A long-time Gillette physician has now appealed the Wyoming Board of Medicine’s decision to suspend her permit.
After a three-year investigation along with also a closed hearing in July, the board suspended Dr. Rebecca Painter’s permit for five years.
The board found that Painter had acted improperly using a patient and the patient’s family by becoming involved with the patient’s financing and company. Over several years, Painter became buddies with her elderly patient, who requested Painter for help with personal matters, according to the board’s identification. The patient’s family thought Painter’s involvement with the patient was unethical and requested the board to investigate.
The board also decided that Painter didn’t follow protocol when she stopped providing medical care to the patient following the board started its own investigation.
Back in October, the board released a 275-page report outlining its findings.
In her appeal, Painter asserts the the board wasn’t enough to suspend her permit in July before publishing the report.
Painter goes to state that the report does not include enough proof to support her permit suspension. She also said the July hearing was prohibited because she had been denied her right to due process and since only two of six board members attended the hearing, which had been the foundation for her suspension.
Her allure goes on to contest the contents of the board report.
Investigators examined four regions where Painter may have acted improperly: with her patient, with her patient’s household, through unnecessary medical care and obligations and in erroneously ending her medical connection with the patient.
In research unnecessary health care services and dubious payments, researchers found some evidence for the breach but didn’t include it among the explanations for sanctioning Painter.
Painter’s appeal stated by mentioning the breach in one section of the report, but not fixing it in the list of sanctions, it is unclear whether the breach hauled to the board’s final disciplinary decision.
Painter maintains that the board’s job is to conserve the Medical Practice Act, and because researchers looked to and educated her for activities unrelated to that action, they acted outside their authorized purview.
The report contained testimony from two experts on whether Painter acted unethically supporting the patient by doing things such as estate planning and hiring ranch employees for her. The experts contradicted each other, and the board found the testimony of this expert who stated Painter acted unethically to be persuasive.
In her appeal, Painter said the legal standard the board was used to assess the 2 experts wasn’t applicable to the subject of health ethics, and therefore, with their testimony to make decisions regarding her behavior was prohibited, according to court documents. She also said the expert testimony addressed criteria beyond what is set out in the board’s policies, forcing her to adhere to moral requirements she hadn’t known existed.
To explain its findings, the committee summarized a few areas where Painter allegedly acted improperly toward her patient, among which had been through sexual misconduct.
Painter competitions the sexual misconduct locating since the Board’s definition of sexual misconduct which is “too broad” in that it does not need sexual contact, according to court documents. Further, Painter stated she was convicted of sexual misconduct.
Along with a permit suspension, Painter must attend a couple of courses, pay a $15,000 fine and cover $78,526 half of the board’s investigation expenses, by the end of January. She stated the demand that she cover the expenses of the investigation is prohibited, according to court documents.
Painter filed the case against both board researchers, as well as the whole Board of Medicine. The board’s attorney recently filed a motion for District Judge Thomas Rumpke to dismiss the board as part of their allure. The board also requested that a large part of the board’s records of its proceedings with Painter be private.
Rumpke will deal with the motions at a hearing March 26.
Formerly, the state Board of Medicine put sanctions on Painter from 1999, but those sanctions were ignored following Painter filed a petition with the court, according to court documents.