California medical board placed psychiatrist Richard A. Hochberg on probation

April 29, 2011

On March 1, 2011, the Medical Board of California placed psychiatrist Richard A. Hochberg on probation for three years with terms and conditions. 

This action was the result of a complaint filed by the Board against Hochberg, alleging gross negligence in the treatment of five patients, for which he failed to justify/explain his reasoning behind changing his initial diagnoses of paranoid schizophrenia to schizoaffective disorder; the use the same drugs on all patients in a general manner, without specific indications; failure to differentiate or specifically tailor treatment to the patient; prescribed a off-label (for “memory loss”) a drug specifically meant for treating Alzheimer’s or dementia with Parkinson’s disease—without a differential diagnosis, exploration or explanation; prescribed atypical antipsychotics without proper documentation or justification; failure to monitor the side effects of the drugs by not carrying out appropriate blood work; incomplete and redundant, “boilerplate” documentation patient to patient. 

Further, Hochberg was disciplined by the Board in 2005 for similar failures, including diagnosing four patients---all in their mid-40s to early-50s—with Alzheimer’s disease and prescribing them the same drug—all cited by the Board as an “extreme departure from the standard of care.”

Source: Stipulated Settlement and Disciplinary Order in the Matter of the Accusation Against Richard A. Hochberg, M.D., Case Nos. 06-2005-129383, 06-2007-188425 & 06-2008-190448, OAH Nos. 2009120137 and L-2004060531, Medical Board of California.


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