James Halikas


Saint Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota)
By Tom Majeski
May 26, 1998

A prominent member of the University of Minnesota’s psychiatry faculty has been reprimanded and fined $3,500 by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for failing to follow patient safety guidelines involving a drug study he was conducting.

In other actions, the board fined a Golden Valley psychiatrist $10,000 and restricted his license, changed the restrictions on the license of a Wabasha physician after he violated an earlier board order and disciplined a physician from La Crosse, Wis.

According to the board, the university psychiatrist, Dr. James A. Halikas, 56, received permission from the university’s Institutional Review Board in October 1992 to test a new drug, gamma-hydroxybutyrate, as an opium detoxifying agent. At the time, Halikas was targeting a group of Southeast Asian immigrants who had recurring opiate addiction problems.

Board documents say that Halikas failed to obtain signed informed consent from eight patients before they were treated with the drug. He also gave two patients larger doses of the drug than permitted under university guidelines and denied a request from several participants who were dissatisfied with the new drug and asked that their methadone dosages be increased.

Besides the fine and reprimand, Halikas must provide the board with proof that he is complying with requirements the university imposed on him in 1995. He also must immediately notify the board whenever he becomes involved in research projects involving human subjects.

After two years of compliance, Halikas may petition the board for an unconditional license.

The Golden Valley psychiatrist, Dr. William B. Hosfield, 56, was disciplined for unprofessional conduct, inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety by reason of illness, improper management of medical records and becoming addicted or habituated to a drug or intoxicant.

According to the board, Hosfield overstepped doctor-patient boundaries while treating an adolescent female patient. He also failed to keep adequate medical records and improperly contacted the patient by telephone shortly after the patient’s mother terminated her therapy.

Besides paying the fine, Hosfield was ordered to obtain a physician to monitor and/or manage his treatment and abstain completely from alcohol and mood-altering chemicals. He also was prohibited from prescribing or administering prescription drugs or drug samples for his own use or for his family members’ use.

In addition, Hosfield must attend weekly meetings of self-help groups and monthly meetings of a professional self-help group, successfully complete a pre-approved professional boundaries training course, practice only in a pre-approved supervised setting and limit his practice to research, administrative work, medication management and evaluation and consultation.

After three years, Hosfield may petition the board to modify the terms of the order, the board said.
The Wabasha physician, Dr. Donald R. Krabill, 66, was disciplined for violating a previous board order, unprofessional and unethical conduct, inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness, improper management of medical records, becoming addicted or habituated to a drug or intoxicant and prescribing a drug for other than medically accepted purposes.

Board documents show the board first disciplined Krabill in 1990 for chemical dependency. Restrictions placed on his license at the time were extended in 1993 after he violated the order by attempting to prescribe controlled substances to his wife, who was chemically dependent.

The board said Krabill violated the 1993 restrictions when he self-prescribed a controlled substance in July 1996. He also prescribed drugs for family members and other patients and examined patients in his home without documenting the exams in their medical records.

Under the board’s revised order, Krabill must abstain completely from alcohol and all mood-altering chemicals, practice only in pre-approved settings, prescribe only to patients in the group setting, undergo at least 12 unannounced blood and urine tests per quarter and attend at least three meetings a week of a pre-approved professional support group.

After four years, Krabill may petition the board to modify the terms of the order.

The La Crosse physician, Dr. Mark K. Stevens, 43, was disciplined for unprofessional and unethical conduct, inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness, improper management of medical records and engaging in conduct with a patient that is sexual or may reasonably be interpreted as sexual.

According to the board, Stevens, who has a license to practice in Minnesota, had a sexual relationship with a female patient. He also had his hospital privileges suspended in July 1995 by the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. In January 1996, Stevens was convicted by general court-martial of unauthorized absence, allowing prescription drugs to be wrongfully disposed of through neglect, fraternization, adultery and conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman by engaging in sexual intercourse with a patient. At the time, he was reprimanded, forfeited $1,000 per month for 12 months and was dismissed from naval service.

Besides a reprimand, the board fined Stevens $500, prohibited him from engaging in sexual conduct with patients, ordered him to successfully complete a professional boundaries training course within nine months, undergo therapy from a pre-approved therapist and practice only in a pre-approved group setting.