Wounded Healers NC
The Battle is about to begin, hang tough!
This site is dedicated to all those abused by the “all-powerful, irresponsible” North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB), and the North Carolina Physicians Health Program (NCPHP) for impaired practitioners. These organizations have often subjected NCMB licensees to unwarranted discipline. Both organizations as well as the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) have been known to refuse to follow statutes, professional codes of ethics, to provide due process or follow the legal avenues prescribed for them by law. The FSMB or Federation of State Medical Boards has fostered their behavior by incentivizing harsh discipline of physicians by state medical boards.
Wounded Healers NC is a website dedicated to North Carolina Medical Board Licensees who have been harmed by the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB), the North Carolina Physicians Health Plan (NCPHP) and affected by the influence of the NCMS.
After learning of the Board’s intention’s regarding punishment; feelings of anger, shock, denial, disbelief and extreme anxiety are all common; we’ve been there! Blind acceptance may follow; a resignation of David fighting a Goliath with limitless power. A review of the past decade of disciplinary actions by the Board, as summarized below, reveals a pattern of actions that range from negligible to extremely harsh. Research has not disclosed that anybody has adequately taken them to task for their past illegal actions. Collectively, we can and will change that! Many of us have contacted the Office of the State Auditor with our stories. This resulted in their audit of the NCPHP being greatly expanded to include the Medical Board and the NCMS. The difference in scope of these two issues can be likened to the size of North Carolina (as the NCPHP) compared to the size of North America (as the NCMB)!
Research into the subject provided incredible surprises as summarized below. The involvement of the Citizens Watch and the FSMB in incentivizing the Board, reviewing how other state medical boards deal with their providers has all been enlightening. The FSMB has stopped their practice of ranking state medical boards. The NCMB however has not changed its policies in keeping with those of the FSMB. This needs to change. Collectively we can initiate appropriate change. Regulation and at times discipline have a very real place in our state. Justice should be blind however; it should be dealt fairly to all.
This site is not affiliated with the NCMB, NCMS or the NCPHP in any way other than being set up by fellow victimized licensees with the hope that we may use it to support each other in our journey toward justice.
Both the NCMB & NCPHP have a history of abuse of the licensees of this state. Their abuse has resulted in lost careers, suicides, broken marriages, illnesses, estranged children and families, bankruptcies, lost homes, practices & office buildings. There has been no accountability for their actions.
The April 2014 report on the NCPHP released by Beth Wood and her NC Office of the State Auditor ignores the NCMB. It was also overly lenient on the actions of the NCPHP. It’s due to be repeated however in October 2015
There were important key findings;
1. Boards operate with ineffective oversight from state-level entities.
2. Twenty-one of 57 Boards (37%) did not comply with reporting deadlines set by NC General Statutes.
3. Six of 57 Boards (11%) did not comply with Board member training requirements.
4. Analysis of Board operational and financial information identified items for further review. These items include complaint resolution, inspection efforts, and financial position.
Key recommendations were made by the NCOSA;
1. The General Assembly should clarify which state-level entities have oversight authority and specific responsibility for monitoring Board activities.
2. Boards should comply with reporting and training requirements.
3. A master list of occupational licensing boards should be maintained and shared among state-level entities.
4. Responsible state-level entities should work with legislators and Boards to develop meaningful financial and performance measures.
5. State-level entities should regularly monitor and follow-up on non-compliance and unusual measures as necessary.
Hopefully, this will be a precursor to a more complete evaluation of the NC Medical Board.
Practitioners who have attempted to defend themselves pro se in front of the NCMB are strongly urged by the staff there to obtain counsel. They are specifically steered toward certain attorneys who work exclusively with or spend a great deal of their practice in dealings with the NCMB. These attorneys then charge exorbitant fees; it’s not uncommon for fees of >$100,000.00 to take to formal hearing a case without substantial witnesses with minimal wrong-doing on the part of the practitioner with allegations against them. The extremely arbitrary nature of punishments also strongly suggests such fraud and extortion on an institutional scale as demonstrated below. More evidence is available on request; a decade of Board Actions has resulted in over a hundred such cases. This involves all of the attorneys on staff at the NCMB.
Outrageous delays in dealing with provider’s who have had allegations made against them are not at all unusual—they seem to be part of the NCMB strategy to force providers to accept punitive actions.
The NCMB has oversight and is responsible to the Joint Legislative Program evaluation Oversight Committee a bicameral, non-standing committee composed of the following legislators.
There are actually many rights that practitioners have regarding their medical license as noted in this section.
