Psychiatrist John Savino under DEA investigation

March 13, 2009

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, acting on a federal search warrant, seized medical and patient records from psychiatrist John Savino’s Folkston, Georgia weight control clinic. This action comes approximately one year after Savino’s Georgia medical license was placed on five years probation for engaging "in a practice which fell below the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing practice," according to information published on the Georgia Board of Medical Examiners' Web site. The Board had charged Savino with prescribing appetite suppressants between 1998 and 2005 to people with weight problems without routinely keeping track of their overall medical records, including documentation of the patients' vital signs and weight. The Board alleged that Savino prescribed to at least three patients a suppressant that can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, yet did not properly monitor the pressure or rate. The patients' blood pressure, as recorded in their records, remained the "exact" same month after month for at least a year, leading the board to conclude that it was never checked, but "simply copied" from a previous visit. As a result of the DEA investigation in Georgia, Samaritan Medical Center, Savino’s Watertown employer, is reviewing his credentials.

(Brian Kelly, “Samaritan psychiatrist under review,” Watertown Daily Times, 13 March 2009.)


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