Three psychiatrists permanently surrendered their licenses to the Colorado Medical Board in 2015 in order to avoid formal disciplinary hearings on complaints filed against them with the Board, according to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies online listing of Board actions. A fourth psychiatrist agreed to a non-permanent surrender of his license.
The psychiatrists who permanently surrendered their licenses are:
- Wallace R. Arthur (Denver) – The Board alleged Arthur violated the Colorado Medical Practice Act by engaging in a sexual act with a patient within the six months immediately following the termination of his treatment of the patient, which constitutes unprofessional conduct under Colorado law.
- Lawrence L. McReynolds (Ridgway) – McReynolds surrendered his license in the state of California after allegations of repeated acts of negligence and failure to keep proper records in his treatment of a patient there, then failed to notify the Colorado Medical Board of that fact, as required.
- Walter C. Young, Jr. (Colorado Springs) – The Board alleged that Arthur failed to take any steps to ensure the safety of a patient who expressed suicidal thoughts, prescribed the same patient pain medications and large quantities of high-dose opiates over periods of time between prescriptions that were too short, and terminated treatment of the patient the same day he received notice of the complaint in this case without giving her proper notice or helping her find another provider.
The psychiatrist who agreed to a non-permanent surrender of his license is:
- Steven P. Miller (Louisville) – The Board alleged that Miller was treating a female patient who was an exotic dancer and, on returning from an out-of-town trip, he drove to the place his patient was performing. She sat on his lap without recognizing that he was her psychiatrist, she left when she realized who he was, and Miller allegedly stayed on the premises and talked to her later. Several months later, the patient overdosed on drugs, but before passing out put her parents in contact with Miller by phone. Miller allegedly got the parents to bring their unconscious daughter to his residence, put her in his bed, allowed her to live with him for a period of 7 to 14 days, fed her, took her out to dine with him, and had an inappropriate relationship with her during that time.
Six more Colorado psychiatrists received other forms of disciplinary action from the Medical Board in 2015, based on complaints the Board received about treatment they had given their patients:
- Peter U. Berndt (Denver) – Berndt provided psychiatric treatment to a patient he then included in his family life, including but not limited to dinners at Berndt’s home and Berndt’s wife helping to decorate the patient’s home. This constitutes unprofessional conduct under Colorado law. The Medical Board sent Berndt a letter admonishing him for these boundary violations, placed his license on probation indefinitely, and ordered him to take an ethics course.
- Matthew J. Burke (Chandler, AZ) – Burke failed to respond to complaint letters the Colorado Medical Board sent him concerning a patient’s complaint against him. Failing to respond in an honest, materially responsive, and timely manner to a complaint sent by the Board is unprofessional conduct under Colorado law. The Board then sent him a letter, stating the Board “must assume that the allegations raised in the complaint may have merit” and cautioning him that “complaints disclosing any repetition of such practice may lead to the commencement of formal disciplinary proceedings against your license.”
- William W. Dodson (Greenwood Village) – The Board sent Dodson a letter admonishing him for prescribing a patient high doses of a controlled substance that exceeded FDA-approved dosages, then failing to monitor the patient adequately, having documented only two appointments with her over a roughly five-month period. He was warned that any similar complaint in the future could lead to formal disciplinary proceedings against his license.
- Natalie M. Hogan (Littleton) – In a letter admonishing Hogan, the Board found she failed to properly assess a patient and prescribed Valium to him, in spite of his documented history of drug dependence and abuse of multiple drugs. During the hospitalization of another patient for alcohol withdrawal and behavioral problems, Hogan also failed to properly assess the patient and prescribed addictive narcotic substances, despite the patient’s history of alcohol and drug abuse and dependence. The Board also expressed its concern that Hogan failed to coordinate both patients’ discharge from the facility where treatment occurred, when both were taking multiple psychiatric drugs. She was warned that any similar complaints in the future could lead to action against her license.
- Frank E. Leone (Thornton) – The FDA requires that patients taking clozapine be registered with the drug’s manufacturer and monitored by both the company and the psychiatrist. When the drug company notified Leone to discontinue clozapine for one of his patients who had developed a severely low white blood cell count, he falsely claimed he had secured a waiver from the company allowing him to continue prescribing the drug to the patient. The patient was suffering side effects consistent with use of the drug and was unable to advocate for herself. The Medical Board sent Leone a letter admonishing him for unprofessional conduct and required him to take an ethics course.
- Halbert B. Miller (Alpharetta, GA) – Miller failed to renew his Massachusetts license in 2013 or update his address, so he did not receive a letter from the Massachusetts Medical Board notifying him that his license had expired. He continued to practice psychiatry without a license. He also fraudulently claimed in his license renewal application that he was Board-certified in addiction psychiatry, but the certification had expired in 2008. The Massachusetts Medical Board publicly reprimanded Miller and fined him $2,500 for his misconduct. The Colorado Medical Board then sent a letter of admonition to Miller, stating that his actions were also unprofessional conduct under Colorado law and warning him that any similar conduct in the future could lead to formal disciplinary action against his Colorado license.
How do you know if the Medical Board has ever taken action against your mental health provider? Actions taken by Colorado licensing boards against psychiatrists, psychologists, marriage and family therapists, registered psychotherapists, professional counselors, and psychiatric technicians can be found by searching the provider’s name on the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) website. DORA encourages consumers to check for disciplinary actions so they can make more informed decisions about healthcare providers.
DORA also encourages you to file a complaint about any unprofessional conduct you experienced. If you want to make a complaint against someone who has harmed you with psychiatric drugs or mental health treatment, we want to talk to you. Contact the Colorado chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.