The state Medical Examining Board agreed Tuesday to suspend the license of a physician who is accused of repeatedly failing to comply with the terms of his prior discipline for abusing alcohol.
The board also disciplined a neurologist for his prescribing habits and supported a plan to reinstate the medical license of a former Madison physician who was convicted of criminal drug charges.
In 2012, the board revoked the medical license of John D. Lynch II, a former emergency department physician with Hartford HealthCare, after he was fired for coming to work smelling of alcohol, state Department of Public Health (DPH) documents said.
The board reinstated Lynch’s license in January 2020 and in February 2021 Lynch could have resumed practicing medicine in Connecticut under a three-year probation with certain conditions, including that he continue to seek alcohol abuse treatment, submit to random urine screens and attend private and group treatment.
In June, a private therapist issued a report to the agency indicating that Lynch “was not able to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety.” DPH documents also said that since February, when the probationary period began, Lynch has not attended individual or support group treatment meetings, failed to submit random urine screens and failed to participate in a required clinical skills evaluation.
Lynch’s license is now under temporary suspension until a hearing takes place on Dec. 1. DPH said Lynch has been living in Virginia and not practicing in Connecticut.
In other action, the board supported DPH’s plan to reinstate the medical license of Scott Houghton of Madison, who was convicted in 2013 of four drug charges, including two counts of sale of a narcotic or hallucinogenic.
In taking the action, the board could only support or oppose DPH’s plan. They could not be the authority that determines whether or not his medical license is reinstated since he currently does not hold a license and he was never formally disciplined, agency officials said.
Houghton pleaded guilty to the criminal charges under the Alford Doctrine. Under the plea, defendants do not admit guilt but concede that the state has enough evidence to gain a conviction.
Houghton did not renew his medical license in 2011 as the criminal case was pending.
In a proposed order for Houghton’s reinstatement DPH presented numerous allegations against him, including that he failed to monitor several patients for whom he had prescribed opiates and, in one case, accepted free meals and lodging at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casinos from a patient.
DPH investigators found that Houghton continued to write prescriptions after his controlled substance registration was suspended and found he failed to adequately examine elderly patients for whom he had prescribed opiates, documents said. Houghton also illegally gave patients prescriptions for methadone to treat addiction, investigators said.
Houghton denies all of the allegations listed by DPH investigators, but he admitted that he was convicted of four drug offenses in 2013, documents said. He was sentenced to a five-year probation in the criminal cases.
Houghton successfully completed the five-year criminal probation and has agreed to practice under several restrictions, including a prohibition from writing prescriptions for controlled substances, and he must practice in a setting with at least one other licensed physician, documents said.
He also must attend coursework on ethics and boundaries with patients, according to the order. His license will be reprimanded as part of the order, documents said. He is also required to pass a skills evaluation and an exam before the DPH will reinstate his license, officials said.
The board also reprimanded the license of Dr. Arjuna Mannam, who practices neurology for Trinity Health of New England and had prescribed a toxic amount of Dilantin to a patient who was being treated for a painful facial nerve condition, documents said. The patient complained to DPH about the treatment, which took place in September 2019, documents said. Mannam’s license is on probation for six months during which he is required to take coursework in prescribing practices.