Iowa psychiatrist Christopher Okiishi enters into agreement with medical board on prescribing, record keeping charges
December 20, 2012
Pursuant to a Board of Medicine investigation, 44-year-old Christopher G. Okiishi, M.D., was charged with violating the laws and rules governing the practice of medicine and engaging in unethical or unprofessional conduct. According to the board's public report, Okiishi provided psychiatric care to a patient in his home without maintaining proper medical records between 2004 and 2009; prescribed excessive medications, including Ritalin, to a psychiatric patient, including early refills, between 2007 and 2009; prescribed medications to his domestic partner without maintaining appropriate medical records between 2005 and 2009; prescribed antibiotics to his domestic partner's daughter without maintaining appropriate medical records in 2006; discussed a patient's psychiatric condition in the presence of his domestic partner between 2004 and 2010; and loaned money to a psychiatric patient for his automobile insurance and gasoline.
Responding to messages left at Meadowlark Psychiatric Services in North Liberty, Dr. Okiishi in a telephone interview Monday said the investigation was based on complaints made in 2009 and stemmed from one patient who he had been treating in his home.
"Between 2003 and 2009, I was seeing approximately 15 people out of my home who had no insurance and fell through cracks of county system, so I saw them for free. I never charge them anything," said Okiishi. " One individual began forging prescriptions to himself, a pharmacist noticed it was happening and called the Iowa Medical Board, which prompted the investigation. The state board discovered it was indeed happening, and there were some concerns that I didn't realize it was happening fast enough. Now, I am aware of an online prescription monitoring system online that tracks how frequently patients fill prescriptions"
Okiishi said with the prescription monitoring system in place, a patient's ability to forge prescriptions is "a far less likely event to occur"
Okiishi said the board's investigation included questions about his treatment practices, including whether or not he had ever prescribed medications without complete notations.
"I said yes, to family members when I prescribed antibiotics, for example, and didn't open a file on those individuals," said Okiishi. The doctor said he was also asked if he ever talked about a patient in front of others.
"When patients approach me out in the community, I usually tell them we can talk about it in the office, but if they are insistent on getting their questions answered, and we are in the presence of someone else, I've answered their questions," said Okiishi. "In this case, it was in front of my domestic partner. These questions were a routine part of the board's investigation, and I answered their questions truthfully"
Under the terms of the settlement agreement set forth by the Iowa Board of Medicine, Dr. Okiishi was issued a public reprimand and was ordered to pay a $5,000 civil penalty. The board also directed Okiishi to successfully complete a professional boundaries program, a medical record-keeping course, and a prescribing course. Failure to complete the orders would result in suspension of Okiishi's professional license.
"I understand the board's concerns, and they need to hold anyone who has the public trust to a very high standard," said Okiishi. "I want to make it clear; I know what patient confidentiality means and have never willingly divulged patient information without a patient requesting me to do so. If anyone has any questions or concerns about their care, I would be happy to talk to them, and I believe I can answer their questions satisfactorily"
Source: Lori Lindner, "The Iowa Board of Medicine last week released a statement and settlement of charges against a psychiatrist practicing in North Liberty," North Liberty Leader, November. 27, 2012.
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