BOSTON (CBS) – The medical license of a New England psychiatrist with a lengthy history of disciplinary action has been immediately suspended, the WBZ I-Team has learned.
The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine took the rare action on Tuesday, calling Dr. Reinaldo de los Heros’ care an “immediate jeopardy to the health and physical safety of the public who might receive his medical services.”
According to spokesman Tim Terranova, the Board will have a hearing within the next 30 days to determine the psychiatrist’s punishment, which could include revocation of his license.
De los Heros was already under scrutiny by Maine’s licensing board. According to new documents the I-Team obtained, board members received evidence the psychiatrist prescribed pills to a patient he knew was in jail.
A jailhouse recording allegedly captured the communication, in which Dr. de los Heros acknowledged the prescription for the incarcerated patient was “early.”
On the same day of the jailhouse phone call, documents say Dr. de los Heros falsified his medical records to show the patient made a 25-minute office visit.
“Delaying imposition of a license suspension until holding a hearing would not adequately respond to this known risk,” the Board’s decision said.
In April of 2016, an I-Team investigation revealed how a New Hampshire woman’s death raised questions about the care she received from Dr. de los Heros.
Police found Kelly Deyo, a recovering heroin addict, dead inside her apartment in 2015.
She was surrounded by 19 empty pill bottles that had all been prescribed by de los Heros, who Deyo had started seeing only a month earlier at his Maine office.
The I-Team discovered a paper trail of troubling medical care connected to de los Heros.
Records show he was repeatedly disciplined or warned about his prescribing habits. He even lost his medical license in Massachusetts for several years after a felony conviction for Medicaid fraud in 1997.
Deyo’s mother, Elizabeth Marquis, filed a complaint with the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine after her daughter’s death.
However, despite the doctor’s history, the Board placed the psychiatrist on six months of supervised probation.
“What will it take for that doctor to lose his license?!” an emotional Marquis told WBZ.
The decision was also criticized by experts, who said it points to a trend of state medical boards protecting doctors more than the public.
De los Heros initially ignored an I-Team inquiry, but later defended his practice, saying the Board had found him fit to continue providing care to patients. He also called Deyo’s death a “tragic loss.”
A week after the I-Team report, de los Heros submitted the resignation of his medical license in Massachusetts. The doctor had not possessed an active license since allowing it to lapse in 2009.
Ryan Kath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.