The Journal News (Westchester County, NY)
Hospital not told of license surrender
By Melissa Klein
May 17, 2002
CARMEL – When Dr. James Lincoln Duffy resigned as medical director of Putnam Hospital Center earlier this month, he told hospital officials he was leaving for personal reasons.
Duffy, who was known as “Linc,” did not say he had been under investigation by a state medical oversight board for misconduct and had agreed to surrender his medical license.
“We were completely unaware of this,” Marje Schneider, a hospital spokeswoman, said yesterday.
Schneider said hospital officials learned of the allegations against Duffy last week after the disciplinary action taken against him was posted on a state Health Department Web site and word about it began to circulate through the medical community.
“I do know these unfortunate actions bear no relationship on his work or his role at Putnam Hospital Center,” Schneider said.
Duffy, a psychiatrist, had been associated with the hospital since 1991 and had been medical director, a senior management position, since January 2001.
He had previously been director of mental health services at the hospital and, in that position, treated patients in the psychiatric unit. The only patients he would have treated at the hospital while he was medical director were those from his private practice, Schneider said.
The state Board for Professional Medical Conduct filed 18 allegations of misconduct against Duffy, including having sexual contact with a patient, divulging confidential information about patients, improperly prescribing medication and inappropriately accepting gifts from patients.
Duffy admitted to eight of the allegations, including the sexual relationship with a patient, and agreed to surrender his medical license. The state charged that he urged the patient to leave her husband – something Duffy did not admit to – and that the woman lived with him from 1995 to May 2001.
Kristine Smith, a Health Department spokeswoman, said information on when the state investigation began against Duffy was unavailable because it was not in the public record compiled on the doctor.
Smith said investigations typically take six months to a year to complete.
Duffy practiced at an office in Carmel and at SLS Health, a counseling center, in Brewster.
The doctor listed his address as Somers. No phone listing is available for him.
Schneider said a Putnam Hospital search committee was looking for a new medical director.
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