Regulatory Action against Robert Jay Rowen, M.D.
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
In 1997, after pleading guilty to a federal felony charge of "corrupt endeavor to impede" an agent of the Internal Revenue service, Dr. Robert Rowen was sentenced to 10 months of probation that included 2 months in a halfway house and 8 months in home detention and was ordered to pay $10,003.91 in restitution and a $2,000 fine. According to a report in the Agricultural Law Digest, while practicing in Alaska, Rowen (a) set up a three-tiered "asset protection" trust in an attempt to avoid federal income tax, (b) did not file returns for 1992 through 1997, and (c) was not permitted to discharge his tax debt even though he filed for bankruptcy. [In re Rowen 2003-1 U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) ¶ 50,502 (Bank. Alaska 2003)]. In 1996, while the charges were pending, he applied for a license to practice medicine in the State of Washington. When the licensing commission challenged his application, he withdrew it, but the commission decided that "sufficient grounds" existed to deny his application. Rowen now practices in California.
STATE OF WASHINGTON
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
MEDICAL QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMISSION
In the Matter of the License Application to
ROBERT J. ROWEN, M.D.
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS
This matter comes before Health Law Judge Arthur DeBusschere, Presiding Officer for the Medical Quality Assurance Commission. Based on the record, the Presiding Officer, on designation by the Commission, now issues the following on the final order of default:
Section 1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
1.1 On January 26, 1998, the Commission issued a Statement of Charges alleging unprofessional conduct by Respondent. A Notice of Opportunity for Settlement and Hearing and Answer to Statement of Charges and Request for Settlement and Hearing was also issued at that time. On January 26, 1998, these documents were served at Respondent's last known address.
1.2 Respondent requested an adjudicative proceeding but failed to appear at the scheduled prehearing telephonic conference. The Department's motion for an order of default was granted and Prehearing Order No. #I : Order of Default was issued by the Presiding Officer on October 22, 1998. (Exhibit A).
1.3 The Department submitted the Declaration of Andrew Fitz, Assistant Attorney General with attached exhibits. (Exhibit B),
Section 2: FINDINGS OF FACT
2.1 Respondent applied for a license to practice as a physician and surgeon by the state of Washington in August 10, 1997.
2.2 On October 22, 1998, Prehearing Order No. #1: Order of Default was issued by the presiding officer. Respondent has not moved to vacate the order of default.
2.3 The Commission has no reason to believe that Respondent is in active military service.
2.4 On or about June 25, 1997, Applicant entered into a plea agreement with the US Department of Justice, pleading guilty to a violation of title 26 U.S.C., section 7212(a), Corrupt Endeavor to Impede. The elements of the violation included Applicant acting corruptly in endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue law. (Exhibit C)
2.5 Proposed sentencing terms and conditions include the filing of true and correct income tax returns and paying past due taxes for the years 1991 through to present; to reimburse the internal revenue agent involved all moneys lost due to Applicant's actions; to fully cooperate with the government regarding investigations into potential criminal violations by other individuals and/or entities; to pay various fines and assessments; to serve one year of probation and a split sentence of ten (10) months with five (5) months in jail and five (5) months in home or community confinement
2.6 The actual sentence imposed upon Applicant is pending.
2.7 On January 26, 1998, Robert J. Rowen, M.D., was served with a copy of the Statement of Charges, Notice of Opportunity for Settlement and Formal Hearing, Answer to Statement of Charges and Request for Settlement and Hearing, alleging a violation of section (1) and (17) of RCW 18.130.180, of the Uniform Disciplinary Act. (Exhibit D).
2.8 The Statement of Charges and supporting documentation were mailed by certified mail to the Respondent's last known address on file with the Commission: 61 50 E. 82nd Avenue, Suite 300, Anchorage, Alaska 99158. (Exhibit E).
2.9 On or about February 02, 1998, the signed certified receipt was returned to the Department. The certified receipt was signed by Debra Lamagdelune. (Exhibit F).
