge Wilson who was in the room about the “Private Letter of Guidance” from the FBOME; that it was NOT a formal investigation. Dr. Saunders adamantly and loudly demanded that I take a private letter of guidance. There was further discussion on what the effect of a private letter would have on me. When I asked what effect a private letter of concern would have on me I was told that it would just sit in my file and never harm me in any way if I didn’t do anything wrong. A “Public” letter on the other hand serves as a “lightening rod” to attract further complaints from dissatisfied patients. None of these referenced discrepancies appear on the referenced transcript of what was purported to be an accurate original recording.
2. There was also lengthier discussion of my supposed restriction of privileges at Jupiter Medical Center in 1991-1992 when I left the ED to enter private practice. Specifically the discussion centered on the fact that per my report, I had relinquished privileges and had the reinstated, per Dr. Saunders, I had lost intubation privileges and that per JMC I didn’t need privileges as intubation would be an emergency procedure, that privileges were not needed in an emergency. I described how this was a compromise I had made with the hospital to get my privileges and allow JMC to “save face” due to my relinquishing that point of contention.
Governor McCrory, I think the only way to get the original documents will be via a surprise visit by investigators. There is a secretary recording paper notes in these meetings as well. The paper documents and tapes need to be preserved for review before they can be altered or destroyed. I request a copy of whatever documents or recordings are obtained so that I can review them for completeness.
The NCMB employs attorneys to ensure that they do not violate State and Federal Statutes. Mr. Jimison leads the members of the Board directly into the very violations he’s charged to prevent. After being out of work for over seven months, my attorney informs me that he needs a $70K retainer to take my case to a Board hearing. He also informs me that the outcome will probably be worse than if I just sign the consent order agreeing to a two-year suspension of my medical license that is immediately stayed. Any length of suspension will follow me for the rest of my career, no matter what state I move to. There is a National Practitioner Database that tracks physician’s who have state medical board problems and undergone disciplinary proceedings. This crosses state lines; it’s a national database. I’ve done nothing to deserve a suspension. If the suspension is immediately stayed; it goes into effect January 1 2013 and will be stayed January 1 2013 so I can go back to work January 1 2013. What is the point of a suspension other than to harass me? Offering to backdate the suspension stay date to January 1 2013 in August of 2013 is an insult and clear indication that there is no danger to patients. I’ve been out of work for no clear reason for most of this year! The Federation of State Medical Boards ranks state medical boards on numbers of disciplinary proceedings. Ralph Nader's organization "Citizen Watch" also monitors and publishes disciplinary rates among state medical boards.
On 5/23/13 I requested that formal charges be filed or that I be released to return to work. Months later, I still have not been charged, no formal hearing has been set. How many other physicians are undergoing excessive delays in being charged? During this process, a physician is out of work, unable to care for their patients or support their families. The legal department realizes this; it’s the leverage the rely on to force physicians into “consent orders” to raise their number of disciplinary actions.
This pattern has been noted in a review of several random NPA’s that were issued that were followed by “Consent for suspension”. A more thorough review using the database of the NCMB would help delineate the extent of the problem. A review of the most recent NCMB meeting demonstrates a very large number of "Consent Orders" and "Public Letters of Concern" were issued. Of fifty-three physicians reviewed, there thirteen consent orders and thirteen public letters of concern. It is much easier to coerce a physician into signing a consent order (especially with collusion by the defense attorney) than it is to investigate accusations to determine their legitimacy.
Review of the information on their site shows that they’ve taken multiple tens of thousands of dollars from physicians for this. This is a cash cow for them. The physicians pay a fine and still end up with a Public Letter of Concern in their file. Wouldn’t it make more sense to re-design the application form so that it made more sense?
Clearly there are a large number of victims of the NCMB with the above-mentioned actions. This unethical activity needs to stop. It also cries out for independent review, as do the many physicians who have been harmed by the capricious actions of the NCMB.
