By Scott L. Miley
The Herald Bulletin
INDIANAPOLIS — The former medical director of the Madison County Community Health was valued by co-workers for his medical expertise, but some of those he supervised filled prescriptions that he had pre-signed, according to testimony Friday before the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.
Dr. Frank Campbell appeared before the licensing board Friday. The disciplinary hearing, which lasted more than four hours, was continued until Jan. 22, when Campbell is expected to provide the only testimony. He did not testify Friday.
Campbell’s license is suspended, and he was replaced as the health center’s medical director in October by Dr. Mukund Patel.
Generally, witnesses said Friday that they had respect for Campbell’s medical knowledge. But some, called by deputy state attorney Renee Gallagher, questioned the center’s operations. Anthony J. Malone is the CEO of the center, 1547 Ohio Ave., which serves uninsured and under-insured people in the area.
In testimony, former health center pharmacist Amy Sheller said she became concerned about the number of prescriptions being written at the center for hydrocodone, a narcotic used to reduce pain. Prescriptions grew from 20 a day when she started in August 2011 to between 100 and 150 by the end of that year, she said.
At one health center meeting, Sheller said, she noted that the pharmacy was running out of hydrocodone. Sheller said Campbell indicated his concern by asking her about the number of tablets being used by the center.
When questioned by Campbell’s attorney, Thomas Ruge, Sheller characterized Campbell as professional and truthful.
Now working in Noblesville, Sheller said she regretted working at the health center in Anderson. “It’s a career choice I wish I wouldn’t have made,” she told the licensing board.
A former physician’s assistant, Reagan Taylor, testified that she wrote prescriptions from pads pre-signed by Campbell. She and her husband, Matthew Taylor, who worked at the Elwood facility, moved to Anderson from Florida in late 2010.
She told the board she was unaware that Indiana law required prescriptions to be signed by the examining doctor on the day of a visit.
Virginia Maher, who came to the health center to administer a midwife program, said there was a “level of dysfunction” in the center’s leadership. She said, “The CEO made all the decisions whether he knew what was happening on our level or not.”
She said she referred to the health center as “Lorax station” because patients could come in and receive prescriptions for Lortab, a pain medication, and Xanax, a drug that treats anxiety. She said those two drugs were among the most prescribed at the center.
Sharon McNeany, a behavioral psychologist at the center, said Campbell was astute in knowing “what was going on medically” with patients.
“His medical knowledge has been invaluable in the growth of our department in providing behavioral services,” McNeany said.
In August, the Indiana Attorney General’s office filed a complaint against Campbell with the medical licensing board. The complaint followed a May 10, 2013, interview of Campbell by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration at the health center.
During the interview, Campbell reportedly admitted that he allowed physician assistants to write prescriptions for controlled substances using Campbell’s DEA permit and his Indiana Controlled Substance registration number. Campbell pre-signed the prescription pads for the assistants to use when he was not seeing patients, according to the complaint.
Campbell told the DEA he trusted the assistants’ judgment when it came to prescribing controlled substances.
Campbell surrendered his DEA permit to prescribe controlled substances during the May 10 interview. That, in turn, forced him to surrender his Indiana Controlled Substance registration.
Contact Scott L. Miley at email@example.com or 648-4230.