Huntsville doctor’s license suspended over conduct charges

Published: Oct. 25, 2018 at 11:18 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The Medical Licensure Commission of the State of Alabama has ordered that the medical license of Dr. Weston J. Welker of Huntsville be summarily suspended.

The suspension is effective immediately and until a formal hearing can be held.

The decision is in regards to charges were filed last week by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners (BME). The charges contained allegations of unprofessional conduct, including “violating a Board order and failing to use medically appropriate risk and abuse mitigation strategies when prescribing controlled substances, gross malpractice or gross negligence in the practice of medicine, and aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine.”

Welker was previously disciplined by the board in 2017 for overprescribing controlled substances, according to the BME. The board was investigating Welker’s compliance with his probationary terms when it discovered evidence of the newly alleged offenses.

His case is one of nearly 200 prescribing-related cases the BME has investigated since 2014.

“This case should be a warning to physicians overprescribing opioids and other controlled substances,” BME ceneral counsel Wilson Hunter said in a news release. “Any physician who fails to prioritize patient safety or take common sense precautions to prevent diversion when prescribing controlled substances is at risk of losing his or her ability to practice medicine.”

A formal hearing on the charges against Welker will be held in January.

The case is being prosecuted by Hunter on behalf of the BME.

The BME gave the following advice for Welker’s patients:

My doctor’s license has been suspended. Where do I get medical care?

“Your doctor still has an obligation to provide for your care. If your doctor can no longer practice medicine, your doctor has an obligation to help you obtain care elsewhere. Patients who have a primary care physician should contact him/her as soon as possible to alert him/her that they will need help continuing any treatment regimens being prescribed by the suspended physician. A primary care physician should be able to continue most regimens, including controlled substance regimens, until an appropriate referral can be made. Patients who believe they are experiencing withdrawal symptoms should seek care from an emergency room.”

I can’t get my medical records from my old physician. What should I do?

“You have a right to your medical records. Your old physician should arrange to provide them to you or transfer them to the new physician of your choice. He or she may provide these at no cost or may charge a small processing fee. Your physician’s duty to you continues even after he or she is disciplined or otherwise prohibited from practicing. A suspended physician is obligated to follow all Board rules regarding the care of his patients, including the rules regarding the transfer of medical records and helping ensure their continuity of care. Failure to fulfill these obligations could lead to new charges being filed for patient abandonment. If your physician will not transfer your medical records, please contact the Board of Medical Examiners at 334-242-4116.”

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