The state’s weekly COVID summary: 1,027,729 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 3,827 testing positive over the last 7 days; the 7-day positivity rate is 15.56%, the state Department of Public Health (DPH) reported. The state reported 16,026,603 PCR/NAAT tests, with 24,598 residents testing positive over the last 7 days. Hospitalizations total 714. The state reported 37 deaths, bringing the death total to 11,770. DPH is releasing weekly COVID reports on Thursdays.
An East Hartford pediatrician who served a federal sentence for illegally prescribing oxycodone and failing to pay more than $177,000 in employee withholding taxes to the IRS has voluntarily surrendered his medical license. Since Dr. Sheikh Ahmed of Orange, who operated the East Hartford Medical Center, has turned in his license, the state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday agreed to drop its charges against him. If he tries to reinstate his license in the future, the charges will be deemed true, according to an affidavit from Ahmed. State Department of Public Health records accuse Ahmed of engaging in illegal and negligent conduct by prescribing oxycodone, an opioid painkiller, to people in exchange for money without examining them in 2017 and 2018. He also increased their dosage of the drug without justification, DPH records show.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday reprimanded two doctors, including fining a Waterbury doctor $10,000 for inappropriately prescribing high doses of narcotics to a patient. In addition to the fine and reprimand, the board also placed the medical license of the Waterbury physician, Dr. Philip A. Mongelluzzo Jr., on probation for two years, state records show. Mongelluzzo failed to meet the standard of care for a patient between 2014 and 2018 when he did not appropriately treat the patient’s chronic pain and prescribed the narcotics without documenting the therapeutic reasons for the drugs, according to a consent order that Mongelluzzo signed. The order said Mongelluzzo, the owner of Care Beyond Medicine in Waterbury, also prescribed sedatives to the patient without limits and without an adequate medical purpose for doing so. While not admitting to wrongdoing, Mongelluzzo chose not to contest the allegations, the consent order said.
Twenty-five Connecticut hospitals will lose some of their Medicare reimbursement payments starting this month as penalties for having too many readmitted patients. Still, in most cases, the fines are much lower than in previous years, new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show. In this year’s evaluation, CMS considered the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on hospitals, excluding data for the first half of 2020 and Medicare patients readmitted with pneumonia, according to a report in Kaiser Health News. Nationally, Medicare is penalizing 2,273 hospitals, the fewest since 2014, with an average payment reduction of 0.43%, Kaiser reported. In Connecticut, 69% of all hospitals in the program face fines, but most are under 1%.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday suspended the medical license of a Woodbridge pulmonologist for conducting sexually inappropriate examinations of two female patients and fined a West Hartford ophthalmologist $40,000 for failing to ensure that four patients received the correct implant during cataract surgery. State Department of Public Health (DPH) records show that the pulmonologist, Dr. Sushil K. Gupta, conducted the inappropriate exams between 2019 and 2022. In suspending his license, the board said Gupta poses a “clear and immediate danger to the public.”
DPH records show that Gupta also violated a 2013 decision of the board that required that he have a female chaperone in the room with him when examining or treating female patients. This is the second time that Gupta has been accused of sexually inappropriate exams of female patients. The board revoked his license in 2006 after finding that the testimony of two women was credible when they described Gupta touching them in inappropriate ways during pulmonary exams, state records show.
The state Medical Examining Board imposed disciplinary action against four doctors Tuesday, including fining a West Hartford ophthalmologist $15,000 for operating on the wrong eye and fining a Bridgeport radiologist $5,000 in connection with a delayed cancer diagnosis. The board also reprimanded the medical license of the ophthalmologist, Dr. Patrick F. Albergo, for failing to comply with his Connecticut Eye Center’s “time-out” procedures and failing to maintain adequate medical records, according to a consent order he signed. Albergo, who chose not to contest the allegations, has completed courses in medical recordkeeping and changed protocols at the center to make sure that surgeons mark the correct eye before operating, the order said. The patient needed surgery on both eyes, and both procedures were done on separate days but in the wrong order, state Department of Public Health records (DPH) show. Board member Dr. Robert A. Green said the excuse that the patient needed surgery on both eyes is not acceptable.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday suspended the license of a Stamford doctor after state Department of Public Health officials said his excessive use of alcohol and drugs and his mental illnesses may affect his ability to safely practice medicine. A statement of charges against him says that Dr. Jeffrey Stern excessively used alcohol and narcotics in 2019 and 2020 and since 2019, has had mental illnesses or emotional disorders. DPH records show that Stern was arrested on Aug. 29, 2020 and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use and driving while intoxicated. It was unclear where the arrest took place.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday fined an Oxford doctor $10,000 for fraudulently using another doctor’s name and Drug Enforcement Agency registration number to prescribe controlled substances to a family member. In addition to the fine, board also voted unanimously to reprimand the medical license of the doctor, Marc D. Legris, and ordered him to take a course in ethics and to practice in a supervised office setting. The order does not indicate the name of the doctor that Legris used. In a consent order approved by the board, Legris chose not to contest the allegations. Department of Public Health records show that in August 2021, Legris surrendered his own DEA registration and Connecticut controlled substance credential.
The state Medical Examining Board revoked the Connecticut medical license of a physician for a second time Tuesday after he failed to follow the terms of reinstatement including seeking help for alcohol abuse and submitting to random urine screenings. John D. Lynch II, MD, was granted a reinstatement by the board in January 2020. Under the terms, Lynch could have started practicing in February 2021, documents said. But by June 2021, a private therapist issued a report to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) indicating that Lynch “was not able to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety.”
DPH documents also said that since February 2021, 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. A therapist also reported that that Lynch was off his regular medication for a mental health issue due to the cost and would likely not be able to safely practice unless he resumed the medication, documents said.
The state Medical Examining Board issued a $5,000 fine and a reprimand to an orthopedic surgeon who operated on the wrong knee of a patient in 2018 and temporarily suspended the medical license of a Colchester physician assistant who is accused of falsifying documents and excessively using alcohol and marijuana. Dr. Christopher Betz, who works at Starling Physicians, failed to follow the pre-incision protocol and failed to independently verify which knee was the site of the operation prior a procedure that took place at Bristol Hospital on Sept. 14, 2018, according to state Department of Public Health (DPH) documents. The error wasn’t reported by DPH’s Facility Licensing and Investigations Section (FLIS) to its Practitioner Licensing and Investigations Unit, which investigates complaints against physicians, for the board until July 19, 2019 after Bristol Hospital was the subject of an unannounced inspection by federal health authorities, documents said. Bristol Health reported the medical error as an adverse event on Sept.