Ariz. - The Arizona Medical Board resolved 72 of the 77 cases on its October agenda last week, involving a total of 71 physicians. Five cases were continued for further investigation or until a future board meeting.
The Board dismissed seven cases and voted to uphold dismissals by the Executive Director in 18 others. It ordered Board staff to draft Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law for one Decree of Censure and six Letters of Reprimand. The Board accepted Consent Agreements signed by physicians for Letters of Reprimand in four other cases. It also issued seven non-disciplinary Advisory Letters.
Board members voted unanimously to refer the case involving W. Neil Chloupek, M.D. to the Office of Administration Hearings for license revocation. Last year, the Board revoked Dr. Chloupek‘s license, but stayed the revocation and placed him on suspension. As one of the conditions in that 2004 Board order, the Phoenix family practitioner was to apply to the Board to be placed in the Monitored Aftercare Program (MAP) after undergoing treatment for substance abuse. Dr. Chloupek underwent treatment, but didn‘t sign the interim order for MAP. The Board rejected his request to lift his license suspension.
After a formal interview with David Parrish, M.D., of Scottsdale, the Board unanimously voted to impose a six-month license suspension on the Board certified psychiatrist and neurologist. The Board had ordered a Letter of Reprimand and a PACE evaluation for Dr. Parrish in July of 2004 for unprofessional conduct in the misdiagnosis and treatment of a patient. Dr. Parrish admitted during the formal interview last week that he had not presented himself for the evaluation. In its new order, the Board said it may lift the six-month suspension after it reviews the results of a PACE evaluation.
Several Board members took time during the meeting to praise the work of Board staff. Chairman Dr. Timothy Hunter said he feels “very good about the direction we‘re going.”
Dr. Robert Goldfarb, who like Dr. Hunter is from Tucson, noted the Board has been going through a rebuilding process for the past ten or eleven months. “Rebuilding processes are never smooth � they‘re never easy� There are bumps along the way,” Dr. Goldfarb said.
Board members expressed appreciation for the Assistant Attorneys General regarding the importance of their role and their quality legal advice. Dr. Hunter said he remembered when the Board didn‘t enjoy the legal support it has now.
Ram Krishna, M.D., a physician member from Yuma, cited the Board‘s medical consultants led by Chief Medical Consultant Mark Nanney, M.D. “We have very, very competent medical consultants now,” he said.
Pointing to changes staff made in the investigative process, Dr. Hunter said, “It was nice to know that it‘s thorough. I think it‘s accurate. I think it protects the public, and I also think it gives fair protection to the physicians.”
Dr. Goldfarb also referred to the dichotomy of opinions about the Board. “It‘s not a secret,” he said, “that doctors feel the board is too tough� that many of the lay public think the Board is too easy on doctors.” Goldfarb said he has watched changes be implemented and likes what he sees. “I think that we have made progress in the past ten months,” he said.
Ronnie Cox, Ph.D., a colonel in the Army Reserves and one of four public members on the Board, believes the same mission-success axioms he used for his command last year in Iraq are relevant for Board staff. “First, you need to keep your wits,” he told them. “There‘ll be lots of changes� that will create a fast-moving environment,” and this will in turn “create a degree of �uncomfortable-ness.‘” To get through it, he said staff needed to stay mission-oriented.