The Colorado Medical Board took emergency action in January to suspend the license of Lakewood psychiatrist Harry Taub after reviewing information that he deliberately and willfully violated the Medical Practice Act and/or that he has a physical or mental condition that makes him unsafe to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients.
Documents related to the case, which date back to 2003, are posted on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website. The documents detail a history of substance abuse that started with Taub’s addiction to cough syrup, which began sometime after he was issued a resident’s Training License to practice medicine in North Carolina in 2001.
In 2003, Taub was arrested in North Carolina on a felony charge of obtaining a controlled substance by forgery. Taub admitted he had written prescriptions for Percocet for himself under a fictitious name for about a year. He entered into a deferral agreement, under which the charge against him would be dismissed if he followed his treatment plan and submitted to drug testing while on supervised probation for one year.
In 2008, Taub was arrested again and charged with two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud/forgery. He pled guilty to the charges, was given a suspended sentence of four to five months and was placed on supervised probation. He entered a substance abuse treatment program. The North Carolina Medical Board indefinitely suspended his license to practice, and records show the license subsequently became inactive in 2009.
In 2011, Taub applied for a license to practice in Colorado. An evaluation by the Colorado Physician Health Program concluded Taub was safe to practice if he was under treatment and monitoring.
In May 2012, the Colorado Medical Board granted a restricted license that required Taub to comply with numerous conditions for a period of five years, including treatment monitoring and abstinence from addictive substances, monitoring of the prescriptions he wrote, and monitoring of his psychiatric practice.
Taub treated children and adolescents. In June 2013, a monitor’s review of Taub’s practice found his treatment and medication management of three child and adolescent psychiatric patients fell below generally accepted standards and that he failed to make essential entries in the records of seven patients. This is unprofessional conduct, as defined in Colorado law.
The Medical Board found that the situation required emergency action. Instead of an immediate suspension of Taub’s license, it allowed Taub to enter into an agreement not to practice, pending further evaluation and investigation by the Board.
In July 2013, the Medical Board placed Taub’s license on probation for five years and required him to meet a lengthy list of conditions, including treatment and drug monitoring, keeping a log of prescriptions he wrote, practice monitoring, an education program, and quality reviews.
On January 8, 2016, the Colorado Medical Board received information that Taub had used alcohol and a controlled substance and that he has a physical or mental condition that renders him unsafe to practice. The Medical Board concluded the situation required emergency action and suspended Taub’s license to practice, pending further resolution of the matter.
You decide. Has the Medical Board handled this psychiatrist’s case appropriately?