Florida Psychiatrist Harold Edward Smith – A Chronology
By Joel Voss, CCHR Tampa
November 16, 2013
Due to the how common this psychiatrist’s name is, painstaking efforts were done to ensure all the data below is on this one psychiatrist and him alone.
May 1977, Graduated from medical school, University of Arkansas.
July 1977, Obtains medical license # C-5235 in Arkansas
1982, Smith has “a documented substance abuse history dating back as far as 1982,” when he “entered treatment for alcohol and controlled substance abuse”.
In April 1983, Smith “was discharged from an impaired physicians program.”
July 1983, Obtains medical license # 14953 in Tennessee.
November 1984, obtains medical license # 27319 in Georgia.
Controlled substances are: narcotic drugs like Percocet, OxyCotin, Hydrocodone & Morphine; psychiatric tranquilizers such as Valium, Xanax and Klonopin; psychiatric amphetamines (stimulants) such as Ritalin, Vyvanse & Adderall, etc. For contrast a few drugs that require a prescription, but are not controlled substances, are: insulin, antibiotics, etc. Controlled substances have a high potential for abuse due to their addictive properties. In order for any doctor to prescribe controlled substances he must be approved by, and registered with, the DEA. Without a DEA registration a doctor cannot prescribe controlled substances. Insulin and antibiotics can be prescribed by a doctor who has a medical license but does not have a DEA registration.
April 1985, Smith entered into an agreement with the Georgia Board of Medical Examiners (Georgia Board) based on his “chemical dependency,” which placed him on probation for four years and imposed various conditions including that he “abstain from the consumption of alcohol or controlled substances,” undergo random drug testing, and “relinquish” his controlled substance privileges.
On April 17, 1985, Smith entered into an agreement with the Georgia Board, which noted that he had “completed a treatment program for chemical dependency.”
April 1987, becomes board certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
1987 – 1990, Smith authors or co-authors the following papers:
“Adolescent Inpatient and Outpatient Chemical Dependence Treatment: An Overview”
“Chemical Abuse and Dependence: An Occupational Hazard for Health Professionals”
“Chemical Abuse and Dependence: An Occupational Hazard for EMS Personnel”
“Alternatives in Adolescent Chemical Dependence Treatment”
“Drugs- A Deadly Game”
“Parenting A Drug-Free Child”
“A Physician’s Fifteen Years of Drugs”
June 1990, Smith tested positive for cocaine and on October 10, 1990, he “entered into an agreement with the Georgia Board under which his medical license was suspended and he was ordered (1) Not to practice medicine, (2) not to use his DEA registration, and (3) “to participate in a program for impaired physicians.”
In June 1990, physicians at Smith’s place of employment requested that he provide a specimen for drug testing. The specimen tested positive for cocaine. Subsequently, the Georgia Board ordered him to “undergo a 72-hour inpatient mental/ physical examination evaluation” and thereafter, Smith entered “treatment for relapse of chemical dependence.”
1993 – 1995, Smith specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Tennessee in Memphis.
January 1999, obtains medical license #ME77300 in Florida.
January 1999, Smith becomes a board certified psychiatrist, certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
December 2001, Smith is arrested and jailed in Lake County, Florida for battery. The court prosecutor formally files the charges. The court offers him a deal that if he pays fines a takes an anger management course the charges will be dropped. Smith pays the fines and takes the course and the charges were dropped.
April 2002, Smith submitted an application to renew his DEA registration. In section 3 of the application, question 3(d) asked: “Has the applicant ever surrendered or had a state professional license or controlled substance registration revoked, suspended, denied, restricted, or placed on probation? Is any such action pending?” Smith circled “no.” The application was approved and Smith is free to prescribe controlled substances.
October 18, 2002, the Florida Department of Health filed an Administrative Complaint against him. The Complaint alleged that “from on or about July 24, 1999 to on or about August 14, 2000,” Smith “wrote hydrocodone prescriptions for J.R.S.,” and that “from on or about January 14, 2000 to on or about June 30, 2000,” he wrote hydrocodone prescription for L.L.S., both of whom were alleged to be related to him. The complaint further alleged that Smith “did not keep records of his examinations, diagnoses, treatment or drugs prescribed” for either person.
June 18, 2003, Smith entered into an agreement with the Florida Department of Health. Therein, he neither admitted nor denied the allegations. However, he agreed to pay a fine of $2,000, to reimburse the Department for its costs in the amount of $4,776.58, and to complete a course entitled “Protecting Your Medical Practice, Clinical, Legal and Ethical Issues in Prescribing Abusable Drugs.
The Florida Professional Resource Network (PRN) is a non-profit organization run by the Florida Medical Association. PRN is contracted by the Florida Department of Health to treat impaired healthcare practitioners. The Florida PRN’s website states “The primary mission of PRN is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public while supporting the integrity of the health care team and other professionals”. PRN’s Medical Director, Assistant Medical Director and Medical Consultant are all psychiatrists.
August 18, 2003, the Florida Board of Medicine rejected the agreement and offered a counter agreement, which the parties accepted. The agreement increased the fine to $5,000, imposed a restriction on his license requiring him to “remain in compliance with any and all terms of” his contract with the Professional Resource Network (PRN), and prohibited him “from writing prescriptions for controlled substances for any family member.”
