Oklahoma Pulls Pain Doctor’s License


SOUTHWEST TIMES RECORD NEWS
Fort Smith, Arkansas

By Jeff Arnold
479-785-7700
jarnold@swtimes.com

April 2, 2009



(ROLAND, OKLAHOMA) - A former Fort Smith physician who moved his practice to Roland in 2006 had his Oklahoma medical license revoked Tuesday amid allegations of improperly providing prescriptions and of sexual misconduct with a patient.

The Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision revoked Dr. Robert L. Kale’s license March 31, after finding him “guilty of unprofessional conduct” at a board hearing five days earlier, according to the final order of revocation.

Fort Smith attorney Chip Sexton, who represented Kale at the March 26 hearing, said he will seek a re-hearing before the board and if that is denied he will appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Sexton said the allegation of sexual misconduct wasn’t credible and the state failed to reveal, until four days after the hearing, that its expert was opening a pain management practice in Sallisaw, who “is trying to take over the practice” of Kale.

The board found that Kale engaged in “Indiscriminate or excessive prescribing”; dispensed or wrote prescriptions for narcotics without medical need; prescribed or administered drugs without sufficient examination; failed to maintain records that accurately reflected the evaluation, treatment and medical necessity of treatment; engaged in dishonorable or immoral conduct which is likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public; and engaged in physical conduct with a patient that was sexual in nature or verbal behavior that was seductive or sexually demeaning.

A woman testified at the March 26 hearing that Kale touched her breasts during an office visit in December 2007 and that in August 2008 he told her she could have sex with him in lieu of being charged for an office visit, according to the revocation order.

Sexton said Kale denies touching the woman’s breast, but admitted he made the comment attributed to him in August 2008, but only as a joke.

While the comment was inappropriate, Sexton said it did not rise to the level that Kale should lose his license.

Lyle Kelsey, executive director of the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision, said Kale was caught on audio tape making sexual comments to the woman when she wore a wire — at the request of the board during its investigation — during one of her office visits with Kale.

Kelsey said he has no knowledge of the state’s expert opening a practice in Sallisaw.

Sexton said he believes Kale will prevail on appeal.

While Kale fights to regain his medical license, he also faces a lawsuit in Sequoyah County District Court, filed by the woman who accused him of sexual misconduct.

Sallisaw attorney Dan George, who filed suit on the woman’s behalf in October, said she only came to him after filing a complaint against Kale with the medical board and cooperating with the board investigation.

George said the experience has been very hard on his client, who was already dealing with a significant medical issue before Kale complicated her life further.

Although Sexton represents Kale in attempting to regain his Oklahoma medical license, Kale is representing himself in the civil lawsuit.

Initially Kale’s medical malpractice policy holder hired a Springfield, Mo., law firm to defend the case, but in February, the firm asked to withdraw as Kale’s counsel, because his insurance policy didn’t cover sexual misconduct allegations.

The firm was allowed to withdraw as counsel, and Kale notified the court in a March 18 letter that he would represent himself until he could retain counsel.

Kale moved his practice to Roland after he was disciplined by the Arkansas Medical Board in 2003 while practicing in Fort Smith.

In 2002, the Arkansas Medical Board suspended Kale’s license in response to allegations of over-prescribing.

In 2003, the board restored Kale’s license after finding Kale did not over-prescribe, but did fail “to provide to his patients a coordinated disciplinary team of professionals, other than the physician, to include a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, an occupational therapist, or physical therapist and a rehabilitation nurse.”

Although his license was restored, the board required Kale submit to monitoring by board if he resumed his practice in Arkansas.

Kale appealed the decision all the way to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which denied his appeal in June 2006.

Kelsey said Oklahoma Medical Board will contact the Arkansas Medical Board concerning its revocation of Kale’s license to practice in Oklahoma, which could result in revocation of Kale’s Arkansas license, according to an employee of the Arkansas board.

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