A Winchester doctor can no longer prescribe controlled substances after reaching an agreement with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.
According to an Agreed Order of Indefinite Restriction, Dr. Richard Ostreich “failed to conform to acceptable and prevailing medical practices” when treating patients for chronic pain with controlled substances. Ostreich is a doctor at Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management, located on Rockwell Road.
Ostreich entered into the agreement with the Kentucky Board of Licensure Feb. 16, and the restriction is in place indefinitely, although Ostreich said he plans to pursue steps to have his privileges reinstated.
“I feel I¿did nothing wrong. I feel like it was a witch hunt,” Ostreich said of the state’s investigation during an interview Friday.
Ostreich came under suspicion in June 2011 after the Drug Enforcement and Professional Practices Branch of the Cabinet for Health Services received an anonymous complaint about Ostreich’s prescribing controlled substances, the order states. Consulting pharmacist Chris Johnson reviewed KASPER records for Ostreich’s patients from Jan. 1, 2010, through June 2, 2011. Johnson said 30 of those records warranted further investigation.
The Board of Licensure subpoenaed 24 patient charts — including 10 employees at Kentucky Bariatric.
The majority of the patients were less than 35 years old. The charts then were reviewed by a pain management specialist working as a board consultant.
The consultant, not named in the order, found “insufficient physical examinations and quantitative/qualitative analyses to support the medical necessity of ongoing treatment with narcotic medications.”
The order also states many patients admitted to going to other states to obtain pain medication.
The medical records showed that many times Ostreich prescribed medications on initial visits with the patients without any MRI evidence to document their complaints of physical pain, the consultant wrote.
He also said Ostreich, “demonstrated gross ignorance, gross negligence and/or incompetence when he prescribed controlled substances to Patient No. 2 when KASPER reports showed that Patient No. 2 had also obtained narcotics from another Kentucky clinic on multiple occasions.”
Patient image studies were limited, Ostreich said, because many of his patients cannot afford MRIs, or other tests, and cannot obtain proper medical care from other physicians.
“Whatever comes here from other parts of the state, that’s because of the fact that doctors from other parts of the state aren’t seeing patients, or medical care just isn’t available.”
The goal at Kentucky Bariatric, he said, is to taper patients off controlled substances. Ostreich also said many of his patients were taking controlled substances originally prescribed by other doctors.
Ostreich began practicing medicine in Kentucky in October 2010 at the Kentucky Bariatric and Pain Management clinic, after moving to Winchester from Utah. He previously worked as an OB/GYN, earning his medical license in 1984, but said he studied under an anesthesiologist to learn pain management.
“We are doing a legitimate practice here because the local physician isn’t treating them here. The other problem is the local pharmacies are deciding who they want to give medicine to or not. ... These are things that just are not right,” Ostreich said.
According to the order, Ostreich told the Board of Licensure most of his patients have been referred from other physicians who will not write prescriptions for pain medication, including patients from other counties and states.
“Why will they not treat their own patient if the patient has pain?” Ostreich said. “The doctor’s afraid of his own shadow.”
Rather than monitoring physicians, Ostreich said the state should pay more attention to individual patients.
“The minority ruins it for the majority. The majority of these patients are not trackers. The majority of these people have real problems,” Ostreich said.
Pharmacist Nevin Goebel, owner/operator of Clark County Pharmacy, said he will “only fill prescriptions that are for a legitimate medical need.” He and staff members use their professional medical judgment to decide whether or not to fill any prescription, not just controlled substances.
Pharmacists from CVS and Kroger were not allowed to comment on company policies.
According to Board of Licensure attorney Leanne Diakov, Ostreich is still licensed to practice medicine, and can write prescriptions for medications not considered controlled substances.
Kentucky Bariatric owner Josh Akers, who is not a physician, said Ostreich is still employed at the clinic, and will continue to treat patients.