The Richmond Register

Local News

February 27, 2011

Berea doctor’s medical license revoked

BEREA — The state Board of Medical Licensure in December revoked the license of a Berea physician who came to Kentucky and was licensed in 1994, despite a history of being disciplined by medical authorities in Colorado and serving time in federal prison for drug offenses.

Dr. Mary Margaret Miller had practiced family medicine in Berea for about 10 years before losing her license, according to members of the local medical community. Her last office was at 125 Clay Dr., near the intersection of Ellipse Street and Richmond Road.

Her license was revoked, according to board records, based on the findings of Paula York of the agency’s Drug Enforcement and Professional Practices Branch, who described Miller as a “‘generous’ prescriber of narcotics, benzodiazines and diet pills ….”

The investigation was launched after a pharmacist questioned Miller’s prescribing of narcotics, the revocation order states.

Miller failed to perform “due diligence in her evaluation compliance” and “did not take detailed past histories, social histories or history of drug abuse to assess risk of (patients’) drug abuse,” the investigator reported.

Miller’s patients at times were “over-sedated” and “sleeping all the time from massive doses of narcotics,” according to York. Even after observing those symptoms, Miller did not decrease the patients’ doses, the investigator stated.

The doctor should have performed drug-screening tests to patients for whom she prescribed narcotics, York told the board. In a June 28, 2010, letter to York, Miller wrote that “she has not needed to do ‘random urines’” to test her patients, a statement that York characterized as “at best naïve, given the rest of the red flags noted in the medical records.”

Pharmacists also reported that Miller had prescribed “toxic doses of Tylenol” in combination with vicodin and Percocet, York reported. The doctor also allowed “early refills and too-generous quantities” and suggested that patients “try others’ medicines (implicitly allowing ‘sharing’ of medicine), which is illegal.”

The order states the Kentucky board will not consider re-instating Miller’s license for two years, something the Colorado board did, even after Miller was convicted of federal drug offenses.

In 1984, Miller served 10 months in prison and four months in a halfway house and paid a $75,000 fine when she was convicted by a federal jury in Colorado for “illegal distribution of scheduled drugs.”

According to the Kentucky revocation order:

In December, 1986, Colorado’s board of licensure re-instated Miller’s medical license but required her to work under another doctor’s supervision and prohibited her from prescribing scheduled drugs.

In April, 1990, she completed a four-month voluntary commitment to a professional health program in Hampton, Va.

In September, 1990, Colorado revoked her medical license for “habitual intemperance.”

Even with that history, the Kentucky board in 1994 granted Miller a one-year limited license for “institutional practice” at the University of Louisville Medical School.

About 13 months later, Kentucky licensed Miller for a five-year probationary period, but stipulated she could prescribe controlled substances only with the signed approval of another physician.

That limitation on prescribing controlled substances was removed in September, 1997, but Miller was required to maintain a log of such prescriptions and allow review of it on request.

The investigation that led to revocation of Miller’s Kentucky medical license was begun in mid-March 2010.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@ richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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