Florida Revokes Medical License of
Kenneth Woliner, M.D.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.


In 2016, the Florida Medical Board revoked the medical license of Kenneth Woliner, M.D., who operated the Holistic Family Medicine clinic in Boca Raton, Florida. The disciplinary action was triggered by his management of a young woman with Hodgkin's lymphoma who died in 2013. The second amended complaint (shown below) alleged that he:

In April 2016, following a hearing, an administrative law judge recommended that Woliner's license be revoked and that he pay a fine of $16,000 plus costs and repay $2,990 to the estate of the deceased woman. In November 2016, the board voted to follow this recommendation.

In 2006, Woliner signed a consent agreement to settle charges that he had improperly diagnosed a patient with a thyroid disorder and treated him with excessive amounts of medication. Under the agreement, Woliner neither admitted or denied fault but agreed to (a) receive a Letter of Concern, (b) pay a $5,000 administrative fine plus ciosts of $4,400, (c) take a continuing education courses in record-keeping, diagnosis of thyroid disorders, and prescribing of abusable drugs, (d) perform 50 hours of community service.


STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, PETITIONER,

v.

KENNETH WOLINER, M.D.

RESPONDENT.

CASE NO. 2013-08450

SECOND AMENDED ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT

Petitioner Department of Health hereby files this Second Amended Administrative Complaint before the Board of Medicine against Respondent Kenneth Woliner, M.D., and in support thereof alleges:

1. Petitioner is the state agency charged with regulating the practice of medicine pursuant to Section 20.43, Florida 5tatutes; Chapter 456, Florida 5tatutes; and Chapter 458, Florida Statutes.

2. At all times material to this Complaint, Respondent was a licensed physician within the state of Florida, having been issued license number ME 80412.

3. Respondent's address of record is 9325 Glades Road, #104, Boca Raton, Florida 33434.

4. Respondent is board certified by the American Board of Family Practice.

5. At all times material to this Complaint, Respondent worked at Holistic Family Medicine, L.L.C., located in Boca Raton, Florida.

6. At all times material to this Complaint, Respondent did not accept any insurance for his services at Holistic Family Medicine, L.L.C.

7. On or about February 3, 2011, SS, a 24 year-old female, was diagnosed with peripheral t-cell lymphoma1 by the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine (UM Miller).

1Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system.

8. On or about March 17, 2011, SS presented to Respondent at Holistic Family Medicine for evaluation and treatment.

9. This visit was categorized as "new patient, level 5." Respondent charged SS $525 for this appointment.

10. In or about and between March 2011, and February 2013, SS continued to receive treatment from Respondent.

11. Each subsequent visit was categorized as "established patient, level 4 or 5." Respondent charged SS $200 to $400 for each visit. Respondent also charged SS for extra time during appointments, as well as for various blood draws.

12. Respondent failed to create or maintain legible medical records for appointments with SS, including documentation of adequate medical justification for the diagnoses given and/or treatment provided during these appointments.

13. During the course of treatment, Respondent established a primary care physician relationship with SS, such that Respondent was able to influence SS regarding her medical treatment decisions.

14. Respondent knew, or should have known, that SS was diagnosed with peripheral t-cell lymphoma at the time she began receiving treatment from Respondent.

15. On or about February 27, 2011, SS presented to Moffitt Cancer Center (Moffitt) for a second opinion of the diagnosis she received from UM Miller.

16. On or about April 8, 2011, Moffitt changed SS's diagnosis to Hodgkin's lymphoma2

2Hodgkin's lymphoma is a variation of lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.

17. The diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma was confirmed by the Mayo Clinic on or about June 22, 2011.

18. Respondent knew, or should have known, that SS's diagnosis changed from peripheral t-cell lymphoma to Hodgkin's lymphoma.

19. Respondent failed to timely refer SS to an oncologist or hematologist for the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

20. If SS refused to receive appropriate treatment for her Hodgkin's lymphoma, Respondent should have educated or counseled SS about the risks, including death, of not treating Hodgkin's lymphoma.

21. Respondent failed to appropriately educate or counsel, or document educating or counseling, SS about the risks, including death, of not treating Hodgkin's lymphoma.

22. Respondent did not believe that SS had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

23. Respondent acted in the role of an oncologist by dismissing the existing diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

24. Respondent knew, or should have known, that he did not have the appropriate training, education, and/or experience to be able to competently act in the role of an oncologist.

25. Respondent attributed SS's symptoms to causes other than Hodgkin's lymphoma.

26. Respondent treated SS's symptoms with iron shots, diuretics and other inappropriate remedies.

27. Respondent knew, or should have known, that Hodgkin's lymphoma was the source of SS's symptoms and that Hodgkin's lymphoma could not be treated with iron shots, diuretics, or other inappropriate remedies.

28. Despite knowing that SS had Hodgkin's lymphoma, Respondent continued to request unnecessary follow-up appointments, order lab work, and prescribe medication and treatment plans, all in the purported attempt to "correctly" diagnose SS.

29. Respondent received financial gain from the above-mentioned actions.

30. On February 9, 2013, SS presented to the Palms West Emergency Room.

31. SS died on February 10, 2013.

32. On February 13, 2013, an autopsy was performed. The cause of SS's death was reported as "complications of untreated Hodgkin's lymphoma."

