Keith DeOrio, M.D., Accused
of Unprofessional Conduct

Stephen Barrett, M.D.


Keith DeOrio, M.D., who practiced "alternative medicine" in Santa Monica, California, is facing charges of unprofessional conduct for refusing to provide patient records requested by the Medical Board of California. The accusation (shown below) states:

The board is seeking to suspend or revoke DeOrio's license and fine him $30,000 for refusing to supply the records. In 2013, the DeOrio Wellness Medical Center Web site offered a "comprehensive holistic evaluation and treatment program" that included "specialized laboratory testing," Oriental pulse and tongue diagnosis; homeopathic interview and treatment; acupuncture; nutrition and diet consultation; "structural and biomechanical integration"; "emotion and spiritual counseling"; and "infra-red sauna baths combined with IV vitamin therapy for the newest, safest and most effective detoxification program available." The site was taken down in 2014, and DeOrio's clinic appears to be closed.


KAMALA D. HARRIS
Attorney General of California
JUDITH T. ALVARADO
Supervising Deputy Attorney General
CHRISTINE R. FRIAR
Deputy Attorney General
State Bar No. 228421
California Department of Justice
300 So. Spring Street, Suite 1702
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Telephone: (213) 897-6404
Facsimile: (213) 897-9395
Attorneys for Complainant

BEFORE THE
MEDICAL BOARD OF CALIFORNIA
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE OF CALIFORNIA


In the Matter of the Accusation Against:

KEITH ROBERT DEORIO, M.D.
1821 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100
Santa Monica, CA 90403

Physician's and Surgeon's Certificate
No. G74544,

Respondent.


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Case No. 17-2013-234390

ACCUSATION

 

Filed July 8, 2016

 

 

Complainant alleges:

PARTIES

1. Kimberly Kirchmeyer (Complainant) brings this Accusation solely in her official capacity as the Executive Director of the Medical Board of California, Department of Consumer Affairs (Board).

2. On or about July 7, 1992, the Board issued Physician's and Surgeon's Certificate Number G 74544 to Keith Robert DeOrio, M.D. (Respondent). Respondent's certificate expired on April 30, 2014, and is in delinquent status, however pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 494.5 the certificate is also in suspended status. Specifically, on September 3, 2013 the Board issued a suspension notice to Respondent pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 494.5 based on Respondent's delinquent unpaid taxes. On March 4, 2014 another suspension notice was issued to Respondent pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 494.5.

JURISDICTION

3. This Accusation is brought before the Board, under the authority of the following laws. All section references are to the Business and Professions Code unless otherwise indicated.

4. Section 2234 of the Code, states:

'The board shall take action against any licensee who is charged with unprofessional conduct. In addition to other provisions of this article, unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:

"(a) Violating or attempting to violate, directly or indirectly, assisting in or abetting the violation of, or conspiring to violate any provision of this chapter.

"

"(h) The repeated failure by a certificate holder, in the absence of good cause, to attend and participate in an interview by the board. This subdivision shall only apply to a certificate holder who is the subject of an investigation by the board."

5. Section 2225.5 of the Code states:

"(a) (1) A licensee who fails or refuses to comply with a request for the certified medical records of a patient, that is accompanied by that patient's written authorization for release of records to the board, within 15 days of receiving the request and authorization, shall pay to the board a civil penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per day for each day that the documents have not been produced after the 15th day, up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000), unless the licensee is unable to provide the documents within this time period for good cause.

"

"(e) Imposition of the civil penalties authorized by this section shall be in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (Chapter 5 ( commencing with Section 11500) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

"(f) For purposes of this section, "certified medical records" means a copy of the patient's medical records authenticated by the licensee or health care facility, as appropriate, on a form prescribed by the board.

"(g) For purposes of this section, a 'health care facility' means a clinic or health facility licensed or exempt from licensure pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Health and Safety Code."

FIRST CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

(Unprofessional Conduct - Repeated Failure to Participate in an Interview with the Board)

6. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action under Code section 2234, subdivisions (a) and (h), in that the Respondent failed, in the absence of good cause, and, in fact, refuses to attend and participate in an interview with the Board, despite being the subject of an investigation by the Board. The circumstances are as follows:

7. Respondent is the holder of Physician's and Surgeon's Certificate Number G 74544 and was at all times relevant to the allegations herein.

8. On or about August 12, 2013, the Board received a complaint against Respondent from the husband of one of Respondent's patients, M.B.1 The complaint alleged that Respondent committed unprofessional conduct in his care and treatment of M.B. and that Respondent may be mentally impaired. Included with the complaint was a signed Authorization for Release of Medical Information from patient M.B. for her medical records as maintained by Respondent.

1Initials are used for the patients in this proceeding in order to protect their privacy.

9. In response to the complaint against Respondent, the Board opened an investigation into the care and treatment Respondent provided to M.B.

10. On or about September 27, 2013, the Board received another complaint against Respondent. Respondent's patient M.M. alleged that Respondent provided her with substandard care, exploited her financially by selling her expensive non-FDA approved medical devices, committed unprofessional conduct and failed to maintain adequate records of her care and treatment. Patient M.M. also alleged, like patient M.B.'s husband, that Respondent may be mentally impaired. Patient M.M. likewise included with her complaint a signed Authorization for Release of Medical Information for her medical records as maintained Respondent.

11. The investigation into the allegations asserted by M.M. was consolidated with the already open investigation into Respondent's case and treatment of M.B.