What can we do next?
Although the legal protection that practitioners are entitled to would appear to be self-evident, both the NCMB & NCPHP violate this fundamental set of tenets. As noted above, the purpose of this site is to educate unfairly accused NCMB licensees of their options and to expose the prior abuses of the NCMB & NCPHP. We would greatly appreciate any suggestions; ideas or input regarding changes that need to be made to the way the Board is run. Currently, any disgruntled patient can make anonymous false accusations against any practitioner with impunity. There need to be protections in place for us. The authors have had to defend themselves against complaints that came from patients that he hadn’t even seen on the date for which their complaints had been filed!
Hopefully, the appropriate legislation can be changed to reflect what is currently needed. The Board is functioning under laws written in the 1800’s! If you wish to correspond directly, you are encouraged to do so; firstname.lastname@example.org
Least Discipline; Licensee self-prescribing and prescribing to two family members without maintaining adequate records and receives a public letter of concern
Most Discipline; Licensee wrote Ambien/sleeping pill for wife & took it himself—was out of work for 3 years. Honorable mention; Physician falls in love with a former patient who’s wife had died, they marry, she’s forced to surrender her license. Seven years later she’s given a provisional license stating she can no longer practice Psychiatry.
Least Discipline; A practitioner had an affair with patient and patient’s spouse, moved in with them and prescribed them controlled substances until the NCMB forced her to vacate their home. She received a consent order/reprimand/120 day suspension immediately stayed. Another prescribing controlled substances to family members who diverted some of them to him received a Public Letter of Concern
Most Discipline; Indefinite suspension in 2011, has never returned to work after prescribing drugs to friends and family, then taking some of the drugs for his own use
Least Discipline; Practicing 11 years without a license results in a reprimand
Most Discipline; Practitioner with no complaints in 40 years is rude to a family at Sam’s Club, refuses to answer NCMB investigator as it didn’t involve his practice. Indefinitely suspended then retired
Least Discipline; Licensee who appears incompetent is warned in 2008, no improvement, by 2012 receives a non-disciplinary consent order and is ordered to have a professional assessment of skills
Most Discipline; Licensee employed by a clinic supervising mid-levels who are following company protocols in another location, is unaware that a midlevel made some errors and has his license suspended for a year, stayed all but 30 days.
Least Discipline; “Bill K” self-referred to NCPHP with active alcohol problems, NCMB unaware of him since he self-referred, in 4 months he’s back at work seeing patients. Anybody who goes through the NCMB gets 1-2 years minimum out of practice; NCPHP advice is ignored by NCMB attorneys (who thus practice medicine without a license)!
Most Discipline; Numerous licensees who have self-referred for alcoholism, gotten sober, declared on renewal of license that they are sober only to have the Board intervene and take them out of practice completely for 2-4 years DESPITE THEIR CONTINUED & DOCUMENTED SOBRIETY!
*These reviews included the largest number of cases, recording episodes of arbitrary disciplinary actions ranging from very lenient to very harsh actions. For the sake of convenience and understanding, actions were broken down into the various categories as noted above.
It should also be noted, that while the NCMB is quite harsh in its dealings with licensees; they have no responsibility when they make mistakes! There is obviously a very arbitrary range of disciplinary actions meted out for similar transgressions. Also of great importance, numerous licensees who have had allegations of substance abuse and other issues are not referred to the NCPHP, which is exactly what they are responsible for doing! The NCMB is all-powerful and irresponsible in many ways!j
Untimely Deaths Associated with NCMB Actions:
At first glance, it may seem difficult to envision a health care provider committing suicide over an issue with a regulatory body. When consideration is given to the absolute lack of basic civil & constitutional rights including due process however, it begins to make sense. Add to that the humiliation, financial and other forms of devastation, the fact that NOBODY believes that such action is possible in the absence of serious wrongdoing, reviewing again that hundreds of thousands of dollars can be fruitlessly thrown away on legal fees with attorneys in collusion with the NCMB. Suddenly, it’s not so far-fetched.
None of these untimely deaths included practitioners who were in the NCMS; our prayers go out to them and their families.
8/2006 Patient “A” chest pain, PA examined patient, revealed anxiety, elevated diastolic, heart rate irregular, new murmur, EKG appeared normal, GI medication prescribed, 8/8/06 F/U exam by PA with hypertension and abdominal tenderness, 3 hours later spouse spoke to PA due to continued pain. PA intended to call in pain medications, patient died the next day of MI. Concern from NCMB Re; inadequate supervision
4/7/11 Public Letter of Concern; Galveston Hotel suicide; found 8/24/11. The information above came from the NCMB website. As with all of the NCMB website material, especially Consent Orders, the truth in the above story must be seriously questioned.