May 15 2013 the NCMB at their meeting the issue of my Consent Order was brought up and denied. I had signed it with the assurance of my attorney that Mr. Jimison had already cleared it with the NCMB Chairman. I was set up to return to work the following Monday. Apparently the Board denied my consent order. I was not notified of this. At my own initiative I contacted my attorney after the meeting, it wasn’t until late Friday that I was notified that I was NOT allowed to return to work. Mr. Jimison had never notified my attorney of this as is his duty; I believe he was “setting me up to fail”.
The allegations above would not be the first time that a state medical board has engaged in illegal or unethical conduct such as similar issues in the state of Texas.
In Maryland there is also an epidemic of corruption within their Medical Board. Corruption within the Maryland Medical Board which is managed and operated by attorneys, involves corruption as 'business as usual". Due process does not exist, having been replaced by abusive peer review and routine entrapment of physicians. Corruption of State Medical Boards also exists in other states such as Virginia, Michigan and California among others.
Please understand that I do not accuse the NCMB of such conduct. They can only act on the information provided them by their legal department.
The Federation of State Medical Boards summarizes the actions that the NCMB can take regarding my issue;
Potential Board Decisions
• Censure and reprimand
• Suspension (actual/stayed) (currently I’ve been “offered” a stayed suspension)
• Probation (monitoring)
• Limitation of license
• Monetary fine
• Community Services
From there own website, there are disciplinary guidelines for NCMB. Review of page six shows that I meet all of the mitigating factors and none of the aggravating factors; I’ve been investigated by the NCMB but have never been disciplined by them when an investigation was done.
The NCMB has risen in the rankings among state medical boards in disciplinary actions according to Citizens Watch, a website that tracks such actions. From 2009 to 2011 it’s in the top five states for largest increase in rates of disciplinary actions against physicians. According to Jim Wilson, the attorney representing me, state medical boards pay attention to this ranking, the more disciplinary actions they take against physicians the higher they are in the nationwide rankings which is perceived as a quality indicator among some organizations. This is an “incentive” of sorts. According to Mr. Wilson, there is thus an incentive to take punitive action against as many physicians as possible.
Obviously, when a Board keeps a physician out of work for most of a year, they MUST find something wrong with him to justify their negligence and malice in order to protect themselves; in short, they’re in to deep to let me go without some form of discipline!
The NCMB is also trying to portray me as being dishonest because I misunderstood some questions on the application for licensure, which were reviewed in the meetings of 7/15/09 because I had answered “No” to the question about prior mental health issues but had disclosed that I was on Prozac. My interpretation of the question was “had you ever had mental health problems that posed a problem in patient care” which I had not had. I had been under Florida Physicians Recovery Network contract for alcoholism, but never for Asperger’s Syndrome. I had been on Prozac for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (which by the way, many physicians have; don’t YOU want a doctor that double checks labs, imaging, etc.). These issues had never caused patient care problems for me in the past. When I had my second polygraph exam at my own initiative and expense, I was told by the examiner that he had never seen such an “honest” tracing; I was imperturbable. Asperger’s have trouble with not telling the truth. We tend to see things either black or white, no shades of gray. If I misunderstood questions on my licensure application (such as Dr. Saunder’s telling me I should have answered “no” on a question that said “explain all ‘yes’ answers” and then written an explanation for the “no” answer. That was never suggested on the application for licensure form! Also, the very question of disabilities is in itself a violation of the ADA!
The consequences of a suspended license are severe. Insurance carriers will no longer allow a suspended physician to see patients on their plans (their “covered lives”). If the physician does treat such a patient, the physician won’t be paid for their services. Medical Malpractice Carriers drop suspended physicians. If the physician is able to get coverage it’ll be at a much higher premium rate. It’s impossible to get licensure in other states during the period of a suspension. If one gets an immediately stayed two year suspension, they can go right back to work if they can find a job, but they can’t apply for licensure in any other state until the term of the suspension expires (even if it’s “immediately stayed”). Hospital privileges are most likely to be denied. Imagine the consequences for such a physician to even FIND a job. Who wants to hire a recently suspended physician? In this day and age of litigation, etc. it gives potential employers to much exposure to liability. I’ve been out of work for most of this year. I’ve already lost my job. What kind of work can I do now? Where am I likely to find a job if I “accept” their “offer” of a suspension? If I were not innocent, I wouldn’t be struggling so much to avoid this “offer” of theirs!
