The state Medical Examining Board agreed Friday to temporarily suspend the medical license of a Durham physician who is accused of giving out exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines and masks without examining – or even knowing – the patients requesting the documents, state records show. Dr. Sue McIntosh is accused of allowing people to mail her Durham practice a self-addressed, stamped envelope to receive signed exemptions, state Department of Public Health (DPH) documents said. Her license to practice medicine and surgery is suspended until a hearing can be held on Oct. 5, officials said. The exemption paperwork that McIntosh mailed to people included explanations of what various exemptions would be, such as cancers, autism disorders, autoimmune disorders and others, and how to fill out the exemption paperwork, documents said.
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) will investigate physicians accused of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines designed to combat the virus if a complaint is filed, officials said. Christopher Boyle, DPH spokesman, said that if the agency receives a complaint that a physician was spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, the Practitioner Investigation Unit will investigate. In July, the Federation of State Medical Boards warned physicians that they could face disciplinary action by a state medical board for spreading disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. DPH said that there is no mechanism for monitoring social media or other forms of media for doctors who are spreading misinformation. By state law, the public has no way of knowing if a physician is under investigation until a resolution to the complaint comes before the state Medical Examining Board months, or possibly years, from the filing of the complaint.
Black and Hispanic women make up about 25% of the state’s female population but represent about 53% of domestic violence arrest cases for adult females in 2020, Judicial Branch data show. It’s a disparity that is playing out in courtrooms across the state, according to public defenders who contend that Black and brown women often face harsher penalties and longer court proceedings to gain a favorable outcome. “This is real, it is very real,” said Jassette Henry, a senior assistant public defender in New Britain and a tri-chair of the Racial Justice and Cultural Competency Committee within the state’s Division of Public Defender Services. “The question is, what are we going to do about it?”
“Black people are overrepresented in arrests,” Henry said. “It’s not surprising that Black women are getting arrested in a domestic violence incident at a higher rate.
The state Medical Examining Board voted Tuesday to discipline two physicians with fines and ordered a Newington woman to stop providing injections for a fee without a medical license. In the first case, Dr. Richard Kravitz, who works at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Haven and a private office in Hamden, came under scrutiny in August of 2018 after a female patient in his private practice reported that he had failed to inform her about side effects from the medication he prescribed, according to a consent order approved by the board. The woman contended in a letter to the board that Kravitz prescribed toxic levels of Lithium for three years but never sought blood tests, even though she complained of neurological symptoms. He also prescribed a “cocktail” of five other drugs, leaving the woman with side effects that changed her personality and appearance, she said. An investigation into the allegations revealed that Kravitz had failed to order laboratory testing for the woman and failed to document her treatments for three years, beginning in December 2015, documents said. Under a consent order, Kravitz must pay a $10,000 fine and follow the stipulations of an 18-month probation period including attending classes in proper documentation and laboratory monitoring of prescriptions.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday issued $5,000 fines to two physicians, including one who failed to further evaluate a lesion found by an MRI in the vertebra of a patient; and slightly loosened the restrictions placed on a Torrington doctor who successfully completed a five-year probationary period. Gabriel Abella, a doctor practicing physical medicine and pain management, provided care to a patient from August to October 2017, state Department of Public Health (DPH) documents show. During that time, the patient received an MRI which showed a suspicious lesion within the vertebrae, the DPH said. But Abella did not acknowledge the radiologist’s report that indicated there was a lesion and didn’t order any further follow-up care to evaluate the lesion, DPH documents show. In addition to the $5,000 fine, the board reprimanded Abella’s license and placed it on probation for one year.
The Medical Examining Board issued this week a four-year probationary period to a psychiatrist who is accused of excessive drinking and failing to follow state law on utilizing Connecticut’s prescription monitoring program. Department of Public Health (DPH) investigators determined that Dr. Susannah Tung, a psychiatrist, who runs a private practice while also working for the state Department of Correction (DOC), abused alcohol to excess at least twice; on Oct. 11 2017 and Feb. 20, 2020. The board, in addition to the probation, reprimanded Tung’s license.
When her car started making a noise more than a year ago, Chinara Johnson parked the vehicle and hasn’t used it since. As a New Haven mother of 5-year-old twin boys, one of whom is on the autism spectrum, and an 8-year-old daughter, Johnson doesn’t have the money to get the car running properly again. She also didn’t have money for childcare as she underwent breast cancer treatments, including surgery and chemotherapy, and is now struggling with increased utility and food bills since the kids are home during the pandemic. Over the past few years, Johnson has not been eligible for federal child tax credits because she doesn’t make enough money. But under the American Family Act—sponsored by U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, and others—Johnson would qualify to receive direct payments of $3,600 each for the boys and $3,000 for her daughter in federal child tax credits.
The state Medical Examining Board voted to allow a physician whose license has been suspended in several states to practice telemedicine in Connecticut. The board in November suspended the Connecticut license of Dr. Roozbeh Badii after learning that he had been disciplined in Maryland and Virginia. The Connecticut suspension was to remain in place until the board could hold a hearing to determine his mental fitness to practice. Instead, Badii agreed to waive the hearing and accept the terms of a consent order which places his license on probation for two years, but allows him to provide telehealth services to patients. The approval of the consent order by the board terminates the suspension, DPH officials said.
The state Medical Examining Board agreed Tuesday to discipline two doctors including a physician awaiting sentencing in a federal health care fraud case. Dr. Fawad Hameedi, of New York, has been working periodically at urgent care centers in Connecticut while awaiting sentencing for his role in a health care fraud ring operating in New York, according to documents. He has not worked as a physician in Connecticut since March, officials said. The board voted to place Hameedi on probation for two years with several stipulations and reprimand his Connecticut license to practice medicine. Under the terms of the discipline, Hameedi cannot operate a solo practice during the probation period and he must have his employer submit reports to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) every two months that he is working safely and using accurate billing practices.
Katherine Verano is wrestling with an 830% increase in costs compared with last year for hoteling victims of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic. After a quiet period during the first months of the pandemic, when much of the state was locked down, domestic violence shelters started running at about 150% capacity during the summer months. When providers ran out of room for social distancing, clients had to be placed in hotels and fed. It’s been a complex time, said Verano, the executive director of Safe Futures, a New London-based nonprofit dedicated to providing counseling, services and shelter to victims of domestic violence in 21 southeastern towns. Safe Futures’ budget for hoteling clients has increased steadily this year.