12. As part of its investigation into the allegations against the Respondent, the Board conducted an undercover operation. C.A., an undercover investigator with the Board, sought care and treatment from Respondent and was treated by him twice as a patient.

13. On or about July 7, 2015, an investigator for the Board sent a letter to Respondent via certified and regular mail at his address of record informing Respondent that he was scheduled to be interviewed by the Board on September 22, 2015 at the Division of Investigation, Health Quality Investigation Unit, Glendale Field Office, located in Glendale, California. The letter further informed Respondent that the purpose of the interview was to discuss his care and treatment of patients M.B., M.M. and C.A.

14. Both the certified letter and that mailed via regular mail were returned to the Board's investigator from the U.S. Postal Office as unable to be forwarded.

15. On or about August 3, 2015, the Board's investigator spoke to an attorney for Respondent. The investigator then emailed the attorney a copy of the letter he had sent Respondent regarding the interview. The attorney later contacted the investigator to inform him that he would not be representing Respondent.

16. On August 6, 2015, the investigator received a letter from another attorney for Respondent. The letter stated that Respondent declined to participate in the interview with the Board scheduled for September 22, 2015. The letter further stated that Respondent was invoking his right under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution not to speak with any investigator from the Board.

17. Respondent's conduct, as set forth in paragraphs 7 through 16, inclusive above, constitutes unprofessional conduct pursuant to Code section 2234, subdivisions (a) and (h), in that Respondent failed, in the absence of good cause, and, in fact, refuses to attend and participate in an interview with the Board, despite being the subject of an investigation by the Board. As such, cause for discipline exists.

SECOND CAUSE FOR DISCIPLINE

(Unprofessional Conduct - Refusal to Comply with Request for Patient Records)

18. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action under Code sections 2234, subdivision (a), and 2225.5, subdivision (a)(l), in that Respondent failed and refuses to comply with the Board's requests for the certified medical records of patients M.B., M.M. and C.A. The circumstances are as follows:

19. On or about December 22, 2015, the investigator assigned to Respondent's case mailed a letter requesting the certified medical records of patients M.M. and M.B. to Respondent at his address of record. Enclosed with the investigator's request was a written Authorization for Release of Medical Information signed by each patient.

20. On or about December 23, 2015, the investigator received a letter from Respondent's attorney requesting that all correspondence from the Board to Respondent be directed to Respondent's counsel.

21. Having received no response to her December 22, 2015 request for M.M.'s and M.B.' s medical records from Respondent or his attorney, on or about January 7, 2016, the investigator sent another letter to Respondent via certified mail, on which his attorney was copied, requesting the certified medical records of patients M.M. and M.B. Enclosed with the investigator's request was a written Authorization for Release of Medical Information signed by each patient.

22. On or about January 11, 2016, the investigator's December 22, 2015 letter requesting the certified medical records of patients M.M. and M.B., which was mailed to Respondent's address of record with the Board, was returned to sender as undeliverable.

23. On or about January 13, 2016, the investigator received the return receipt postcard from Respondent's attorney indicating that he was in receipt of the January 7, 2016 letter to Respondent requesting the certified medical records of patients M.M. and M .B.

24. On or about January 19, 2016, the investigator received a letter from Respondent's attorney stating that Respondent had directed his attorney to inform the investigator that Respondent will not comply with the investigator's request for patient M.M.'s and M.B.'s medical records pursuant to his rights under the Fifth Amendment and the United States Constitution.

25. On or about April 7, 2016, the investigator mailed via overnight delivery a letter to Respondent at his address of record and copying his attorney, requesting the certified medical records of patient C.A. Enclosed with the investigator's request was a written Authorization for Release of Medical Information signed by C.A.

26. On or about April 13, 2016, the investigator received a letter from Respondent's attorney stating that he had received the investigator's April 7, 2016 letter and that Respondent had directed his attorney to inform the investigator that Respondent will not comply with the investigator's request for patient C.A.'s medical records pursuant to his rights under the Fifth Amendment and the United States Constitution.

27. As of May 16, 2016, the investigator, and, therefore, the Board, has not received from Respondent, or his attorney, the certified medical records of patients M.M., M.B. and C.A.

28. Respondent's conduct, as set forth in paragraphs 19 through 27, inclusive above, constitutes unprofessional conduct pursuant to Code section 2234, subdivision (a), in that Respondent failed, in the absence of good cause, and, in fact, refuses to comply with the Board's requests for the certified medical records of patients M.M., M.B. and C.A. As such, cause for discipline exists.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, Complainant requests that a hearing be held on the matters herein alleged, and that following the hearing, the Medical Board of California issue a decision:

  1. Revoking or suspending Physician's and Surgeon's Certificate Number G 74544, issued to Keith Robert DeOrio, M.D.;
  2. Revoking, suspending or denying approval of Keith Robert DeOrio, M.D.'s authority to supervise physician assistants, pursuant to section 3527 of the Code;
  3. Ordering Keith Robert DeOrio, M.D. to pay the Board civil penalties in the amount of $30,000 for his failure and refusal to comply with the Board's requests for the certified medical records of patients M.M., M.B. and C.A.
  4. Ordering Keith Robert DeOrio, M.D., if placed on probation, to pay the Board the costs of probation monitoring; and
  5. Taking such other and further action as deemed necessary and proper.

DATED July 8, 2015

_____________________________
KIMBERLY KIRCHMEYER
Executive Director
Medical Board of California
Department of Consumer Affairs
State of California
Complainant

This page was posted on December 31, 2016.

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