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Officials suspend physician's license

A physician who runs five urgent care clinics in the region -- including one in Grand Forks -- has had his medical license suspended for mishandling pain prescriptions, keeping insufficient patient records and other violations, according to a new...

A physician who runs five urgent care clinics in the region -- including one in Grand Forks -- has had his medical license suspended for mishandling pain prescriptions, keeping insufficient patient records and other violations, according to a news release issued Monday by the North Dakota State Board of Medical Examiners.

The board ruled Friday that the continued practice of medicine by Rodney J. Lee "would create a significant risk of serious and ongoing harm to the public while a disciplinary proceeding is pending, and that the immediate suspension of (Lee's) license is required..."

Alleged violations

An investigative panel alleges Lee accepted controlled substances returned by patients and kept those drugs in an unsecured desk drawer in his Fargo office. Proper records were not kept for those returned narcotics. Lee is said to have ordered an employee last month to put the drugs stowed in his desk in a Dumpster, the release states.

Such acts violate federal regulations and are considered unprofessional conduct, the release says.

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Other allegations include:

n Lee kept inadequate patient records, particularly for pain management patients who were prescribed controlled substances.

n Lee billed the North Dakota Medicaid program under his name and provider number for services completed by his physician assistants and nurse practitioners, causing him to receive more money than he was entitled.

n As the sole physician for five RapidCare clinics, Lee regularly signed and post-dated blank prescription pads, which he allowed his physician assistants to fill out. This violates the appropriate standard of care for prescribing controlled substances.

The board's release said Lee acknowledged his patient load is overwhelming and that his practice has been extended beyond reasonable control, particularly in regard to pain management.

The RapidCare clinic location on South Columbia Road in Grand Forks was open and was seeing patients Monday. A person who answered the phone at the clinic Monday declined to comment but said Lee would be releasing a statement to the news media at some point.

A message left for Lee at one of the two RapidCare locations in Fargo was not returned Monday afternoon.

Lee's other RapidCare clinics are located in Moorhead and Detroit Lakes, Minn.

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The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported some patients who went to a Fargo clinic Monday were given a letter saying the board revoked Lee's license "without regard to your immediate medical needs. Their decision is related to your chronic pain. You have a right to pain management, but we do not know who can help you right now."

Duane Houdek, the medical licensing board's executive secretary, said the board plans to hear Lee's case Aug. 13. At that point, Lee can present an argument supporting the reinstatement of his license, Houdek said.

Herald Staff Writer Ryan Schuster contributed to this report. Reach Ingersoll at (701) 780-1269; (800) 477-6572, ext. 269; or send e-mail to aingersoll@gfherald.com .

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