Psychiatrist John Sappington Surrenders License; Numerous Complaints of Negligent Prescribing

April 19, 2019

On February 13 2019, Rhode Island psychiatrist John J. Sappington surrendered his medical license to the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure & Discipline (BMLD).

According to the BMLD’s document, Dr. Sappington was found to have engaged in “incompetent, negligent, or willful misconduct in the practice of medicine, which includes the rendering of medically unnecessary services, and any departure from, or the failure to conform to, the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice in his or her area of expertise…” due to the following:

  • Failure to provide patient education and/or obtain informed consent relative to the prescribing of controlled substances, particularly opioids
  • Failure to review the Prescription Drug Monitor Program (PDMP) prior to prescribing patients opioids 
  • Failure to obtain or create patient treatment agreements, relative to opioid use and the registration of controlled substances
  • Failure to conform to requirements per state law regarding the prescribing of long-acting opioids, including methadone

This disciplinary action was the result of BMLD’s investigation of complaints against Dr. Sappington which it received from three physicians, an emergency room nurse, a pharmacist, a Board of Pharmacy investigator, and the state Behavioral Healthcare Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals Quality Assurance Unit, relative to his prescribing practice. 

Fourteen percent of criminal convictions of psychiatrists and psychologist are for drug-related violations.

Source: Surrender of License in the Matter of John Sappington, M.D., License Number MD 09034, Case #181211, 181096, 181119, 181463, 181194, 181210, 181195, and 181197, State of Rhode Island Dept. of Health Board of Medical Licensure & Discipline, February 13, 2019.


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