NOTE: Originally scheduled for Friday, April 4, in Richmond, the license hearing for Dr. Roger Phillips has been "continued." The Board of Medicine was not able to provide any further information.
The Virginia Board of Medicine summarily suspended the license of Newport News family physician and pain management doctor Roger M. Phillips on Feb. 20. A notice on the door to his practice, Prime Care Family Medicine in Oyster Point, reads, "closed indefinitely due to events beyond our control."
The board concluded that "a substantial danger to the public health or safety warrants this action." It outlined the dangers in a 43-page document listing multiple complaints about alleged prescription abuses. The formal administrative hearing is scheduled for April 4 in Richmond.
"They have lots of options — the most severe would be to revoke a license. They can also suspend the license, request continuing education — there are lots of different things they can do," said Diane Powers, a spokeswoman for the Board of Medicine.
In an emailed statement, Executive Director William Harp, M.D., wrote that the board "has the statutory authority to summarily suspend the license of a physician if it finds that there is a substantial danger to the public health or safety which warrants an immediate cessation of practice. Following such action, a formal hearing is scheduled within a reasonable time of the date of the summary suspension, thereby providing the licensee with timely due process." Harp concluded that "any sanction issued will be proportionate to the violation(s)."
The statement of particulars cites 33 instances in which Phillips may have violated a section or sections of the Virginia Code.
It details Phillips' treatment of one patient for seven years, including three after she moved to Florida. It notes that "Phillips diagnosed medical conditions such as fibromyalgia/generalized chronic neuralgia … without sufficient objective evidence or diagnostic testing." It describes the inappropriate prescription of medications, including oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as alleged failure to coordinate her care with another physician or to review her hospital records.
Board investigations involving another patient revealed "behavior which may be interpreted as romantic involvement" in addition to which Phillips allegedly fronted the chronic pain patient an interest-free loan and then hired her as a contract book-keeper to pay off the loan. Another patient recorded as having a perceived narcotics problem, was first prescribed oxycodone at a maximum dosage of 60 mg/day; three years later she was prescribed 330 mg/day though "the patient had not been diagnosed with any additional chronic, painful conditions."
A number of pharmacists, who complained of Phillips' rudeness when they called to verify prescriptions, are noted, including one who subsequently refused to fill prescriptions for his patients. Several times, the report cites the prescribing of medications "notwithstanding awareness of drug-seeking behavior and information that patient was abusing or misusing the medications." Records of many urine tests administered to patients also had unexplained results, sometimes testing negative for drugs he was prescribing, but positive for others.
In little over a year, Phillips reportedly prescribed the following drugs for a 59-year-old female patient: "3,804 dosage units of methadone, 1,902 dosage units of oxycodone, 480 dosage units of Adderall, and 540 dosage units of alprazolam for diagnoses of thoracic disc disease/displaced disc with myelopathy, lumbago, migraine headache, arthritis of the knee, medication somnolence, and anxiety/insomnia," all "without objective evidence or diagnostic testing."
According to UCompareHealth, an online health report, Phillips, 69, is a graduate of Yale University School of Medicine and has practiced medicine for more than 30 years.
Salasky can be reached by phone at 757-247-4784.
Want your records?
Send a written request to the office: Prime Care Medical Group, 755 Thimble Shoals Blvd., Newport News, Va. 23606.
If no response after 15 days, call the Virginia Board of Medicine, 804-367-4400.
There is also a list of alternative pain management and substance abuse treatment services in the region attached to the office door.
What: Formal administrative hearing before the Virginia Board of Medicine
When: 10 a.m. Friday, April 4
Where: Dept. of Health Professions, 9960 Mayland Drive, 2nd Floor, Henrico County.
Info: Open to the public.
A note on Dr. Roger Phillips' office door asked interested individuals to send comments, complaints, questions, etc. to: William L. Harp MD, Executive Director, Virginia Board of Medicine, 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300, Richmond, Va. 23233-1463; 804-367-4600; fax 800-533-1560; email email@example.com.