Psychiatrist Omar Hasan fighting suspension of license over allegations of inappropriate relationship with patient

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The Register Herald
Beckley psychiatrist files petition for appeal in licensure suspension
Wendy Holdren
July 12, 2017

An attorney representing Beckley psychiatrist Dr. Omar Hasan has filed a petition for appeal after the West Virginia Board of Medicine suspended the psychiatrist’s medical license, claiming he had an inappropriate relationship with a patient.

In the appeal, attorney Stuart McMillan argues the hearing examiner’s findings of fact and conclusions of law — which determined a sexual relationship could not be proven between Hasan and his patient — were wrongfully rejected.

“Even more concerning, the board provided no deference to its hearing examiner who assessed the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses throughout the course of a four-day hearing,” the petition reads.

“Instead, without listening to or observing a single witness, without reviewing all the evidence and in the course of a few hours, the board blindly signed a second order which imposed its own credibility determinations in place of the Hearing Examiner.”

The petition argues the board misstated the record and ignored conflicting evidence.

• • •

When Hasan’s patient filed a complaint, the board hired a private investigator.

The board determined Dec. 2, 2016, probable cause existed and initiated its own complaint, citing the existence of an inappropriate sexual relationship and failure to document outside office communications.

Herschel H. Rose III was appointed as hearing examiner and a hearing was held April 25-28. The petition for appeal said board members were not present for witness testimony or any part of the hearing.

In an 83-page proposed order submitted June 13, Rose concluded the board did not prove a sexual relationship occurred.

“The hearing examiner’s decision was based primarily on credibility determinations of various witnesses,” the petition said.

The board held a special meeting June 19 for consideration of the proposed order. Members voted to suspend Hasan’s license for one year after finding “clear and convincing evidence” of the inappropriate relationship.

The board found that Hasan departed from the standards of acceptable medical practice in regard to his outside-the-office communications with the patient and in his failure to document most of his interactions with the patient.

“However, despite already submitting a proposed order on behalf of the board, another attorney for the Attorney General’s office drafted a second proposed order. Dr. Hasan was not provided the second proposed order.”

The petition continues, “On June 21, 2017, shortly after the special meeting, the board issued the second order which differed substantially from the parties’ proposed orders and sharply criticized the hearing examiner’s findings even though its members were not present at the hearing to observe the witnesses’ demeanor and tone and assess their credibility.”

The petition lists seven assignments of error, arguing the hearing examiner was in the best position to determine witness credibility; the board misstated evidence and ignored conflicting evidence to reach a decision “that is clearly wrong”; and the file dump of text messages is “incomplete, manipulated, unverified and unreliable.”

The petition, filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court, is asking the court to set aside the board’s final order and affirm the decision made by the hearing examiner.

Psychiatrist Omar Hasan