State suspends 5 licenses of area health care providers

Laura Kate Zaichkin, Herald staff writerApril 20, 2009 

Several Mid-Columbia health care providers' licenses have been suspended recently by the state Department of Health.

The state suspended the license of Dentist Gregory Johnson of Kennewick last month for providing "substandard" dental care to a patient in January 2006.

Johnson didn't use anesthetic on the patient before performing dental treatment that included drilling, causing the patient to "unnecessarily suffer pain," said the health department's Dental Quality Assurance Commission.

And while filling cavities, he failed to diagnose and treat decay in the patient's teeth, authorities said. The state said Johnson also didn't produce and maintain chart notes of the treatment.

His license was suspended after he failed to respond in December 2008 to state requests to voluntarily surrender his license, documents said.

The Herald could not reach Johnson for comment because the phone numbers listed for him were disconnected.

-- Certified nursing assistant J. Trini Rivera's license was indefinitely suspended for inappropriately touching a patient's genitals and performing a medical examination outside his scope of practice, said the state.

The agency issued a final order last month after Rivera did not respond to the department's statement of charges.

The patient was diagnosed in May 2007 with a hernia by a physician's assistant at a Yakima clinic where Rivera worked, the department said.

The Department of Health says Rivera lives in Benton County but did not list where.

When the patient returned to the clinic to get some medical records, Rivera reportedly took the patient to a room and started to perform an unauthorized exam and inappropriately touched him.

Rivera was wearing green medical scrubs and didn't identify himself as a nursing or medical assistant, the department said. "Based on (Rivera's) appearance, (the patient) believed that (Rivera) was a medical doctor," documents said.

The Herald could not reach Rivera because his phone number is disconnected.

-- Certified nursing assistant Justin Lyew's license was indefinitely suspended after calling a patient at Richland's Life Care Center a "sexy thing," said Department of Health documents.

The patient reportedly asked Lyew to stop, but he continued, making her feel uncomfortable.

The Department of Health issued a final order last month after Lyew failed to respond to the charges.

The Herald could not reach Lyew because his phone number was disconnected.

-- Licensed practical nurse Gina Castle's license was indefinitely suspended last month after failing to give patients medications that she said she had given them. The health department also said she tested positive for methamphetamine.

In January 2007, Castle said she'd given prescribed medications to residents at Richland's Quail Hollow Memory Care Community, where she worked until Jan. 8, 2007, but the medications packages were not unwrapped, said health department documents.

Castle then went to work at Prosser's Sun Terrace Assisted Living from Feb. 28, 2007, to Sept. 18, 2007. In September 2007, she failed a drug test.

Castle didn't respond to the department's statement of charges. The Herald could not find a telephone number to reach Castle.

-- Respiratory care practitioner Paul Farnham's license was indefinitely suspended in Washington last month after his credential to practice as a respiratory therapist in Oregon was suspended.

The Department of Health lists Farnham's permanent address in Benton County, though the Herald could not find a phone number to reach him.

The Oregon suspension was based on an April 2008 drug test, in which Farnham tested positive for opiates, oxycodone, propoxphene, tricyclic antidepressants and benzodiazepines, said the Department of Health.

Farnham didn't respond to the state's charges.

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