February 28, 2005, Smith submitted another application to renew his DEA registration. Once again, in answering question 3(d), “Has the applicant ever surrendered or had a state professional license or controlled substance registration revoked, suspended, denied, restricted, or placed on probation? Is any such action pending?” Smith again circled “no.” The application is again renewed and Smith is free to prescribe controlled substances, as far as the DEA knows.
Oct 2005 Smith was evaluated by PRN and “diagnosed with cocaine dependence” and “opioid dependence, in apparent relapse” and that the evaluator found that Smith “was not safe to practice medicine”.
May 2006, the Florida Department of Health filed another Administrative Complaint against Smith. The complaint alleged that on approximately August 9, 2005, he had ceased complying with his PRN contract and that, on August 16, 2005, a PRN monitor had contact with him and “recommended,” based on his “body language and general demeanor, that he undergo a psychiatric evaluation.” PRN then allegedly “requested that Smith submit to a psychiatric evaluation and drug screen”; however, Smith failed to “present for his drug screen.” The complaint further alleged that three weeks later, Smith “contacted PRN and admitted to a relapse on crack cocaine and agreed to be evaluated.”
February 2007, the Florida Board indefinitely suspended Smith’s medical license “based in part” on his admission of “having relapsed on crack cocaine” and “failure to submit to a urine screen while under contract with the Board’s impaired physicians’ program.”
February 2007, the Florida Board of Medicine issued a Final Order adopting a settlement agreement which Smith had entered into with the State on the 2005 case above. The 2005 agreement did contain a suspension of his license.
June 2007, the Florida Board reinstated Smith’s medical license. It is almost impossible that the Florida Board to would reinstate his license without a favorable report from Smith’s own psychiatrist within the PRN.
January 31, 2008, Smith submitted another application to renew his DEA registration. This time, however, Smith answered “yes” to the question: “Has the applicant ever surrendered (for cause) or had a state professional license or controlled substance registration revoked, suspended, denied, restricted, or placed on probation, or is any such action pending?” In the application’s block for explaining the “nature of incident” and the “result of incident,” Smith wrote “see attached.” he attached a copy of the Florida Board of Medicine’s June 2007 Order on Reinstatement and a letter to him from a Florida Department of Health Compliance Officer relating the minutes of a September 7, 2007 meeting of the Board’s Probation Committee. The letter related that the Committee had lifted the restriction on his prescribing authority. He did not, however, disclose the two Georgia proceedings or the 2003 Florida proceeding. And failed to disclose previous “surrenders” of his DEA registration.
April 2009, the Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration, initiated an action against Smith “on the grounds that he had materially falsified various applications for his DEA registration and had committed acts which render his registration inconsistent with the public interest.”
By law, his DEA registration remains valid until this case was settled and action to revoke it is approved. At that time he was completely free to prescribe controlled substances.
Dec 11, 2010 a female patient, “AT” was checked into the Central Florida Behavioral Hospital, operated by Universal Health Services, in Central Florida. Florida Department of Health records show she was complaining of “panic attacks”, was “depressed” and “complained of being overwhelmed by chronic pain”. Smith was now her doctor.
From the time she checked in “she continued to complain of pain and appeared depressed and withdrawn” and “exhibited drug seeking behavior”. Smith “did not consult with a pain management specialist” and prescribed the very addictive narcotic, Percocet and the addictive psychiatric sedative, Klonopin the day after she checked in.
Dec 14, 2010 Smith switched the Percocet to OxyCotin, another very addictive and powerful narcotic favored by addicts, at the dose of 20 milligrams two times a day and increased her Klonopin dosage by 33%. OxyCotin “may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” And both drugs are central nervous system depressants and when used together each can increase the effects of the other.
On December 16, 2010 Smith increased her OxyCotin dosage by 33% and left the Klonopin dosage the same.
On Dec 19, 2010 “hospital staff reported that patient AT appeared sedated”.
“When A.T. began to appear sedated, the standard of care was to withhold the OxyContin and Klonopin, obtain a toxicology report to check the level of drugs in the patient’s blood, and then closely observe the patient. Respiratory support should have been provided as needed.” Florida Department of Health records state he did none of these actions.
Instead, Smith again increased the OxyCotin dosage an additional 33% the next day, Dec 20, 2010.
On December 21, 2010 another doctor at the hospital “noted that the patient was overly sedated”
That day Smith decreased AT’s OxyCotin and Klonopin dosages by about half.
December 22, 2010, but it was too late. The following morning AT died after being found unresponsive.
August 2011, the culmination of what had begun in the DEA April 2009 case above, the Administrator for the DEA ordered Smith’s “DEA Certificate of Registration, be, and it hereby is, revoked. I further order that the pending application of Harold Edward Smith, M.D., to renew his registration, be, and it hereby is, denied. This Order is effective September 29, 2011″.
Jan 18, 2012, a medical malpractice lawsuit is filed against Smith and the hospital for the death of patient “AT”.
About 2013, Smith joins the faculty of and becomes an assistant professor at the University of Florida, Department of Psychiatry, in Gainesville. His is still listed as such as of this day of this writing. He is joined there by Professor Martha Brown, psychiatrist and Assistant Medical Director of the PRN and Judy Rivenbark, psychiatrist and past Medical Director and current Consultant of the PRN.
June 2013, The Florida Department of Health files their third administrative complaint against Smith alleging the actions on patient “AT” above. The hearing is set for next month. No mention in that complaint about the DEA’s case against him.