Arizona reprimands psychiatrist Richard J. Schaeffer for prescribing and record keeping failures

October 21, 2008

The Arizona Medical Board reprimanded psychiatrist Richard J. Schaeffer, for “prescribing large amounts of controlled substances without performing an adequate history and mental status examination and monitoring; for failure to document discussion of risks and benefits of prescription medication; and for failure to maintain adequate records.” The Board found that Schaeffer treated one patient for over a year, on whom he failed to obtain an adequate substance abuse history or mental status examination and to whom he prescribed large amounts of medications, including controlled substances including Adderall, Valium, Seroquel and Klonopin. Schaeffer did not adequately document that he monitored or followed up with the patient while on the medications or that he discussed the side effects, risk and benefits of the medications prior to prescribing them. Schaeffer failed to respond to the patient’s wife on two occasions when she called to express concern over her husband’s potential domestic abuse and ongoing substance abuse. Following the Board’s investigational interview of Schaeffer, Board staff randomly selected three patient records from his office for review and found deviations in two of the records: Patient 1) Schaeffer prescribed a drug for a diagnosis of “ADHD,” the dose of which he later doubled without any indication; he prescribed brief trials of antipsychotic drugs such as Risperdal and Abilify with no noted change in his diagnosis or indication of why such drugs were added. He terminated the drugs and added or increased other drugs without any documentation of indication; Patient 2) Schaeffer prescribed Abilify and lithium to a patient diagnosed with “bipolar” but there was no mention in his notes about the lithium; Schaeffer initially failed to order laboratory tests, such as blood count, metabolic panel, etc. before prescribing lithium; failed to coordinate with the patient’s primary care physician and failed to obtain follow-up lithium levels. He was placed on probation for one year with terms and conditions.

(Consent Agreement, In the Matter of Richard J. Schaeffer, M.D., License No. 4736, Case No. MD-07-0541A, October 21, 2008.)


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