Defense of physician before OPMC

Our client is a solo practitioner specializing in primary care and gastroenterology in a rural community. Among the multiple charges brought against him by the New York Office of Professional Medical Conduct was the prescribing of benzodiazepines to various patients over extended periods of time. By thoroughly investigating the case, we determined that the availability of psychiatrists in the community was almost nonexistent, thus making it impossible for the physician to refer these patients to a psychiatrist to manage the prescribing of the benzodiazepines. We also were able to demonstrate that the benzodiazepine prescriptions were for low doses, the patients carefully followed the prescriptions, and the doses of benzodiazepine did not increase over time, which indicated that a tolerance had not occurred. In its decision, the OPMC hearing panel adopted our position that the charges should never have been brought against this physician in the first place.