Health & Medicine

Gynecologist's medical license suspended

In an emergency order, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure has suspended the license of Lexington gynecologist Hamid Sheikh to practice medicine.

An investigator for the Attorney General's office reported that she found expired medications, unsanitary conditions, and missing or inoperable equipment in the office of Sheikh, who has performed abortions at his Lexington office since 1975.

In November, Sheikh was indicted in Franklin Circuit Court on four counts of defrauding Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor. Specifically, he is alleged to have submitted false billing statements to Medicaid since 2004, disguising abortions as ultrasounds for normal pregnancies and illegally charging Medicaid patients.

One Medicaid investigator, a nurse, found ”medical care standards dramatically out of compliance“ in Sheikh's office, according to documents that accompanied the medical board's June 5 order.

And a Medicaid fraud agent told the board that seven patients reported ”highly negative experiences, commonly involving a lack of medication and being told by the licensee not to scream during the procedure.“

One patient told investigators that Sheikh ”took no history, vitals, nor did he verify her pregnancy,“ according to board documents.

”She was given a Valium for the pain ... . During the procedure the pain was unbearable and she fought them and kicked over a tray. After the procedure she was given a stained sheet to cover herself with.“

Sheikh could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

But according to medical board documents, Sheikh told investigators that both his billing and medical practices were sound.

And in a November 2007 Herald-Leader interview, Sheikh said his arrest on the Medicaid charges was motivated by the politics of abortion.

Sheikh told the Herald-Leader that he billed the ultrasounds to Medicaid, which normally covers them. If a woman decided to continue the pregnancy, he said, he provided prenatal care. Otherwise, he said, he performed the abortion the same day and charged the woman $400 for it.

A hearing before the state Board of Medical Licensure is scheduled for November on the matter of Sheikh's license.

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