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Denver And Pueblo Psychiatrists Disciplined By Medical Board For Unprofessional Conduct

Two Colorado psychiatrists had their licenses put on five years’ probation by the Colorado Medical Board for unprofessional conduct under the state Medical Practice Act.

The disciplinary action taken against psychiatrist Thomas William Starkey, Jr., of Denver, is the result of his violation of an earlier agreement with the Board.  After pleading guilty to driving under the influence, Starkey signed a July 2019 agreement with the Board to stop performing any act requiring a medical license, while the Board investigated and determined what further actions, if any, were warranted.

The Board then found that between July and October 2019, Starkey authorized his office staff to continue distributing pre-written prescriptions for medications to patients, in violation of his agreement with the Board.

In its Final Agency Order, dated January 27, the Board states that Starkey has a physical or mental condition that renders him “unable to perform a medical service with reasonable skill and with safety to patients in the absence of treatment monitoring” and that he “habitually or excessively used or abused alcohol, a habit-forming drug, or a controlled substance.”

In addition to five years’ probation, the Board ordered Starkey’s abstinence from addictive substances, treatment as determined by the Colorado Physician Health Program, and compliance monitoring.

Starkey was previously disciplined with five years’ license probation in October 2010, after the Medical Board found that he crossed the boundaries of professional conduct with a female patient the same day he terminated treatment of her.  He completed that probation in 2015.

Psychiatrist Andi Kristine Woodbury, of Pueblo, was disciplined by the Medical Board, effective January 8, with a Letter of Admonition and five years’ license probation and treatment monitoring for violating a section of the Medical Practice Act concerned with failing to notify the Board of certain physical or mental conditions, or failing to practice within the limitations of those conditions with safety to patients, or failing to comply with limitations agreed to under any confidential agreement.

Woodbury’s specific act or omission that prompted the Board’s disciplinary action was not further detailed, but it follows the March 2020 voluntary surrender of her clinical privileges during an investigation of her professional competence and conduct at the medical facility at which she worked and a July 2020 evaluation by the Colorado Physician Health Program, which concluded she could practice safely if she received treatment and monitoring.

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News for Colorado You be the Judge...

Boulder Psychiatrist Put On Probation – His Third Disciplinary Action By A State Medical Board

The license of Boulder psychiatrist David K. Rosenthal has been put on probation and his practice will be monitored for five years under the terms of disciplinary action taken recently by the Colorado Medical Board.

In its Stipulation and Final Agency Order dated July 24, 2018, the Board found Rosenthal substituted telephone calls for several in-person appointments with a patient whose mental health symptoms and condition were too severe for it, and failed to meet with the patient regularly to ensure he was safely prescribing drugs to him.

This is the third public disciplinary action taken against Rosenthal by a state medical board, one of which led to the surrender of his California medical license.

According to Medical Board of California disciplinary documents, Rosenthal admitted that in 2000, he had sexual relations with a female patient who was seeking treatment from him after reportedly being sexually assaulted by her landlord.

Rosenthal was convicted in 2001 in Sacramento County Superior Court of misdemeanor sexual battery and sexual exploitation.  He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and three-year probation, during which time he was ordered not to treat females or minor children.  He was also ordered to get sexual abuse counseling and pay restitution to his victim.

Rosenthal subsequently surrendered his California medical license in 2002.

In April 2003, he applied to reactivate his Colorado medical license, which had been inactive since 1993.  In November 2003, the Colorado Medical Board granted him a restricted license to work only at correctional facilities because “the oversight inherent in the practice of medicine in the correctional system will adequately protect the public.”  He was also required to complete a course on maintaining personal boundaries.

In September 2004, Rosenthal requested that the restrictions be modified.  The Medical Board agreed in October 2004 to a five-year stipulation, limiting his license to patient evaluations and medication management.  He was required to disclose to his patients that he had been disciplined by the Board for sexual contact with a patient and that such contact is “inappropriate under any circumstances.”

He was also required to continue treatment as determined by the Colorado Physician Health Program, which monitored his practice and his treatment of patients, in particular “those patients who might trigger vulnerabilities leading to boundary violations” by Rosenthal.

The restrictions expired in October 2009.

In May 2016, Rosenthal was again disciplined with a letter of admonition from the Colorado Medical Board.  It found that in his treatment of a patient, he failed to consider alternative and more appropriate medications to treat the patient’s anxiety, failed to properly address the tapering of the patient’s Xanax, inappropriately prescribed Neurontin on an unsupervised basis (to help with Xanax withdrawal seizures), and failed to address the PTSD he had diagnosed in the patient.

The Board decided not to start formal proceedings against his license at that time.

Rosenthal’s current probation with practice monitoring extends to July 2023.

If you believe a psychiatrist or other mental health worker has engaged in unprofessional conduct, we want to talk with you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.