October 18, 2012
Frank Lewis and Wayne Allen
PDT Staff Writers
The State Medical Board of Ohio has named Kimberly C. Anderson, Esq., Interim Executive Director, following the resignation of Richard A. Whitehouse.
No reason was given for the resignation of Whitehouse, a frequent visitor to the Scioto County Drug Task Force meetings. However, according to a story in the Columbus Dispatch, Whitehouse was “ousted,” and there are indications that some Ohio doctors had become uneasy with Whitehouse’s aggressive investigations in the past two years as the state cracked down on “pill mills,” and physicians involved in those types of operations.
“My opinion on that is they were doing exactly what they needed to be (doing),” Jo Anna Krohn, Director of SOLACE (Surviving our Losses And Continuing Everyday), said when she learned of the speculation about Whitehouse’s resignation. “Why would they be uneasy if they are not doing anything wrong? That’s the way I feel. If they’re not doing anything wrong they should not be uneasy. Pill mills were shut down. That’s something totally different than a legitimate pain clinic. If somebody had a legitimate pain management clinic around here, that would have been different. Nobody should be in pain. But when you have the doctors and the pharmacists selling things out their back doors, like what has happened around here, that’s just wrong and there needs to be a stop to it.”
In the early days of House Bill 93, which regulates pain clinics in the state, Whitehouse was an outspoken supporter, often praising the work of State Representative Dr. Terry Johnson, a sponsor of the bill. At a Drug Task Force meeting in Portsmouth, Whitehouse said, “The legislation (H.B. 93) is going to move mountains. It’s not going to eliminate the problem. The problem will never be done, will never be dead, never be over.”
One of the people who has been involved on the front lines of the war on illegal drugs is Lisa Roberts, R.N. of the Drug Action Team and the City Health Department.
“The (State) Medical Board was pretty much for this crackdown,” Roberts said. “They testified in support of House Bill 93. And they were up there when we testified. Richard testified, and they supported it. And then the (Ohio) Medical Association, which is the doctors, got up there and testified against it. They didn’t want any kind of prescribed limits. They said there was just a handful of these doctors doing this. The (State Medical) Board was getting some pushback from the Association.”
The Dispatch said Whitehouse, 55, was paid $113,105 last year, and complaints about the Medical Board, some aimed at Whitehouse and Dr. Lance A. Talmage, a Board member, were sent two weeks ago to Ohio Governor John Kasich and State Se. Tom Patton, R-Strongville, Patton reportedly sent the letter to Tony Bledsoe, the state legislative inspector general, who in turn forwarded it to State Inspector General Randall Meyer because it involved an executive agency.
According to the Dispatch story, the accusations came from Dr. Paul M. Kempen, an anesthesiologist from Broadview Heights, Ohio, who was unhappy with several things, particularly that Whitehouse is an attorney. He reportedly complained that investigations had become “the single leading line item cost in the balance sheets.”
A proposal by Whitehouse and Talmage to require physicians to meet more rigid “maintenance of licensure,” requirements under the supervision of the Federation of State Medical Boards, may have sparked the ouster. A group of medical organizations, including the Ohio State Medical Association, said in a letter to the board that the federation program was unnecessary and duplicative.
The Medical Board says Anderson, the new Interim Director, also serves as the Assistant Executive Director of Investigations, Compliance and Enforcement for the agency. Prior to joining the State Medical Board in 2007, Anderson was the Chief Legal Counsel for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. She obtained her law degree from Capital University Law School and is admitted to practice law in Ohio and the United States District Court of Ohio, Southern Division.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or at email@example.com