State regulators have barred a Pike County doctor from prescribing drugs after concluding he fell short of acceptable prescribing practices.
A panel of the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure issued the emergency order Aug. 15 against Kermit D. Gibson, whose office is in Elkhorn City.
According to the order, the state investigated a December 2011 complaint that Gibson appeared to be running a "pill mill" — a clinic where doctors hand out prescriptions for painkillers and other drugs excessively, or without adequately examining patients.
Gibson was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
A consultant said Gibson had not met acceptable standards in several areas, including patient diagnoses and treatment. The information in patient files at Gibson's office did not support the need to prescribe drugs as Gibson did, or the dosage amounts, according to the emergency order.
The consultant also noted that the way Gibson wrote prescriptions would allow patients to get a three-month supply of a drug in one month, and perhaps encourage them to turn to illegal sources for more pills after that.
The consultant concluded Gibson's prescribing practices showed gross negligence, ignorance or incompetence in some cases.
Gibson can continue seeing patients, but can't prescribe drugs until the licensure board has a hearing on his case and issues a final order.
The hearing is scheduled for February.
The board could impose a number of sanctions, such as fining Gibson or barring him from prescribing drugs for a certain period, or permanently.
Gibson, a doctor of osteopathy, has faced discipline several times before.
In 1985, just four years after he was licensed in Kentucky, the licensure board investigated a complaint he had prescribed painkillers in a way that he knew, or should have known, was excessive and likely to be abused, according to the board's order.
His license was put on probation for two years.
In December 1989, the board found evidence he had over-used drugs with a patient.
The board later put his license on probation for five years, told him to keep better records and required him to take training on prescribing drugs, according to its latest order.
In May 2003, the board received another complaint that Gibson was prescribing controlled substances to suspected drug abusers without doing adequate exams.
A consultant said it appeared Gibson had over-prescribed drugs, and that his practices were a danger to patients and the public.
The licensure board suspended his license.
Gibson and the board later settled the case with an order limiting his prescribing authority and requiring him to take more training and pay a $5,000 fine, according to its latest order.
His prescribing authority was later reinstated, and a consultant said in October 2008 that he was doing an adequate job, and appeared to be conservative in his prescribing practices.
However, the board panel said in its latest emergency order that "the numerous efforts to rehabilitate and re-educate (Gibson) as to the acceptable and prevailing medical practices related to the prescribing of controlled substances have been unsuccessful."