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Board acts against Minn. physicians over narcotic prescriptions

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER
  • Star Tribune
  • July 17, 2009 - 7:28 AM

Two Minnesota doctors and a physician assistant were disciplined this month for inappropriately prescribing narcotics to patients, and a third doctor was reprimanded for forging prescriptions for himself, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice said Thursday.

The board issued reprimands to all four practitioners, and announced that a fifth had given up his medical license after allegedly touching a patient in a sexual manner.

Among the disciplinary actions:

• Dr. Kristine Hentges, 43, of Shakopee, was accused of inappropriately prescribing a controlled substance that contributed to the death of a patient in October 2006. A board investigation found that, in multiple cases, she "failed to meet the minimum acceptable standards of medical care," according to the board's report.

It also found that she prescribed "excessive quantities" of narcotics on multiple occasions, and failed to properly assess her patients or heed warnings that they were abusing drugs. Hentges accepted the reprimand as part of an agreement to end the investigation. She also was prohibited from prescribing controlled substances until she completes a series of courses, and was fined $4,994.

• Dr. Julie Krenik, 37, of Hutchinson, was disciplined after a board investigation found that she, too, failed to meet "acceptable minimum standards" of care, and prescribed excessive quantities of narcotics. According to a settlement agreement, she admitted mishandling narcotics prescriptions and failing to recognize signs of drug abuse in patients. In addition to the reprimand, she was ordered to take classes in chemical dependency, pain management and other practices, and pay $4,279 in fines.

• Dr. Thomas Lorenz, 57, of Brainerd, who has a history of chemical dependency, admitted signing another doctor's name to several narcotic prescriptions, and diverting narcotics to his own use, according to a board investigation. Lorenz entered chemical-dependency treatment in December, the report said. As part of the settlement agreement, he may continue practicing under a state program that monitors impaired physicians, and must pay $1,914 in fines.

• Mark Shoemaker, 58, a physician assistant in Ramsey, was reprimanded after a board investigation found that he failed to properly prescribe narcotics or evaluate patients medically. He was ordered to take courses in chronic pain, chemical dependency and other medical issues, and may continue to practice in a group setting, according to a settlement agreement.

• Dr. Dennis Jacobson, 67, of Glencoe, voluntarily gave up his medical license after he was accused in January of touching a female patient in a sexual manner, using no gown, drape or gloves during a physical exam. The board said he resigned from his clinic in May as a result of a "substantiated case of inappropriate conduct with a patient."

The individual reports can be found online at www.tinyurl.com/lbhzu8.

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

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