May 19, 2015

Stamford Psychiatrist Fined; Hamden Psychiatrist Must Hire Monitor

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A Stamford psychiatrist who fabricated a radiology report was fined $7,000 Tuesday and had her medical license placed on probation for six months by the state Medical Examining Board.

At its meeting in Hartford Tuesday, the board also placed the medical license of a Hamden psychiatrist on probation for a year and ordered him to hire a psychiatrist to supervise his practice. The psychiatrist, Dr. Avijit Mitra, has already paid $55,000 in state and federal fines for improperly prescribing controlled substances to himself, his wife and others, state records show.

In the first case, Dr. Anna Binder must also complete coursework in professional ethics and patients’ rights under a consent order she signed on March 31. The state Department of Public Health launched an investigation of Binder in October 2014 when Stamford Hospital reported that it had terminated its employment contract with her.

On Aug. 5, 2014, Binder inappropriately accessed the medical records of two hospital patients with whom she had no treatment relationship, the consent order said. The same day, Binder fabricated or attempted to create the false radiology report showing a normal chest X-ray for her personal use, the consent order said.

Linda Fazzina, a staff attorney for DPH, told the board that a nurse found the fake X-ray report on a copier machine.

The order said Binder used hospital letterhead to create the radiology report using one physician’s name as the ordering physician and another’s name as the doctor who supposedly read the chest X-ray. The two doctors did not know Binder had used their names. Binder did not contest the allegations.

Richard Brown, Binder’s attorney, told the board that Binder was undergoing fertility treatments and was afraid having another X-ray would affect her chances of getting pregnant. Binder, who had received fertility treatment in Israel, accessed a patient’s record because she heard that person had received the same treatment in Israel, Brown said.

“She apologizes to the board for her conduct. She knows it was totally inappropriate. She’s embarrassed,” Brown said.

Some board members questioned whether Binder should have to go through a hearing and face a stronger penalty.

One of them, Dr. C. Steven Wolf, said Binder sounded quote “somewhat desperate” and that he had concerns about her moral character. The board approved the consent order 10-3, with Wolf, Dr. Robert Green and Dr. Peter Zeman voting against it.

DPH began its investigation of Mitra in May of 2012 after a pharmacist and local police complained to the state Department of Consumer Protection about some of Mitra’s prescriptions.

DPH found that Mitra wrote prescriptions for two patients for Oxycontin, Xanax, another painkiller and a drug used to treat opiate addiction without adequately examining the patients or documenting the purpose of prescribing the drugs, according to a consent order that Mitra signed on April 22. Mitra wrote the prescriptions for one patient in the name of another patient and wrote prescriptions for various controlled substances for himself and his wife without proper record-keeping, the order states.

Mitra, who practices medicine at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown and at his own office in Woodbridge, wrote the prescriptions for the patients between 2010 and 2012.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Mitra agreed to pay a $45,000 fine to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in August of 2013. A month later, Mitra again did not admit wrongdoing but paid a $10,000 fine and agreed to have his controlled substance registration placed on two years of probation with Consumer Protection.

Mitra did not contest the allegations of wrongdoing in signing the consent order with the Medical Examining Board. In addition to the probation, the board imposed a permanent restriction on Mitra prescribing controlled substances for himself or his family or prescribing buprenorphine – which is used to treat opiate addiction – for any person.

 

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