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DATE: 4/14/2005

Scottsdale, Ariz. - The Arizona Medical Board has underscored its displeasure with physicians who prescribe medications over the Internet without first conducting a physical examination of the patient or having previously established a doctor-patient relationship.

The case involves Deborah Golob, M.D., who was present for a formal interview before the Arizona Medical Board in Scottsdale. She said that she wrote prescriptions for patients after reviewing on-line questionnaires they had filled out. The Board stressed that simply reviewing an on-line questionnaire completed by a patient is insufficient to establish a doctor-patient relationship, and - since the questionnaire was the first contact between the physician and the patient - the physician had not previously established a doctor-patient relationship.

After hearing from Dr. Golob, the board voted to have Staff draft Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for her. However, the Board will not consider the draft until its May telephonic meeting. The order does not become final until the physician's time to request a rehearing has expired.

The Board also accepted Consent Agreements, issuing Letters of Reprimand to two physicians. In one case, Richard A. Silver, M.D., of Tucson admitted performing spinal surgery at three levels without supporting indications resulting in spinal instability. In the second case, Fernando Cruzado, M.D., of Globe admitted he allowed an unlicensed person to act as a physician assistant and perform health care tasks. He was also fined $1,000.

During its two-day meeting, the Board also accepted a Consent Agreement permanently banning Phoenix ophthalmologist Gary W. Hall, M.D., from performing or assisting in surgery of any kind. Dr. Hall was also placed on probation for five years during which time he must retain an office practice management consultant to revise his record-keeping system and he must also submit to chart reviews by Board Staff.