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Psychiatrist’s License Suspended

Earlier I had posted a story about how Medicaid had removed Miami area Dr. Steven L. Kaplan as a provider from its program. His cases could no longer be covered by Medicaid. Dr. Kaplan is a psychiatrist who has come under scrutiny for the over drugging of his patients. An autistic child, Denis Maltez, died as a result of such over drugging at Dr. Kaplan’s hands. An autopsy in fact determined neuroleptic drugs to be the cause of death in Denis Maltez case.

Now Dr. Kaplan is back in the news. The Department of Health has filed an emergency suspension of Dr. Kaplan’s license to practice medicine. Health News Florida reported on this action in a story, ‘Emergency’ action took 4 yrs.

The emergency suspension order by State Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros released late Friday makes no reference to the warnings about Kaplan that it received from the Agency for Health Care Administration’s Medicaid unit in May 2006. The order says it received a complaint about Kaplan in November 2009 and began its investigation at that time.

May 2006. Yep, 1 finger, 2 finger, 3 finger, 4, now. 2010 is 4 years later.

The DOH’s emergency order does not name the patient beyond his initials, but the circumstances make clear it was Denis Maltez, an autistic boy who lived in a state-licensed group home for foster children called Rainbow Ranch. He was Kaplan’s patient for a year before dying at age 12.

Denis Maltez died on May 23, 2007

A foster child, on Medicaid, age 12, kaput. He might as well have been dumped into a dumpster. He’s worm’s meat currently.

Records provided by AHCA show that the Medicaid Program Integrity Office notified the DOH Division of Medical Quality Assurance in writing on May 12, 2006 about problems with Kaplan’s “prescribing habits” as they pertained to “antipsychotic medications for Medicaid recipients/patients.”

That it took the Department of Health 4 years to act on this matter makes Florida as a state a little ‘slow’. Unfortunately, being a little ‘slow’, in this instance and in that of the recently quashed Gabriel Myers bill, translates ultimately into what we’ve got, a tab paid in dead children.

3 Dead In Pineville, Louisiana

3 people dead, 40 wounded, at Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana. The suspected culprit in the matter at this point is food poisoning. The associated press reported on the incident with a story, Food poisoning suspected in 3 La. hospital deaths.

Lisa Faust, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Hospitals, says the patients had chicken salad Thursday night.

She says something bad could have been in the chicken, lettuce or mayonnaise.

USA Today filled in a few more details with a report of their own, 3 Die at Pineville hospital, 40 ill.

Forty patients at the behavioral health hospital showed signs of gastrointestinal stress beginning around 6:30 a.m. Friday with the three deaths a 43-year-old woman, 41-year-old man and 52-year-old man happening late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

State Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine told reporters Saturday that autopsies of the three patients are scheduled Monday, with lab test results expected in a few days.

Two patients remain hospitalized at Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville. A total of 11 patients and four staff members were treated there for possible food-poisoning symptoms.

I know that sometimes hospital food can be foul, but usually it’s not going to kill you. Hopefully this incident is not going to result in, always a possibility, a less delectable menu for its inmates and guards.

Close the hospital down, liberate its inmates, and you won’t have this kind of thing happening there in the future. Most parents, not all mind you, don’t want their children coming home from the looney bin in a casket.