Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Local News

April 26, 2013

Licensing board insists on conditions

Wagoner-affiliated doctor facing formal license complaint.

Dr. Robert Brewer might have written thousands of narcotics prescriptions over the past two years, but lawyers for the Indiana Attorney General’s office claim Brewer was just acting as a fill-in for Dr. Don Wagoner.

Brewer, 86, is one of nine people charged in connection with alleged “pill mill” activity at the Wagoner Medical Center offices in Kokomo and Burlington.

Brewer is still able to practice medicine, for now, after the attorney general’s office dropped efforts Thursday to impose an emergency license suspension.

But the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana insisted on putting conditions on Brewer’s license, in part due to two felony charges Howard County prosecutors filed against Brewer last week.

At the same hearing, the AG’s office also dropped an emergency suspension petition against another Wagoner physician, Dr. William Terpstra, who remained incarcerated at the Howard County jail Thursday morning on $1 million bond. Terpstra has already agreed to voluntarily give up his Drug Enforcement Administration registration number, meaning he no longer has legal authority to prescribe medication.

But it was Brewer’s case which created the most controversy Thursday, as state officials wrangled over how to deal with the elderly doctor.

At the start of Thursday’s hearing, Jessica Krug, the deputy attorney general assigned to the case, indicated the state was satisfied with Brewer’s promise not to practice pain management, and said it no longer appeared Brewer was a threat to the community.

Brewer, she said, treated only two of the 14 patients — all of whom died of drug overdoses or complications from over-medication — listed in the AG’s formal complaint against him.

Krug said Brewer filled in for Wagoner, the head of the two clinics, on days when Wagoner wasn’t seeing patients. She said Brewer resigned from the clinic Feb. 27, and hasn’t practiced medicine since.

In the charges filed against Brewer in Howard County, investigators said Brewer wrote more than 5,300 prescriptions for controlled substances last year. At the hearing, Brewer said he worked partial days Mondays and Wednesdays, and all day Thursdays.

“All I can say is right now, I’m in such a state of shock and total unpreparedness, I haven’t thought about anything for the future,” Brewer said when asked if he intended to continue practicing. “I was more or less semi-retired when I met Dr. [Don] Wagoner two years ago and came to the clinic.”

The proposal to drop the emergency suspension without conditions didn’t sit well with board chair Steven Huddleston, who grilled Krug as to why two months ago, the state thought Brewer was enough of a threat to ask for an emergency suspension.

“Isn’t Dr. Brewer facing criminal charges in Howard County?” Huddleston demanded. “One one hand you have the attorney general saying there’s no problem, and on the other hand you have a prosecutor saying there’s enough of a problem for criminal charges.”

After Huddleston indicated he wasn’t satisfied with no formal conditions being placed on the doctor’s license, Brewer’s attorney, Richard Kiefer, revealed the AG’s office had signed a “private agreement” with his client, which did, in fact, lay out a set of conditions.

After the AG’s office filed formal complaints against four Wagoner clinic doctors in March, two of the doctors, Don Wagoner and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Wagoner, agreed to quit prescribing all controlled substances other than Suboxone, and to keep a log of every prescription they wrote.

According to what Kiefer revealed Thursday, Brewer’s private agreement contained similar conditions.

But Huddleston said allowing the AG’s office to enter into a private agreement with a doctor for license restrictions was a “bad precedent,” and said no agency other that the licensing board has legal authority to enforce license restrictions.

When none of the licensing board members would back the state’s motion to dismiss the emergency suspension petition, Huddleston suggested Krug and Kiefer come back later with a better plan.

Both sides eventually agreed on conditions, which Huddleston insisted be put in writing and signed, stating Brewer can no longer write prescriptions for controlled substances for pain and would have to refer any patients in need of pain medication to an independent specialist. Brewer must also keep a log of all prescriptions he writes.

“Of 14 deaths we looked at, [Brewer] was only involved in one or two, and his involvement in those deaths was minimal,” said Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Minglin.

All four of the Wagoner doctors are now barred from prescribing narcotics and state officials are proceeding with the formal complaints which could result in all four doctors’ state licenses being revoked. The medical licensing board will have a formal hearing for both Wagoners June 27, Terpstra will appear July 25 and Brewer’s case will be heard Oct. 25.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Drug Probe 01 Doctors arrested in cash-for-pills probe Two doctors and five employees affiliated with a Drug and Opiate Recovery Network office on South LaFountain Street were arrested early Friday as part of a long-term prescription drug investigation.The addiction-treatment doctors allegedly wrote pres

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eric Peters Cross-country mission PERU — Eric Peters is on a 2,700-mile mission.As a 23-year-old Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Peters is used to missions. But this one is personal.Thirty-five days ago, he started a cross-country trek from his home in Clark, New Jersey, that

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - KT072614 - wagoner mug Former doctor to forfeit $1.2 million Former Kokomo doctor Donald Wagoner, who recently was convicted and sentenced for over-prescribing pain medication, has agreed to pay $1.2 million as settlement in a civil suit brought by the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office.Prosecutor Mark McCann f

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - KT072514 - Gregory Konrath mugshot - CLG Trial set for surgeon accused of plotting murder PERU — An orthopedic surgeon at Dukes Memorial Hospital, who is accused of plotting to murder his ex-wife and make it look like a suicide, is set to face a jury trial.In Miami County Circuit Court Thursday, Gregory Konrath, 48, was scheduled to face

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deputies arrest four on drug charges Howard County sheriff’s deputies arrested four people on numerous charges after deputies went to a home west of Kokomo to serve a warrant late Thursday.Deputies went to the home at 7610 W. 220 South shortly after 11 p.m. in search of a man wanted on

    July 26, 2014

  • Pence discusses HIP 2.0 at Community Howard Gov. Mike Pence recently visited the Community Howard Regional Health campus, sharing with patients, physicians and staff his administration’s new Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0.The program, which was submitted to the federal government at the end of June

    July 26, 2014

  • Section of Market St. to close Monday Market Street will be closing between Superior and Sycamore Streets in downtown Kokomo Monday beginning at 7 a.m. for a minimum of one week. The closure will allow contractors to work on the Market Street Sewer Separation Project, which includes the

    July 25, 2014

  • 7 charged in Howard Co. following prescription drug probe

    Two doctors and five employees of the Drug and Opiate Drug Recovery Network (DORN) on South LaFountain Street were arrested earlier today as part of a long-term prescription drug investigation.

    July 25, 2014

  • Escapee Escapee apprehended in Carroll County

    BURROWS — The inmate who escaped from the Logansport State Hospital Thursday night was apprehended in Carroll County late Friday morning. Carroll County Sheriff's Department Major Tobe Leazenby said Christopher J. Robbins, 23, Medaryville, was appreh

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds plan review over Medicaid backlog INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Federal officials are reviewing Indiana’s procedures for enrolling residents in Medicaid after finding the state had 80,000 low-income residents awaiting approval in May.Cindy Mann, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicai

    July 25, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.