In 1999, I was contacted by the daughters of a deceased man who had been treated for colon cancer with intravenous vitamin C, a Rife machine, ozonized terpenes, and other questionable methods by ophthalmologist Francis F. Hofmann, M.D., of Austin, Texas. When the Texas Medical Board investigated, Hofmann said that after the patient’s death, his medical records had been inadvertently shredded outside his control and without his knowledge. The board determined that this violated its rule that records must be kept for at least seven years. Without admitting fault, Hofmann signed an agreed order (shown below) under which he was fined $1,000 and required to meet specified record-keeping standards in the future.
LICENSE NO. Gl918
IN THE MATTER OF
THE LICENSE OF
ROBERT FRANCIS HOFMANN, M.D.
TEXAS STATE BOARD
OF MEDICAL EXAMINERS
On this the 7th day of February, 2003, came to be heard before the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners (“the Board” or “the Texas Board”), duly in session the matter of the license of Robert F. Hofmann, M.D. (“Respondent”). Pursuant to a complaint filed at the State Office of Administrative Hearing against Respondent on August 29, 2002, Docket No. 503-02-4146, Respondent, with the assistance of counsel, Henry Novak, Esq., voluntary enters this agreed order to settle all allegations set forth and described in the complaint. Walter G. Mosher represented Board Staff.
The Board was represented at the Informal Settlement Conference/Show Compliance Proceeding by David Garza, D.O., a member of the Board, and Phyllis Strother, a member of the District Review Committee. Upon recommendation of the Board’s representatives and with the consent of Respondent, the Board makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law and enters this Order as set forth herein:
FlNDINGS OF FACT
1. The Board has jurisdiction over the subject matter and Respondent. Respondent received all. notice that may be required by law and by the rules of the Board. All jurisdictional requirements have been satisfied under TEX. OCC. CODE ANN. §§ 151.001-165.160 (Vernon 2002) (the “Act”). By entering into this Agreed Order, Respondent waives any defect in the notice and any further right to notice or hearing under the Act, TEX. GOV’T CODE ANN. §§ 2001.051-.054, and the Rules of the State Board of Medical Examiners (22 TEX. ADMIN. CODE §§ 187.1-.44 (2002)).
2. On June 15, 1982, the Board issued Respondent a Texas medical license.
3. Respondent holds Texas medical license G1918.
4. Respondent is a physician whose primary specialty is ophthalmology.
5. Prior to November 18, 1998 when the Board adopted Rule 200, Standard for Physicians Practicing Integrative and Complementary Medicine, Respondent provided various forms of treatment modalities in complementary and integrative medical care to the general public. Upon receiving information regarding the quality of care Respondent provided certain patients, the Board initiated an investigation of Respondent’s practice methods.
6. On March 29, 2000, pursuant to the Board’s request for Respondent’s medical records for patient F.M., Respondent stated that after the patient’s death the medical records had been inadvertently shredded outside his control and without his knowledge.
7. Board Staff maintains that the destruction of Patient F.M. medical records nonetheless violates Board Rule 165, Adequate Medical Records, which requires Respondent to keep patient records at least seven (7) years from the last date of treatment.
8. On August 29, 2002, Board Staff filed a complaint at the State Office of Administrative Hearing against Respondent for alleging violations of the Act relating to Respondent’s quality of care and medical record keeping.
9. Respondent answered and denied that he violated the Medical Practice Act as alleged in the complaint. Respondent specifically asserts that he complied with the Act and Board Rule 200 with regard to his quality of care and provided Board Staff with supporting information and materials to the effect.
10. While not admitting that he violated the Act, Respondent enters into this Agreed Order and agrees to comply with the terms and conditions set forth herein so as to avoid any further proceedings relating to these allegations and associated litigation expenses. Respondent further neither admits nor denies that the Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law set forth herein are accurate.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Based on the above Findings of Fact, the Panel concludes the following:
1. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action pursuant to Section 164.05l(a)(l) of the Act based on Respondent’s commission of an act prohibited under Section 164.052.
2. Respondent is subject to disciplinary action pursuant to Section 164.05l(a)(3) of the Act by committing a direct or indirect violation of a rule adopted under this Act, either as a principal, accessory, or accomplice, to wit: Board Rule 165, Adequate Medical Records.
