Medical Board Obtains Suspension of South Lake Tahoe Physician's License

January 08, 2004 03:03 PM US Eastern Timezone

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 8, 2004--Effective January 9, 2004

South Lake Tahoe physician Joseph H. Simon, M.D. has been ordered to cease his practice of medicine in California by El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Suzanne K. Kingsbury pending the outcome of criminal proceedings against him. The Order was a result of an action filed on November 10, 2003 by the Office of the Attorney General on behalf of the Medical Board, under Penal Code section 23, which permits the Medical Board to ask a judge in a criminal matter to suspend the license of a physician.

On October 20, 2003, Deputy Attorney General Sharon A. Lueras, on behalf of the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, filed felony charges with the El Dorado County Superior Court against Simon pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 803.5(a). Simon was charged with eight counts of violating Health and Safety Code section 11153 (issuing an unlawful controlled substance prescription) and one count of violating Penal Code section 550(a)(6) (submission of a false claim for payment of healthcare benefits).

These crimes by law are substantially related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of a physician and surgeon. Business and Professions Code section 2238 provides that, "A violation of any federal statute or federal regulation or any of the statutes or regulations of this state regulating dangerous drugs or controlled substances constitutes unprofessional conduct."

An independent medical expert, Board certified in pain management and psychiatry, opined that Simon, over a three-year period, repeatedly engaged in numerous extreme departures from the standard of care in his treatment and care of patients. Even though Simon was prescribing very powerful and addictive drugs, he failed to develop a comprehensive treatment plan and he repeatedly prescribed highly addictive controlled substances in large quantities without considering the individual needs of the patient -- conduct that presents a danger to public safety.

The mission of the Medical Board of California is to protect healthcare consumers through the proper licensing and regulation of physicians and surgeons and certain allied healthcare professions and through the vigorous, objective enforcement of the Medical Practice Act.

If you have a question or complaint about the healthcare you are receiving, the Board encourages you to visit its Web site at or for questions call the Consumer Information Line at (916) 263-2382, or with complaints call (800) 633-2322.

Medical Board of California
Candis Cohen, 916-263-2394

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