Ahwatukee Foothills doctor Lynn Sweet, whose medical license was suspended for a second time this summer in an "emergency action" by state regulators, said Tuesday that he has sold his practice to another doctor in a bid to keep it open.
Sweet said he sold his PriorityCare Clinic, 12020 S. Warner-Elliot Loop, to Mansoor Sheikh because he is unable to practice medicine until the suspension is lifted, and the new owner will be able to keep the practice up and running. Sweet said he is fighting the suspension, and once he is able to practice again, he intends to return to PriorityCare as an associate doctor.
"When it all comes out, I should be completely exonerated," Sweet said.
PriorityCare Clinic's website said the practice is expected to reopen at the end of October when renovations are completed.
In June, the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners, which regulates more than 2,500 doctors of osteopathic medicine in the state, suspended Sweet's license after concluding that he repeatedly had prescribed large amounts and high doses of controlled medications to more than a dozen patients from April 2008-09, sometimes without conducting physical exams. The board also found that he had failed to recognize "drug seeking behavior" in three patients, and that he continued to refill prescriptions for chronic pain patients with little medical assessment and without referrals to specialists.
Sweet appealed the decision to Maricopa County Superior Court, where a judge stayed the suspension, allowing him to return to practice, albeit with restrictions on his ability to prescribe narcotics, pending the outcome of the appeal. That appeal is ongoing.
However, on Aug. 10, just a few weeks after the court reinstated Sweet's license, the oversight board suspended it again after investigating additional complaints of lax record keeping and irresponsible prescriptions for narcotics, said Elaine LeTarte, the board's executive director. Board members concluded that Sweet posed an immediate threat to the health and safety of the public, she said.
"It is an immediate emergency action where the board says, ‘We have to stop a doctor from practicing now,'" LeTarte said.
Hearings on the second suspension, conducted by the Office of Administrative Hearings, are expected to resume on Monday, she said. That agency is expected to furnish a recommendation to the Board of Osteopathic Examiners before Thanksgiving.
The oversight board is slated to meet in mid-January, when it could replace the emergency suspension with a final order, such as a formal suspension or probation, LeTarte said.
Sweet denied being a danger to patients.
"There's nothing I did that was a danger to anyone, and I've always kept my patients' health and security in mind," he said.
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