Dr. Kotzen was an older gentleman, a neurosurgeon with chronic medical issues. He refused to take any of his chronic medications during the Board’s protracted course of action according to his widow who attributes his death to the NCMB.
Professor Pediatrics UNC Suicide @ 71 yo 2/2011
2009 Consent Order; Permanent inactive status. Chapel Hill treated patients “A”-“E” from 1987-2006 for a variety of conditions including learning and developmental difficulties. These were all pediatric patients at the time in NC. He conducted genital examinations outside of the presence of a chaperone, parent, or guardian. These were neither documented nor medically indicated. Physician states that such examinations can reveal medical information.
It should be noted that genital examinations are essential in developing children, especially those with developmental disorders and that they are often done without chaperones, especially during the earlier phases of his career. He had been subjected to intense media scrutiny according to his widow, went into the backyard and never came back.
Martha Miles MD (Reviewed death with husband who prefers anonymity)
Dr. Miles was a fifty one year old physician who died after signing a consent order for an indefinite suspension by the NCMB after she was caught prescribing medications to family members and other prescriptions in what the NCMB thought was an “inappropriate manner”.
It should be noted that in the practice of medicine, it is not uncommon for physicians to take different approaches to therapy. The Board can use different “reviewers” until they receive the report that they are looking for regarding an individual physician.
2009 Suicide 33 year old.
4/3/09 ran into interstate traffic the next day in front of a large truck, which he didn’t try to avoid, so that it hit and killed him.
*The deaths above are deaths of physicians. There have been psychiatrists who have been taken out of practice by the NCMB who have then lost patients due to suicides of those patients. When a psychiatric patient develops trust and rapport with their doctor/psychiatrist, it’s a very sacred bond. Doctors are NOT replaceable “modules” that can be “swapped out” at will without further consequence.
Unfortunately, there is no way to know how many other suicides and deaths have cascaded from the actions of the NCMB.
What a shameful irony that the NCMB, whose mission statement is to protect the citizens of North Carolina and it’s legal department have been responsible for more deaths of the general populace in North Carolina than the allegedly “impaired” physicians—none of whom were responsible for a death, much less a bad patient outcome!
Role of the NCPHP and the Epidemic of Physician Suicides;
The North Carolina Physicians Health Program is allegedly to be an advocate for physicians. Although the audit showed numerous deficiencies, the NCPHP still refuses to perform their function. Numerous cases each year occur in which physicians identified by the NCMB sign “Consent Orders” regarding substance abuse/mental health issues. Frequently these physicians are not referred to the NCPHP in violation of North Carolina General Statutes § 90-14. Disciplinary Authority (b); The Board shall refer to the North Carolina Physicians Health Program all licensees whose health and effectiveness have been significantly impaired by alcohol, drug addiction or mental illness. Both the NCMB & NCPHP are responsible for this oversight. When physicians ARE referred to the NCPHP however, their nightmare is far from over. The dirty little secret is that the most common “advocacy” of the NCPHP is to tell the targeted physician to “just do as you’re told”. Many physicians are coerced into signing one-sided “contracts” whereby the physician meets every criteria only to be denied any form of advocacy other than the above. This is professional misconduct at it’s highest form! The physicians in the NCPHP are derelict in their duty to assist and advocate. Instead, they collude with the attorneys of the Board in conspiracy after conspiracy against each targeted physician.
Lack of referral to the NCPHP probably has a perversely protective affect however. Physician suicides are a major problem among those with Medical Board & PHP issues across the US. It’s a carefully hidden epidemic. More and more physicians are recognizing the damages done by the current state of PHP's. Others are creating the means for physicians to reach out to one another to prevent suicides often triggered by these powerful entities. One can only wonder how much more physician blood must be spilled in this state before the authorities step in to stop the slaughter and loss of professional talent.
There seems to be a “sea change” in terms of the attitude of the profession as to the function, efficacy & integrity of PHP’s in general.
As bad as things are with the NCPHP, one can take little comfort with the realization that PHP's across the US are corrupt, physicians lives are being ruined and lost on a disturbingly "routine" basis.
It’s notable that in September 2015 there articles with a plethora of comments that were highly critical and disparaging against US PHP’s in general that appeared on www.Medscape.com , www.disruptedphysician.com , & www.kevinmd.com .