Maine Psychiatrist Reinaldo de los Heros Suspended over drug prescriptions – “immediate jeopardy to the public”

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Portland Press Herald
License of Portland psychiatrist suspended over drug prescriptions
By Gillian Graham & Joe Lawlor
October 11, 2017

Psychiatrist Reinaldo de los Heros

The state medical board has suspended the medical license of a psychiatrist who was placed on probation in 2016 following the suicide of one of his patients.

The medical license of Dr. Reinaldo de los Heros, who practices in Portland, was suspended for 30 days starting Oct. 10, the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine announced Wednesday. After reviewing de los Heros’ practices, the board concluded his ability to prescribe controlled substances represented “immediate jeopardy” to the public.

The board said in a written statement that it will schedule an adjudicatory hearing within 30 days to determine whether to revoke or take other actions against de los Heros’ license. De los Heros has a long track record of medical board disciplinary problems in Massachusetts and Maine, dating to the 1990s.

It’s not clear how de los Heros could keep a license to practice medicine if the board has already concluded he presents an “immediate jeopardy” to the public. A spokesman for the medical board did not respond to the Press Herald’s requests for more information about the license suspension Wednesday.

In its statement, the board said its review included information that showed de los Heros issued a prescription for a patient he knew was incarcerated and created a false medical record indicating there was a 25-minute, in-person office visit.

De los Heros did not respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment Wednesday afternoon.

In February 2016, the board placed de los Heros, of Falmouth, on probation for the way he practiced medicine leading up to the drug overdose of one of his patients. Kelly Deyo, 39, took her own life on April 19, 2015, with 19 mostly empty prescription pill bottles and a suicide note found by her side at her apartment in Westbrook.

The bottles, including refills, had contained nine prescriptions written by de los Heros. Deyo had struggled with heroin addiction and many mental health problems, her mother, Elizabeth Marquis, told the Press Herald.

Marquis said Wednesday that while she’s pleased with the board’s action, it should have revoked de los Heros’ license years ago.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “Why didn’t they put a stop to this? I consider it the licensing board’s fault that my daughter died. It made me so mad that he was allowed to continue practicing medicine after my daughter died.”

Marquis said she filed a malpractice suit against de los Heros in late spring for the incidents leading up to her daughter’s death.

In a July 2015 letter defending his practices, de los Heros said Marquis’ daughter was responding well to his treatment after complaining of numerous mental health conditions, including paranoia, insomnia, agitation, hyperactivity, mood swings, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive behaviors.

De los Heros was placed on probation in a Feb. 24, 2016 consent agreement with the licensing board for failing to coordinate Deyo’s care with her primary care physicians and poor documentation of her visits, including a lack of or incomplete treatment notes or treatment notes that were illegible, according to the agreement.

In April, 2017, the licensing board and de los Heros agreed to an amendment to his license. The amendment required the doctor to allow the state to select 10 patient records for the board’s review. It was not immediately clear whether the recent 30-day license suspension was related to the review of patient records.

De los Heros had been sanctioned by the Massachusetts licensing board in the 1990s and 2000s for Medicaid fraud, and for fraudulently trying to regain his medical license.

De los Heros’ license to practice in Massachusetts was revoked in 1997 for Medicaid billing fraud, according to Massachusetts medical board records. De los Heros failed to disclose his disciplinary history on forms in Massachusetts when trying to regain his license in 2007, the records show, including that his license was revoked in other states, that he had a 2006 consent agreement in Maine with the Maine licensing board and that his medical malpractice insurance company had imposed a surcharge on his policy.

In 2009 de los Heros signed a consent agreement with the Maine board that required him to practice under the supervision of another psychiatrist who was to review his patient interactions, prescribing practices and consultations with other mental health providers. The consent agreement does not specify what concerns or actions by de los Heros prompted the board’s actions, except to refer to a 2008 complaint that was not immediately available for review Wednesday.

The Maine licensing board is made up of 6 physicians, 3 public members, and a physician assistant appointed by the governor.

Maine Psychiatrist Reinaldo de los Heros