I have full documentation of every allegation made in this complaint. I’ve suffered a great deal already at the hand of the NCMB;
1. I’ve been out of work all of this year; the last patient I saw was in December 2012.
2. In 2012 I earned more than $200,000 practicing medicine, the following year I got $2,154/month unemployment, until it ended. I’m forced to apply for food stamps.
3. I spent >$20,000 out of my pocket to go to Acumen twice. Acumen recommended that for maximum benefit of their treatment, I immediately start seeing patients so that I could immediately start practicing all that they taught me. I was scheduled for return follow-up visits in May and August to see how their education was working for me. When I informed the psychologist that the NCMB didn’t clear me to return to seeing patients, he explained to me that I needed to be seeing patients for at least 60 days before returning to the group of 6 other physicians in my Acumen group. We all trained together for three weeks in January. The Acumen plan was for us to all work together as a group on our follow-ups. Obviously, I’ve missed that part of my therapy. Why did I need to spend this large sum of money if the consultants would be ignored and I’d be kept out of practice? When I finally went to the Formal Disciplinary Hearing in front of the NCMB Board Committee, Dr. Graddy of the NCPHP informed the panel that I was “not in compliance with the NCPHP” because I failed to attend the follow-up sessions at Acumen (because the NCMB would not accept the advice of their consultant and allow me to return to practice)!
4. The issues involved initially cost me my panel of patients, an essential part of my livelihood.
5. Then, the NCMB’s & NCPHP’s actions cost me my job; my contract stated that if I was out of work for 90 days I would have to resign.
6. Clearly they’ve also damaged my reputation in the community.
7. My former wife signed a commitment order in Florida due to nonpayment of alimony. I risked incarceration if I try to visit my elderly parents.
8. My malpractice carrier has dropped me.
9. Blue Cross Blue Shield NC and three other carriers have dropped me from their provider list; without being on these plans, I cannot get paid if I see patients insured by these plans.
10. My future employability has been greatly harmed by both of the above.
11. I’ve spent untold thousands of dollars of my own time corresponding with attorneys, doing my own research, preparing documents etc.
If this isn’t resolved, I’ll have no option other than to leave this state when I am finally able to do so. I’m scared to death of Mr. Jimison and the NCMB!
Please reply to my Email address below to let me know what action (if any) will be taken by your offices. I will delay contacting the media for ninety-six hours after distribution of this document as noted below. I will also notify physicians who have been disciplined by the NCMB in the past few years to give them the opportunity to come forward if they have been unjustly accused.
You have my permission to contact Mike Weddington at Smith-Law in Raleigh and Jim Wilson in Durham if your staff has any questions to direct to my attorneys.
R. J. "Rusty" Oenbrink DO
The 6/20/14 hearing left me “indefinitely suspended/immediately stayed” which, technically, is not an option available to the NCMB.
The mere technicality that it is not an option didn’t slow them down however.
Furthermore the paperwork for the hearing should have been completed within days to weeks of the completion of the hearing.
Such was not to be the case however. Mr. Jimison had other plans.
Dr. Camnitz, President of the NCMB & Presiding Board Member at my hearing specified at the conclusion of the hearing as to how Mr. Jimison was to draft the document:
1. The document would clearly state that any misbehavior was unintentional and non-malignant, there was never an intent to harm.
2. That I suffered from a syndrome that caused miscommunication between myself and others.
3. That I was safe to see patients, had been evaluated already as such by 2 facilities and would have an additional evaluation by a third facility, the neuropsychologist.
4. There was no concern over my technical practice of medicine, no concerns as to my proficiency as a physician.
Mr. Jimison responded by not providing the document until the conclusion of Dr. Camnitz tenure on the NCMB which ended 10/31/15. The document that was signed by his successor, Cheryl Walker-McGill MD not only did not contain the points mandated by Dr. Camnitz, but actually contained the exact opposite of each of those points and was signed by Dr. Walker-McGill.
