By Perrin Stein
Gillette News Record
Via Wyoming News Exchange
GILLETTE — District Judge Thomas W. Rumpke has largely reversed the Wyoming Board of Medicine’s decision to suspend a Gillette physician’s license for five years.
In July 2017, Rebecca Painter’s license was suspended after the board found she had acted exploitatively and improperly toward a patient and the patient’s family by getting involved in the patient’s finances and business. She also provided unnecessary medical services to her patient and once the board began its investigation, she allegedly didn’t follow protocol in terminating medical care to the patient.
In his decision, Rumpke affirmed that the board had a right to revoke Painter’s license for exploiting her “position of trust, knowledge, emotions or influence” as a physician through her actions toward the patient, including becoming co-trustee of her estate, helping her manage her ranch, providing her with legal advice and co-signing her checks.
Rumpke also agreed with the board’s finding that Painter had not followed state guidelines for terminating her relationship with the patient after the board began investigating Painter’s alleged misconduct.
Each of these two findings is adequate grounds for license suspension, according to state law.
Rumpke reversed several more of the board’s conclusions and sent the case back to the board for additional information or clarification. These include the conclusion that Painter provided unnecessary medical services to her patient and that she violated, attempted to violate or assisted in the violation of the law in her interactions with the patient and the patient’s family.
Rumpke also asked the board to handle collection and submission of the costs associated with Painter’s appeal.
In his decision, Rumpke found Painter hadn’t violated several other portions of state statute that outline the grounds for physician suspension including engaging in conduct intended to or likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public and harassing, disrupting or abusing the patient’s relatives in a way that interfered with the patient’s care.
Previously, the Board of Medicine placed sanctions on Painter in 1999, but those sanctions were dismissed after Painter filed a petition with the court, which found the board had violated state law and had contradicted constitutional standards in its handling of her case, according to court documents.