State Disciplines Psychiatrist For Improper Prescription Monitoring, Excessive Drinking

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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.

Investigators found that Tung failed to meet the standard of care from February 2017 to January 2020 by not utilizing the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Connecticut Prescription Monitoring and Reporting System (CPMRS) before prescribing controlled substances to three patients, documents said.

She also failed to access the prescription monitoring system at least once every 90 days for two patients who were receiving ongoing controlled substance prescriptions, DHP documents said.

The incidents occurred in her private practice, DPH officials said. Tung has been employed by the state Department of Correction since July 2018 as a principal psychiatrist working with inmates, DOC officials said.

The DOC will review the order and make sure any limitations on her license are adhered to, said Karen Martucci, spokesperson for the agency. Tung has 15 days from the board’s decision to provide the DOC with the order, documents said.

The state consumer protection’s Drug Control Division reported Tung to the DPH.

Physicians are required to utilize the Prescription Monitoring Program which allows health care providers and pharmacists to accurately determine which prescriptions have been issued to a patient to reduce addiction, prescription abuse and overdoses.

By state law, all prescriptions of Schedule II through V drugs including opioid painkillers must be reported to the state monitoring and reporting system, according to the consumer protection website.

Under the terms of a consent order approved by the board Tuesday, Tung will be on probation for four years during which she cannot be self-employed and must practice with other physicians at all times. She is also required to undergo therapy, attend a support group, and provide weekly and later bi-weekly observed urine samples for drugs and alcohol screenings.

Any missed urine screenings will be considered positive for drugs or alcohol, according to the order. Tung must successfully complete a course in prescribing practices during the probationary period.

Tung’s employer must file monthly reports with DPH indicating whether she is practicing with reasonable skill and safety and in an alcohol and substance-free state, the order said.

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