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Medical Justice

Making healthcare safe for doctors


Healthcare Reform

NC Medical Board Disciplines Doctor for a Lease Dispute.

04/15/16 4:36 PM

I can understand why a Medical Board investigates a practice for allegations related to patient safety. I get it when the Board responds to concerns a doctor may be taking advantage of patients sexually. The main purpose of the Medical Board is to protect the public.

What I don’t understand is when a Medical Board stretches its mandate in “protecting the public.”

Case in point, Donovan Dave Dixon, MD.

On February 16, 2016, Dr. Dixon received a public letter of concern from the North Carolina Medical Board. Such a letter is easily accessible on the Board’s website. And such a letter was reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

Before I get into the details of what Dr. Dixon allegedly did to earn his Letter of Concern, first a word about the NC Medical Board’s website. My browser accessed the Board’s website and it looked like this:

 

Observe the red “X” and the red line slashing through “https”. This means the site does not follow best practices for security. Nerd alert. (It uses SHA-1 as the algorithm to authenticate the site. SHA-1 is generally considered to offer weak security. An “attacker” can spoof the certificate and set up a rogue site. Among other things.) My point is that the Board’s website security is dated and vulnerable.

But, I digress.

On June 11, 2014, a Judgment was entered against Dr. Dixon’s professional medical services corporation, Dixon Medical Services, PC. The judgment was for $64,000. Dr. Dixon breached his lease agreement for his medical practice office space.

The Board’s reasoning:

While this does not directly involve patient care, it is possible that patient care could be adversely affected in such situations because the Judgment concerns a medical practice.

The Board urges you to ensure that the above-described conduct does not happen again. If repeated instances of similar conduct do occur, then this matter in addition to your prior history with the Board, which includes an April 28, 2014, Consent Order and an April 6, 2015, Consent Order, shall be taken into account in deciding what action to take against your North Carolina medical license.

To be fair, Dr. Dixon is no stranger to the NC Medical Board. One consent order allegedly involved “inappropriately prescribing excessive amounts of controlled substances for the treatment of pain in amounts that raise concerns for abuse and/or diversion of these drugs…”

Still it’s quite a stretch to discipline a doctor for violating a lease agreement, particularly if no patient was harmed, much less inconvenienced.

Where would this nonsense end?

Failure to immediately have snow removed from the parking lot? A patient could fall.

Running late? Patient could get stressed out and experience hypertensive crisis.

Collecting copays? Patient could get stressed out and experience hypertensive crisis.

Maybe the Board is just using a plausible excuse to target someone they otherwise believe is guilty of broader offenses. O.J. is in jail, not for murder, but for kidnapping.

But, in Dr. Dixon’s case, it just looks like piling on.

Posted by Medical Justice | in Healthcare Reform | 11 Comments »
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Daria Schooler, M.D.
Guest

Just one more positive reinforcement of my decision to never return to direct patient care services in the future.

Could this be another way to railroad self-employed physicians out of business? Entrepreneurship is frowned upon by the new world order elites, after all.

james summers
Guest
james summers

Whether we like or not, we are held to higher standard than the public in many aspects of our lives. Basically, under the principle or moral turpitude or just general ethics, physicians can get in trouble for many things that really have nothing to do with the actual practice of medicine. One has to be extra careful these days. It is not just about protecting patients, but also for protecting the respectability of the medical profession from whomever’s perspective. It is just part and parcel with being in the profession.

David Frasz MD
Guest
David Frasz MD

These days it’s tough complying with everything and even tougher if you are not an employed physician. I recently discovered an organization that is trying to give a voice to those of us who remain in private practice: the Association of Independent Doctors. I’ve checked it out and may join…

Steve
Guest

Maybe he can’t afford rent because he’s more of a professional than a businessperson. Maybe he’s not aggressively billing and collecting, maybe he serves the underserved and unfunded and can’t afford rent. Maybe he pays his staff well and/or has expensive diagnostic and/or therapeutic equipment incorporated into direct patient care and his rent has lapsed. Maybe the landlord hasn’t fixed ventilation, plumbing, roofing, or other aspects of the office important in safety and comfort, and the doctor is holding off rent until they are fixed, so landlord reported him, and landlord supports local politician who initiated Medical Board Investigation and… Read more »

Anon
Guest
Anon

Unfortunately DrD was reprimanded by the NCBME for inappropriate narcotic prescribing in 2014. He is a FP doc who’s entire internet presence is currently defined by this order. And he’s listed as a Suboxone doctor on the substance abuse recovery network. The moral of this story is DON’T get involved with pain management and high volume opioid prescribing if you’re not a pain management specialist. All of the states have controlled prescription databases, and if you become labeled as an opioid “dealer”, you will remain under scrutiny. This is piling on for certain, but 64k is more than a few… Read more »

Jay Nichols
Guest
Jay Nichols

Yes, where do we draw the line on invasiveness by regulatory boards. Are they going to discipline him for missing a car payment? Witch Hunt comes to mind. To James Summers, are doctors really held to a higher standard? Or are just SOME doctors held to a higher standard. I’ve seen incompetent doctors cruise through life without a hint of policing. They are usually in tight with someone or some organization who will protect them. Then there are doctors who are sanctioned by the hospital MEC because they didn’t meet the 24 hour rule on completing an H&P (patient seen,… Read more »

JC
Guest
JC

One more group standing in line to take a bite off our butt!

We are all made as hell and shouldn’t take it anymore. Time to do something different.

Michael M. Rosenblatt, DPM
Guest
Michael M. Rosenblatt, DPM

There is another potential explanation for his inability to pay his office rent: He used to prescribe large amounts of narcotics. This undoubtedly “helped” increase his patient level as local users were quite willing to pay for or even stand in line to get his narcotic prescriptions. Prescribed narcotics are not considered “street-produced” drugs and have an incredibly high street value, due to their predictable purity. Thus, having real narcotics for sale is one of the most profitable businesses anyone can get into. He apparently was censured for over-prescribing. Here in CA, there is movement afoot to find ways to… Read more »

Hugh Hill, MD, JD
Guest
Hugh Hill, MD, JD

“Piling on” is what prosecutors and prosecutorial agencies do. This case only makes sense in the context of other concerns about this doctor. Interestingly, NC’s Board may hoist themselves on their own petard if they use this one in some later action against him/his license. They will have set up a tangential defense for him to use against Board action. Generally, we want Boards policing our profession to 1. Protect the public, and 2. Protect our “brand.” They do look at non-medical issues, such as crimes of moral turpitude, and they often use shortcuts, e.g., felonies. In VA, driving over… Read more »

Marlon Castillo
Guest
Marlon Castillo

Beside been fooled by the system, Boards, Law enforcement, and ANYBODY….as the God play role duties we have to be perfect all the time.There is no excuse in USA to be hardly and capital punished as the most vulnerable professional Medicine. I don’t see any solution but I see the worsening medical burnout as less and less doctors and some of them as me without board and/or for medical monitoring limitation and unable to work at he time in CA. We only learn medicine and do our best. Even with highest professional qualities and outcomes any stain in your career… Read more »

JAMES WINN
Guest
JAMES WINN

Once again, everybody seems to have an opinion without access to the facts of the case. I suspect there is far more to this issue than meets the eye and the NCBME is prohibited from comment leaving the practitioner to spin it anyone he/she wishes. Very likely, the physician’s found himself “locked out” of his office due to his failure to pay months of past due rent, effectively stranding numerous patients. Allowing this to happen could well be viewed as a form of patient abandonment, resulting in a complaint to the medical board. If in fact, these patients were chronic… Read more »