Indiana Chronic Lyme Doctor’s License Indefinitely Suspended for Serious Violations

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Stephen Robert Pfeifer, MD is an Indiana doctor whose license to practice medicine was indefinitely suspended in 2016. He claimed that he practiced medicine that is “integrative” and “functional”, which are both known marketing terms used by quacks.

Pfeifer treated patients with “chronic Lyme” even through this is not a valid medical diagnosis according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Pfeifer’s name was also listed on the web site of the pseudoscience group ILADS.

Like almost all “Lyme literate” doctors, Pfeifer has no recognized advanced credentials in infectious disease.

Discipline

After serious accusations by the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana, Pfeifer reached a Settlement Agreement with the Board in which he would be disciplined.

According to the Stipulated Facts of the Settlement Agreement, Pfeifer admitted that he allowed nurse practitioner Jeanne Clark to prescribe controlled substances to patients he did not examine or treat.

One of these patients was prescribed large quantities of hydrocodone for an extended period of time under Pfeifer’s DEA number. Another patient filled several prescriptions for Morphine.

The Stipulated Facts also state that Pfeifer wrote prescriptions for controlled substances for his personal use and for his family members without maintaining an adequate patient record for himself or any of his family members.

Additionally, the Stipulated Facts describe a severe alcohol issue which rendered him unfit to practice medicine:

In or around September 2015, Respondent [Pfeifer] entered a program in Florida, at the Florida Recovery Center, pursuant to an agreement with the Indiana State Medical Association (“ISMA”) for treatment of severe alcohol use.

In or around January 2016, Respondent signed a five (5) year contract with lSMA and experienced a relapse within weeks after signing his contract with lSMA.

Violations

According to the Settlement Agreement, Pfeifer (Respondent) was found to have committed a number of violations:


1. Respondent’s conduct as described above constitutes a violation of Ind. Code§ 25-1-9-4(a)(4)(B) in that Respondent has continued to practice even though he has become unfit to practice due to failure to keep abreast of current professional theory or practice as demonstrated by, which includes but is not limited to, Respondent allowing a nurse practitioner to use his DEA registration number to prescribe medications which included controlled substances; Respondent failing to properly supervise the nurse practitioner as a collaborative physician; and, Respondent pre-signing prescription blanks for use by others.

2. Respondent’s conduct as described above constitutes a violation of Ind. Code§ 25-1-9-4(a)(3) in that Respondent has knowingly violated a state statue or rule regulating the medical profession, or federal statue or regulation, regulating the profession in question. Respondent violated Title 2! USC §1306 as demonstrated by, which includes but is not limited to, Respondent a1lowing a nurse practitioner to use his DEA registration number to prescribe controlled substances, for patients the Respondent did not examine or evaluate on at least two occasions with patients E.D. and C.Y.

3. Respondent’s conduct as described ahove constitutes a violation of Ind. Code§ 25-1 -9-4(a)(3) in that Respondent has knowingly violated a state statute or rule regulating the medical profession. Respondent violated 844 IAC 5-2-5, which states “a practitioner shall exercise reasonable care and diligence in the treatment of patients based upon generaUy accepted scientific principles, methods, treatments, and current professional theory or practice,” as demonstrated by, which includes but is not limited to, Respondent failed to keep adequate medical records and, in some cases, any medical records for family members to whom he was prescribing controlled substances.

4. Respondent’s conduct as described above constitutes a violation of lnd. Code §25-1-9-(4)(D), in that, the Respondent has continued to practice although the Respondent has become unfit to practice due to an addiction and/or abuse of or severe dependency upon alcohol that endangers the public by impairing a practitioner’s ability to practice safely as the Respondent was treated for alcohol abuse and/or dependency.

5. Respondent’s conduct as described above constitutes a violation of lnd. Code§ 15-1-9-4(a)(6) in that Respondent allowed his name or a license issued under this chapter to be used in connection with an individual who renders services beyond the scope of that individual’s training, experience, or competence as demonstrated by, which includes but is not limited to, Respondent allowing a nurse practitioner to use his DEA registration number to prescribe medications which included controlled substances.


The Board indefinitely suspended Pfeifer’s license, required him to complete Continuing Medical Education, and levied a fine of $2500.

Even after his license suspension, Pfeifer couldn’t help himself and continued to practice medicine. The Board found that Pfeifer was “dictating patient treatment, diagnosis and prescription suggestion to another physician at his practice” and had violated the Order which accepted the Settlement Agreement.

As such, the Board found that Pfeifer was in violation of lnd. Code§ 25-1-9-4(a)(10) because he failed to comply with an order imposing sanctions. The Board fined Pfeifer an additional $1000 and issued him a Reprimand.

Resources

Medical Licensing Board of Indiana: Stephen R. Pfeifer Complaint, 2015-08-11

Medical Licensing Board of Indiana: Stephen Pfeifer Amended Complaint, 2016-05-07

Medical Licensing Board of Indiana: Stephen Pfeifer Order Accepting “Proposed Settlement Agreement”, 2016-05-11

Medical Licensing Board of Indiana: Stephen Pfeifer Indefinite License Suspension, 2016-10-26