California psychologist Sheila Byrns surrenders her license to state board for negligence

September 5, 2008

Sheila Byrns, Ph.D. surrendered her license to the California Board of Psychology to resolve charges brought by the Board of gross negligence, repeated negligent acts and failure to maintain treatment records.  Specifically, the Board alleged that Byrns treated a patient over a two-year period during which she took no session notes and kept no treatment records.  The only written record that Byrns retained on the patient was a partial payment record and some notifications from Medicare.  Several years after the termination of the counselor-patient relationship, the patient contacted Byrns to acquire a copy of her treatment notes.  Byrns indicated that she would send the entire file.  When the patient received the file (over a month later), she found that it consisted of a list of electronic claims to Medicare for the patient but the list also included the names, social security numbers and other identifying data of some of Byrns’ other patients and other similar data, including letters from Medicare which requested copies of the patient’s records for various dates.  The records themselves were not included.  The patient contacted Byrns two days later notifying her of her concern over the missing treatment notes and mistakenly-included data for other patients.  Byrns stated to patient that she had sent the entire file, did not address the fact of other patients’ data being in the file and advised the patient that if she was not satisfied with the materials, she could return them.  Byrns is required to reimburse the Board to cost of the investigation and enforcement in this matter ($5600.42) and may not seek reinstatement of her license for at least three years.


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