COUNT ONE

33. Petitioner re-alleges and incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 32, as if fully set forth herein.

34. Section 458.331(l){t)1, Florida Statutes (2010-2012), subjects a physician to discipline for committing medical malpractice as defined in Section 456.50. 5ection 456.50(1)(g), Florida Statutes (2010-2012), defines medical malpractice as the failure to practice medicine in accordance with the level of care, skill, and treatment recognized in general law related to health care licensure. 5ection 766.102, Florida 5tatutes (2010-2012), provides that the prevailing standard of care for a given healthcare provider shall be that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.

35. Respondent fell below the minimum standard of care in his treatment of SS In one or more of the following ways:

a. By failing to timely refer SS to an oncologist or hematologist for treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma;

b. By failing to educate and/or counsel SS on the risks, including death, of not treating Hodgkin's lymphoma;

c. By attributing SS's symptoms to causes other than Hodgkin's lymphoma; and/or

d. By failing to appropriately treat SS's underlying illness.

36. Based on the foregoing, Respondent violated 5ection 458.331(1)(t), Florida Statutes (2010-2012).

COUNT TWO

37. Petitioner re-alleges and incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 32, as if fully set forth herein.

38. 5ection 458.33l(l)(m), Florida Statutes (2010-2012), subjects a physician to discipline for falling to keep legible, as defined by department rule in consultation with the board, medical records that identify the licensed physician or the physician extender and supervising physician by name and professional title who is or are responsible for rendering, ordering, supervising, or billing for each diagnostic or treatment procedure and that justify the course of treatment of the patient, including, but not limited to, patient histories; examination results; test results; records of drugs prescribed, dispensed, or administered; and reports of consultations and hospitalizations.

39. Respondent failed to keep legible medical records for the treatment of SS in one or more of the following ways:

a. By failing to create or maintain written medical records including adequate medical justification for the diagnoses he made and/or treatment he provided during appointments with SS;

b. By failing to create or maintain documentation of educating or counseling SS about the risks, including death, of not treating Hodgkin's lymphoma; and/or

c. By failing to create or maintain records documenting a timely referral to an oncologist or hematologist for specialized treatment of SS's cancer.

40. Based on the foregoing, Respondent violated 5ection 458.331( l)(m), Florida 5tatutes (2010-2012).

COUNT THREE

41. Petitioner re-alleges and incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 32, as if fully set forth herein.

42. Section 458.331(1)(n), Florida Statutes (2010-2012), subjects a physician to disciple for exercising influence on the patient or client in such a manner as to exploit the patient or client for financial gain of the licensee or of a third party, which shall include, but not be limited to, the promoting or selling of services, goods, appliances, or drugs.

43. Respondent exercised influence on SS in such a manner as to exploit SS for financial gain by continuing to request follow-up appointments, order lab work, and prescribe medication and treatment plans, from which he financially benefited, all in the purported attempt to "correctly" diagnose SS, when SS had an existing diagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma.

44. Based on the foregoing, Respondent violated 5ection 458.331(1)(n), Florida 5tatute (2010-2012).

COUNT FOUR

45. Petitioner re-alleges and incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 32, as if fully set forth herein.

46. Section 456.072(1)(0), Florida 5tatutes (2010-2012), subjects a physician to discipline for practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities the licensee knows, or has reason to know, the licensee is not competent to perform.

47. Respondent acted in the role of an oncologist without the experience, education, and/or training needed to competently act in this role, and knew, or had reason to know, he was not competent to act as an oncologist.

48. Based on the foregoing, Respondent violated 5ectlon 456.072(1)(0), Florida 5tatutes (2010-2012).

WHEREFORE, the Petitioner respectfully requests that the Board of Medicine enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties: permanent revocation or suspension of Respondent's license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fine, issuance of a reprimand, placement of the Respondent on probation, corrective action, refund of fees billed or collected, remedial education and/or any other relief that the Board deems appropriate.

SIGNED this 24th day of April, 2015.

John H. Armstrong, MD, FACS, FCCP
State Surgeon General & Secretary
of Health, State of Florida

________________________
Kristen Summers, Esq.
Assistant General Counsel
Fla. Bar No. 112206
Florida Department of Health
Office of the General Counsel
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin C-65
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3265
Telephone: (850) 245-4444 ext. 8136

NOTICE OF RIGHTS

Respondent has the right to request a hearing to be conducted in accordance with Section 120.569 and 120.57, Florida Statutes, to be represented by counsel or other qualified representative, to present evidence and argument, to call and cross-examine witnesses and to have subpoena and subpoena duces tecum issued on his or her behalf if a hearing is requested.

NOTICE REGARDING ASSESSMENT OF COSTS

Respondent is placed on notice that Petitioner has incurred costs related to the investigation and prosecution of this matter. Pursuant to Section 456.072( 4), Florida Statutes, the Board shall assess costs related to the investigation and prosecution of a disciplinary matter, which may include attorney hours and costs, on the Respondent in addition to any other discipline imposed.

This page was posted on December 23, 2016.

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