3. Sections 165.001 and 165. 003 of the Act authorize the Board to impose a monetary administrative penalty not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) for each separate violation of the Act or Board rule by a person licensed or regulated under the Act.
4. Section 164.002(a) of the Act authorizes the Board to resolve and make a disposition of this matter through an Agreed Order.
5. Section 164.002(d) of the Act provides that this Agreed Order is a settlement agreement under the Texas Rules of Evidence for purposes of civil litigation.
Based on the above Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, the Board ORDERS that the following terms and conditions are effective upon the date of the signing of this Agreed Order by the presiding officer of the Board:
1. Respondent shall pay an administrative penalty in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1000.00) within thirty (30) days of the signing of this Order by the presiding officer of the Board.
2. The administrative penalty shall be paid in a single payment by cashier’s check or money order payable to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and shall be submitted to the Director of Compliance for the Board for routing so as to be remitted to the comptroller of Texas for deposit in the general revenue fund.
3. Respondent’s failure to pay the administrative penalty as ordered shall constitute grounds for further disciplinary action by the Board as provided for in the Act, and may result in a referral by the Executive Director of the Board for collection by the Office of the Attorney General.
4. Respondent shall maintain adequate medical records on all patient office visits, consultations, surgeries performed, drugs provided, and treatment rendered by Respondent. These records will include at a minimum, the patient’s name and address, vital signs and statistics, chief complaints, history and physical findings, diagnosis and basis for diagnosis, treatment plan for each patient visit or operative procedure, a notation of all medications prescribed or otherwise provided to the patient including the quantity, dosage, and rationale for providing the medications, and detailed records of all follow-up visits. Each visit shall be noted in the patient record and dated accordingly. Respondent shall make all patient medical records available for inspection and copying upon the oral or written request of Board consultants, investigators, compliance officers, attorneys, or the Executive Director of the Board.
5. Respondent shall comply with all the provisions of the Act and other statutes regulating the Respondent’s practice.
6. Respondent shall inform the Board in writing of any change of Respondent’s office or mailing address within ten (10) days of the address change. This information shall be submitted to the Permits Department and the Director of Compliance for the Board. Failure to provide such information in a timely manner shall constitute a basis for disciplinary action by the Board against Respondent pursuant to the Act.
7. Any violation of the terms, conditions, or requirements of this Order by Respondent shall constitute unprofessional conduct likely to deceive or defraud the public, and to injure the public, and shall constitute a basis for disciplinary action by the Board against Respondent pursuant to the Act.
8. Board Staff shall dismiss with prejudice all claims and assertions relating to these allegations currently pending at the State Office of Administrative Hearings within five (5) days after receipt of the administrative penalty identified above.
RESPONDENT WAIVES ANY FURTHER HEARINGS OR APPEALS TO THE BOARD OR TO ANY COURT IN REGARD TO ALL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS AGREED ORDER. RESPONDENT AGREES THAT THIS IS A FINAL ORDER.
THIS ORDER IS A PUBLIC RECORD.
I, ROBERT FRANCIS HOFMANN, M.D., HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE FOREGOING AGREED ORDER. I UNDERSTAND THAT BY SIGNING, I WAIVE CERTAIN RIGHTS. I SIGN IT VOLUNTARILY. I UNDERSTAND THIS AGREED ORDER CONTAINS THE ENTIRE AGREEMENT AND THERE IS NO OTHER AGREEMENT OF ANY KIND, VERBAL, WRITTEN OR OTHERWISE.
DATED: January 27, 2003.
ROBERT FRANCIS HOFMANN, M.D.
STATE OF TEXAS §
COUNTY OF TRAVIS §
BEFORE ME, the undersigned Notary Public, on this day personally appeared Robert Francis Hofmann, M.D., known to me to be the person whose name is subscribed to this instrument, an Agreed Order, and who after being by me duly sworn, on oath, stated that he executed the same for all purposes expressed therein.
Given under my hand and official seal and office this 27th day of January, 2003.
Karen Elaine Longshore
Notary Public, State of Texas
SIGNED AND ENTERED by the presiding officer of the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners on February 7th, 2003.
Lee S. Anderson, M.D., President
Texas State Board of Medical Examiners