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Hoover v. The Agency for Health Care Administration

676 So.2d 1380 (1996)

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Hoover v. The Agency for Health Care Administration

District Court of Appeal of Florida

676 So.2d 1380 (1996)

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Facts

The Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) (plaintiff) filed an administrative complaint against Hoover, an internal medicine physician, to the state’s Board of Medicine (Board) alleging that she prescribed controlled substances and for providing treatment below the standard of care. At the hearing, the Agency offered two physicians to provide expert testimony that Hoover had prescribed possible lethal amounts of narcotics and had practiced below the standard of care. Neither had chronic pain expertise nor had examined any of Hoover’s patients or reviewed their medical records. Their testimony was based solely on pharmacy printouts. Hoover testified in detail about the condition, diagnosis, and treatment plan for each of her seven patients involved in the suit as well as alternative modalities considered. Another physician provided similar expert testimony on her behalf regarding the appropriateness of the care she provided. The hearing officer found that the Agency had failed to meet its burden of proof on all charges relating to Hoover’s patients. The officer also noted in her findings that the only available federal guidelines relevant in this situation dealt with physicians using controlled substances to treat pain in cancer patients. None of Hoover’s patients had cancer. The Agency filed exceptions to the hearing officer’s findings of fact and conclusions of law for five of the seven patients to the Board. Despite the hearing officer’s findings that Hoover acted appropriately in each of the five patients’ cases, the Board amended the order with the Agency’s suggestions. As a result, Hoover was assessed a reprimand, a $4,000 administrative fine, continuing medical education on prescribing abusable drugs, and two years probation. Hoover appealed to the district court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Jorgenson, J.)

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