News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Physician surrenders license after state board investigation
Jan 4, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer
Dr. Jason Lovell of Riverton Family Medical no longer is licensed to practice osteopathic medicine in Wyoming. The Wyoming Board of Medicine on Dec. 26 accepted Lovell's request to suspend his license voluntarily.
He is alleged to have failed to maintain proper professional boundaries with two female patients.
Kevin Bohnenblust, executive director of the Wyoming Board of Medicine, said Lovell chose to request the voluntary suspension instead of facing a summary suspension by the board.
"He was given that opportunity," Bohnenblust said Thursday. "Our prosecuting attorney contacted his (attorney) and said, 'I think I have grounds for a summary suspension, but if your guy would ask to voluntarily suspend his license I wouldn't oppose it.'"
A summary suspension can be enacted before a case hearing takes place when there is a concern about an immediate threat to public health and safety, Bohnenblust explained.
Findings of fact
Lovell's involvement with the WBM began in October 2008 when he was granted his Wyoming Physicians License.
In September 2011, the WBM reportedly received a complaint from a probation and parole agent out of Riverton regarding Lovell's involvement in an improper relationship with a patient, identified as "S.E."
Lovell admitted to the relationship, which reportedly began sometime in the spring of 2011 after S.E. became his patient. According to the WBM, the personal relationship lasted about three weeks, and no inappropriate intimate contact ever occurred at Lovell's medical office or during actual medical care. After the personal relationship ceased, Lovell reportedly continued to treat S.E. as a patient, and in September 2011 he let her stay at his house for "unspecified safety reasons" at the request of the Lander probation and parole office.
S.E. reportedly stayed at his residence for three or four weeks; during that time she was not his patient and they were not involved in an intimate, personal relationship. However, Lovell admitted to exhibiting "very poor judgment" and accepted responsibility for his actions according to the WBM.
He reportedly signed a consent decree, agreeing to a two-year probationary period being placed upon his physician's license. He also reportedly attended a professional/medical educational course called "Maintaining Proper Boundaries" Aug. 8-10, 2012.
On or around Aug. 28, 2012, Lovell is alleged to have had sexual contact with a patient, identified as L.V., during a scheduled appointment at RFM. During the scheduled appointment, Lovell reportedly provided L.V. with a prescription for 60 tablets containing 50 milligrams each of Tramadol, a controlled substance meant to relieve pain.
On Dec. 13, 2012, an investigator for the WBM reportedly spoke with L.V., at which time L.V. confirmed that she had sexual intercourse with Lovell on the day she was seen as a patient at his clinic. The investigator allegedly contacted Lovell's attorney by mail on Dec. 17 advising of the allegations of sexual misconduct. Later, the WBM's prosecuting attorney reportedly advised Lovell's lawyer that Lovell's actions posed "an imminent threat to public health, safety or welfare, forming a basis to seek summary suspension of his Wyoming Physician's License." The next day, Lovell reportedly requested the temporary, voluntary suspension of his license.
Patient care disrupted
Bohnenblust did not release the ages of Lovell's patients S.E. and L.V., but he said they are adults.
"If there were a minor we'd be talking about a whole different story," he said.
He added that the WBM "hates to have to do this sort of thing."
"There are a bunch of patients now whose care has been disrupted," Bohnenblust said.
Advertisements through RFM announced last week that Lovell was "temporarily leaving the area," with his last day scheduled for Dec. 21, 2012. The advertisement says the business will welcome new health care providers to the clinic in January 2013. Bohnenblust said it is up to RFM to find a new doctor, but the WBM can help ensure Lovell's position is filled as soon as possible by expediting any licensing that may be necessary.
"The staff of Riverton Family Medical will return to our clinic after the New Year, and we are looking forward to working with new providers that will continue to meet your healthcare needs," the ad states. "Thank you for your patience and understanding while we continue to grow."
RFM is located at 716 College View Drive in Riverton and can be contacted at 857-4969.