Psychiatrist Surendra Chaganti faces board hearing on charges of patient that died, prescribing violations, etc.

April 5, 2011

A psychiatrist who is barred from practicing at several local hospitals faces a state discipline hearing starting today in St. Louis.

The hearing marks a rarity in Missouri, where the Board of Registration for the Healing Arts has to petition a state administrative court for permission to discipline a doctor. The board, which receives 1,000 complaints a year against doctors, seeks such discipline action about 15 times a year.

The Administrative Hearing Commission has set aside four days to hear the healing arts board's complaint against Dr. Surendra Chaganti, who the board says provided substandard care to a man who died at St. Anthony's Medical Center, ignored a pediatric patient and inappropriately prescribed psychiatric medicines at the hospital in 2001 and 2002.

The board also accuses Chaganti of altering patient medical records, failing to complete education courses and not disclosing his record in applying for hospital privileges. Chaganti's case was covered last year in a Post-Dispatch investigation into the state's lax and secretive system of doctor discipline.

Chaganti has denied the board's allegations.

St. Anthony's revoked Chaganti's practice privileges in 2003, and to settle a lawsuit agreed to keep him out of a national databank set up to alert other hospitals to problem doctors. When Chaganti tried to renew his privileges at DePaul Health Center in 2006, he did not list his previous hospital affiliations, according to the board's complaint.

DePaul officials learned of the St. Anthony's situation, and revoked his privileges there and at St. Mary's Health Center.

Chaganti now practices primarily at St. Alexius Hospital and owns the Loving Care Home residential facility in south St. Louis. If the commission finds cause to discipline Chaganti, the healing arts board can impose a penalty ranging from a public reprimand to a seven-year revocation of his license.

Source: Blythe Bernhard and Jeremy Kohler, "Local psychiatrist faces discipline hearing," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 5, 2011.


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