2.10 On or about March 31, 1998, the Adjudicative Clerk's Office (ACO), filed a Notice of Failure to Respond advising Respondent that he had not responded to the Statement of Charges served on January 26, 1998. (Exhibit G).
2.11 On or about February 17, 1998, Respondent filed a request for a 40-day extension of time to answer the Statement of Charges in order to obtain transcripts from the Respondent's Federal District Court action. The Respondent was given until the close of business March 27, 1998, to file his Answer to Statement of Charges. (Exhibit H).
2.12 On or about April 7,1998, the Respondent filed a request for an additional 20-day extension of time to answer the Statement of Charges, because his attorney did not have access to his office or files. (Exhibit I).
2.13 On or about April 13,1998, the Respondent's second request for an extension of time was granted. The Respondent was given until the close of business April 24,1998, to file his Answer to Statement of Charges. (Exhibit J).
2.14 On October 4, 1998, Robert J. Rowen, M.D., withdrew his application for licensure in the state of Washington. (Exhibit K).
2.15 On October 5, 1998, Respondent failed to appear for a scheduled telephonic prehearing conference. (Exhibit L).
Section 3: CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
3.1 Respondent applied for a license to practice as a physician and surgeon by the state of Washington, and is subject to the provisions of chapter 246-919 WAC and Chapter 18.130 RCW.
3.2 Respondent failed to appear in this matter and an order of default was entered. Based on the Procedural History and the Findings of Fact, and pursuant to RCW 18.1 30.090(1) and RCW 34.05.440(2), the Commission may issue a dispositive order based on the evidence presented to it.
3.3 Based upon Findings of Fact 2.4 through 2.15, Respondent has engaged in unprofessional conduct in violation of RCW 18.130.180(1) and (1 7). The Commission determines that sufficient grounds exist to take disciplinary action against Respondent to deny his application for a license to practice as a physician in the state of Washington, pursuant to RCW 18.130.160.
3.4 Pursuant to RCW 18.130.050(8), the Commission has delegated to a Presiding Officer the authority to make the final decision in cases where the Respondent is in default.
Section 4: ORDER
Based on the foregoing Procedural History, Findings of Fact, and Conclusions of Law, the, Commission hereby makes the following ORDER:
4.1 The license request of the Respondent to practice as a physician in the state of Washington is DENIED. Pursuant to RCW 18.1 30.150, Respondent may not reapply for licensure for a period of three (3) years from the date this order is served.
Section 5: NOTICE TO PARTIES
As provided in RCW 34.05.461(3), 34.05.470, and WAC 246-1 1-580, either party may file a petition for reconsideration. The petition must be filed with the Adjudicative Clerk Office, and a copy sent to the Office of Professional Standards, 1107 Eastside Street, P.O. Box 47879, Olympia WA 98504-7872, within ten days of service of this Order.
The petition must state the specific grounds upon which reconsideration is requested and the relief requested. The petition for reconsideration shall not stay the effectiveness of this Order. The petition for reconsideration is deemed to have been denied 20 days after the petition is filed if the commission has not acted on the petition or served Written notice of the date by which action will be taken on the petition.
"Filing" means actual receipt of the document by the Adjudicative Clerk Office, RCW 34.05.010(6) and WAC 246-1 1-080. This Order was "served" upon you on the day it was deposited in the United States mail, RCW 34.05.010(18).
Proceedings for judicial review may be instituted by filing a petition in the Superior Court in accord with the procedures specified in chapter 34.05 RCW, Part V, Judicial Review and Civil Enforcement. The petition for judicial review must be filed within thirty (30) days after service of this Order, as provided by RCW 34.05.542(2).
DATED THIS 24 DAY OF MARCH, 1999.
STATE OF WASHINGTON
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
MEDICAL QUALITY ASSURANCE COMMISSION
ARTHUR E. DEBUSSCHERE, Health Law Judge
This page was revised on January 18. 2004.