The Pennsylvania Board of Osteopathic Medicine refused Wednesday to let Thomas C. Barone, a pain management physician whose prescribing practices were linked to the deaths of four patients, return to his Center City practice.

The decision continues a license suspension that began two years ago, after investigators accused Barone of inappropriately prescribing tens of thousands of pills, most of them highly addictive opioid painkillers, to four patients who later died of overdoses, one of them due to heroin.

The medical board gave no reason for its decision, which will be followed by a written order. But a hearing examiner had recommended after a September hearing that Barone’s reinstatement petition be denied. She said that while Barone had completed a required training and skills assessment program, he did not follow up on 10 recommendations that the program had made. Among them was enrollment in a medical ethics course at Rutgers University after he scored in the lowest percentile on an ethics assessment.

Barone testified at the hearing that he believed the recommendations were unnecessary and not cost-effective.
Reached on Wednesday, Barone said only that he did not know whether he would reapply for his medical license.

No criminal charges have been brought against Barone. Prosecutors pursue criminal counts involving prescribing practices only in extraordinary cases.

– Don Sapatkin
Philly.com

Follow Prescription Advisory

Attention to patterns of prescription requests and the prescribing of opioids as part of an ongoing relationship between a patient and a healthcare provider can decrease the risk of diversion. Periodic review of state PDMP, where available, is also a useful tool to monitor compliance. Evaluation should initially include…a drug history… Documentation is essential.

February 2013 American Academy of Pain Medicine

Thirteen multi-state PDMP projects were sponsored in 2012-13. While providers indicated that PDMPs gave them more confidence for prescribing pain medication, the study concluded that the easier the data is to obtain, the more they will be used, and the safer the practice can be.

 

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services AdministrationOffice of the National Coordinator for Health IT, & MITRE Corp
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