The hearing was clearly a “Kangaroo Court” in which I found numerous deficiencies. Clearly, the entire panel consisting of;
Paul Camnitz MD President of the NCMB, Presiding officer of the Hearing
Pascal Edekwu MD
Thelma C. Lennon
Cheryl Walker-McGill MD
Eleanor E. Greene MD
Debra A. Bolick MD
H. Diane Meelheim FNP
Hon. Fred Morelock Retired Administrative Law Judge to ensure legal proceedings were properly followed.
Judge Morelock seemed more concerned with pleasing the NCMB who paid his fee than in ensuring decorum and proper procedures.
The “indefinite suspension/immediately stayed” served to put me on the National Practitioners Database so that my disciplinary black mark would follow me for the rest of my professional career. What is the point of a suspension that is immediately stayed?
The disciplinary measure above with the restrictions;
1. Complete the current NCPHP contract (I signed the contract so that they would advocate for me, their level of advocacy consisted of “just do whatever the NCMB tells you to do”, I had all of the restrictions with none of the advocacy).
2. Must have a chaperone at all times when with patients (how am I supposed to get a job when I need a “keeper” to ensure I don’t unintentionally offend somebody—especially considering I’d practiced a quarter of a century in Florida without a problem?)
3. 40-hour workweek limitation (limits me to very few outpatient facilities—it’s very rare for a physician to work a 40 hour week!)
4. Requirement to have an independent evaluation by a Neuropsychologist (who was fully briefed on numerous occasions by Dr. Graddy of the NCPHP so that his evaluation would be truly “independent”).
With these restrictions and marks on my record I was
Innocently, I started trying to find work in June 2014, applying for every position that I could conceivably find. Hospitalist & Emergency Department positions were highly unlikely to hire me since I’d need to get credentialed and privileged at whatever facility I hoped to practice at.
The paperwork allowing me to practice didn’t arrive until November.
I contacted a “high-risk medical malpractice” broker. Despite having NEVER had a suit filed against me, much less any claim awarded on my behalf, I was now in the “high risk pool” since I’d been out of practice for 2 years.
By the grace of God, I was able to get a job working in addiction/chronic pain management/primary care.
This would be frightening; I’d be required to hand out large amounts of controlled medications to patients, some of whom would be addicts who were as yet undiagnosed and ready to abuse and possibly overdose with my name on their prescription.
It was the only job I could get.
I was further prohibited from using an “informed consent for treatment with dangerous medications and controlled medication contract” that followed the stringent requirements documented on a 70-page treatise from the NCMB.
I received numerous promises from the new employer. The contract specified that I would be reimbursed for health insurance premiums, medical malpractice premiums, would only work the 40 hours/week etc.
We started the practice December 29, 2014 with an empty schedule. By Valentines day we had a full schedule, shortly after that we were frequently working until 10 PM.
We moved to a 50% larger space; a musty space that smelled moldy. I’d been exposed to toxic black mold in the past. “Sicker-quicker” is one of the diagnostic clues of this type of illness. I became ill. I had to rest halfway through a shower or getting dressed to catch my breath. Severe joint and muscle pains were the norm as I hobbled around the office as quickly as possible trying to keep the flow of patients moving along.
We were outgrowing our second location as management found a third location that was much larger, 2-3 times as large as the second location—and 2-3 times as moldy. I became sick within minutes of walking into the new location. It laid me out for a weekend of misery with pain and shortness of breath.
Management knew that I couldn’t go to the new location. I was laid off 7/30/15 but was to sick to continue after going into the new building and stopped work a week prior to that.
I earned $20/hour working for the practice. None of the promised reimbursements came true. After I left, the boss called and asked me to come back. I was sick. I asked him to give me the compensation specified in the contract. I never heard from him again.
Currently, I’m trying to recover my health while once again, looking for work as an unemployable physician who has been through hell.
I hope to get assistance legally. I want my record cleared completely. I want these criminals behind bars. I want financial restitution for all wounded healers with punitive damages at the level of the NCMB, NCPHP, NCMS & the various North Carolina government officials who have ignored our pleas for help and justice.