A Montana doctor who has been fighting state regulators over his narcotic pain medication prescribing practices has thrown in the towel.
Dr. Mark Ibsen announced his will close down his emergency room practice in Helena, Montana effective immediately.
Ibsen has been battling the Montana Board of Medical Examiner for several years, and the intensity of that battle has increased in recent weeks.
Ibsen said Thursday he can no longer sustain the business. Saying the clinic has been rendered worthless, Ibsen plans on giving it away to another proprietor, with whom he is in negotiations.
Last month, the Board of Medical Examiners met to discuss potential sanctions against Ibsen for not meeting standards of care in his recordkeeping. The board rejected an order that would have placed Ibsen’s medical license on probation, but two board members said they wanted to suspend his license while the case is resolved.
“That was a very hostile meeting,” Ibsen said. “They pretty much promised to take my license.”
Montana native, Terri Lewis Ph.D. who is a critic of how medicine is both regulated and delivered in the United States thinks this could have been avoided.
“It is shameful when the resources of government are used to harm private citizens,” she said. “There was nothing about this that could not have been resolved and improved.”
The case against began in July 2013, when an investigation into allegations of over-prescribing painkillers began. The order followed four days of hearings last December spawned by allegations by a former employee of Ibsen. More than 20 witnesses testified.
Ibsen says the more than two years of hearings followed by the arduous waiting for word from the Board of Medical Examiners regarding allegations of improper recordkeeping have rendered him emotionally and financially exhausted. His current practice cannot be revived, he said.
“That uncertainty has been rotting the core of my business for years,” Ibsen said.
Because of bounced payroll checks and other issues, the clinic didn’t have enough staff Wednesday to open its doors.
“This is a ghost town here,” Ibsen said, gazing around one of his patient rooms.
The practice may open under new management after the first of the year.
“The operations of BOME’s are under scrutiny in a number of places including AZ and OK, as they should be,” Terri Lewis said. “They are simply a failed idea, fraught with conflict of interest.”