News Local

Local doctors under disciplinary action in Texas

By Valerie MacDonald, Northumberland Today

PORT HOPE and COBOURG - A pair of doctors formerly practicing at the Port Hope Community Health Centre are the subject of two different disciplinary actions by the Texas Medical Board. One of the married couple currently works for the provincially operated Brookside Youth Centre in Cobourg and both operate a family doctors office in town.

When contacted for comment about the Texas Medical Board order against Dr. Richard Joseph Kondejewski, Brookside Youth Centre administrator James Culp said he was unaware of it. Asked what the practice was for hiring doctors for the incarceration facility for young offenders in Ontario, Culp replied, "That depends."

He said he would have to look into the "procurement policy."

Brookside Youth Centre is a maximum-security facility located on King Street East and incarcerates youth from 12 to 17, in most cases, but sometimes depending on the criminal circumstances, up to 19.

The Texas Medical Board website states that Dr. Kondejewski agreed to an order publicly "reprimanding him" and requiring the doctor to surrender his state and federally-controlled substances certificates. This action was taken because he had: "failed to use proper diligence in his practice (in Texas); prescribed dangerous drugs to a known abuser; and prescribed in a non-therapeutic manner in his treatment of a patient's depression."

He also violated Texas board rules in treating chronic pain, the agreed-to order states.

The order also required the doctor to pass a medical jurisprudence exam and complete three other educational requirements, together with one year of supervision by another physician.

This is not the only record on Kondejewski's file with the Texas board. Other notations included a fine for failing to release medical records in a timely fashion in 2004 and a suspended licence order that was subsequently stayed in 1994 and replaced with a five-year probation order due to "unprofessional or dishonorable conduct likely to deceive, defraud or injure the public."

The Texas Medical Board website also revoked the Texas physician licence of his wife, Rosemary Ann Stogre, on Feb. 10 of this year, in absentia.

Stogre has 20 days from service of the order to file a re-hearing motion to counter the complaints. They include allegations she prescribed controlled substances to a patient without medical need and that "a patient died as a result of misuse of controlled substances, some of them prescribed by Dr. Stogre."

Because Stogre didn't reply to the allegations, they are "deemed true," states last month's board order revoking her Texas physician licence.

Like her husband's record with the Texas Medical Board, there are previous website entries which includes a temporary suspension of her licence in May 2011 and in April 2011. Both allege that her prescription of controlled substances was a threat to public welfare.

Three or more malpractice claims in a five-year period prompted the board's investigation and actions related to Kondejewski, and Stogre, the board's website record also states.

Last week, Kondejewski and Stogre were featured in the most recent of a series published in this newspaper about people moving to this area and what attracted them to relocate in this area. As a result of that exposure, the newspaper was contacted by the Texas Medical Board to "alert" the community about the disciplinary actions against the doctors.

A check with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons confirms both doctors have licences to practice medicine in Ontario, and as they stated in the story published about their move here, they graduated from the University of Ottawa in 1971. A College spokesperson says there are no disciplinary hearings or complaints at this time.

"I can't confirm whether or not we are investigating (Kondejewski)," spokesperson Kathy Clarke said.

She said medical boards from various areas share orders such as that from the Medical Texas Board.

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons does not have any complaint or disciplinary actions against Stogre either.

In an interview last week, Kondejewski said the "issue" of the Texas Medical Board findings has come up and "made it very difficult" for him and his wife.

He said he is an active member of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, is an independent medical practitioner and has "no restrictions on his licence."

The Texas Medical Board alleged he "over-prescribed pain medication and missed a diagnosis of depression," Kondejewski said.

He also said he was supervising several nurse practitioners in clinics and all of the prescriptions, which the board found too numerous, were listed under his number. He said the prescribing was done within the regulations set out by the state.

Last year, he said, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons contacted him and through an attorney assigned to him it was determined that for a period of time he would be under supervision by another doctor practicing medicine here in Ontario. A total of 20 patient charts are being reviewed monthly by an independent physician who then reports to the Ontario College, Kondejewski said.

Kondejewski said he has also completed two of the three educational requirements that were previously ordered by the Texas Medical Board, as requested by the Ontario College. They are narcotics prescribing and records keeping. When the psychiatric illnesses in family practice course is available, he will then take it also, he said.

Stogre says she has been asked for "hundreds" of patient files by the Texas Medical Board over the past several years - and that she didn't get notification of last month's hearing in Texas.

When asked about the patient who is alleged to have died due to misuse of controlled substances, Stogre said she had "no idea" who the board was referring to because of the number of files reviewed by the Board over the past "two or three years." The last notification she received from the Texas Medical Board was of a continuing investigation and not of any hearing, she stressed.

She said the pain clinics and family practice in Texas she managed, and/or worked in, were not the same as those in which her husband worked.

Stogre said the people she oversaw were qualified health professionals working within the protocol set out in Texas.

She said she did not move from Texas to "leave problems behind," but to return to Ontario where she grew up, went to school and where she has family close by.

Last May, Stogre and Kondejewski worked for a few weeks, sharing one doctor's position at the Port Hope Community Health Centre. Before that, Kondejewski filled about four local "locums" - a temporary replacement when a local family doctor is absent for training or taking vacation.

Stogre said the Port Hope Community Health Centre asked them about the information from the Texas Medical Board and when they explained, " administration decided it was in their best interest" not to continue their affiliation with the centre.

The clinical manager at the Port Hope Community Health Centre, Lydia Rybenk, said the issue was dealt with at the staff, not the board, level.

"Things just didn't work out between the two parties," was all Rybenk would say.

Information about hiring protocols at the Brookside Youth Centre was not received by press time. Culp did not think a police check would have revealed background such as the Texas Medical Board order against Kondejewski.

He confirmed that, in addition to the care provided by Kondejewski, a psychiatrist provides mental health care and prescribes related medications at Brookside Youth Centre.