NEWARK – A Haddon Heights-based physician must cease practice after the close of business today, after the state Board of Medical Examiners concurred with a court ruling that the physician indiscriminately prescribed painkillers to patients and failed to maintain proper patient records.
Kevin M. Fleming, M.D., prescribed controlled dangerous substances, including Oxycontin, Percocet, Actiq and Duregesic, without performing examinations or assessments of at least five patients.
The Board of Medical Examiners, which licenses approximately 33,000 physicians practicing in New Jersey, ordered that Fleming’s license be suspended for five years, with the first two years an active suspension and the balance a period of probation during which Fleming may resume the practice of medicine. The Board also assessed him $105,000 in civil penalties and $78,388.41 in reimbursement to the state for its costs in this matter.
“Dr. Fleming put patients under his care at needless risk,” Attorney General Paula T, Dow said. “The abuse of painkillers is a well-documented problem and Dr. Fleming, by his own admission, prescribed large quantities of these drugs without even seeing one of these patients.”
The Board filed a Complaint against Dr. Fleming in late 2007 and an Administrative Law Judge held a five-day hearing in July 2009 because the matter was contested. The judge issued his ruling this February, with the Board of Medical Examiners having the authority to revise the ruling or accept it without change.
The judge recommended $295,000 in monetary penalties against Dr. Fleming but the Board reduced the amount, based on his financial ability to pay.
Before possible reinstatement to practice medicine, the Board ordered that Dr. Fleming appear before a committee of the Board to demonstrate his fitness and competence. He also must have completed Board-approved courses in prescribing controlled dangerous substances and record keeping.
“The Board has acted to protect the public. Dr. Fleming’s actions constituted a blatant deviation from accepted standards of care. Frankly, his actions showed little, if any, care for his patients or for upholding the values of his profession,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Deputy Attorney General Jeri Warhaftig handled this matter before the Board of Medical Examiners and Deputy Attorney General David Puteska represented the Board before the Administrative Law Judge.