Appeal from the Order of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, State Board of Medical Education and Licensure, File No. 84-ME-3008, in the matter of the suspension or revocation of the license to practice medicine, license No. MD-013243,E, issued March 24, 1972 to Ernest Stuart Hendrickson, M.D.
Theodore J. Kukunas, for petitioner.
Kenneth E. Brody, Assistant Counsel, with him, Joyce McKeever, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
Judges Doyle and Palladino, and Senior Judge Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 125]
Ernest Stuart Hendrickson, M.D. (Petitioner) appeals an order of the State Board of Medicine*fn1 (Board)
[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 126]
revoking his license to practice medicine and surgery in Pennsylvania for not having malpractice insurance in violation of Section 701 of the Health Care Services Malpractice Act.*fn2 The order required Petitioner to actively serve 6 months of the revocation. The remainder of the revocation was stayed subject to two conditions: (1) that Petitioner satisfy his professional liability insurance responsibilities in the future; and (2) that should Petitioner terminate his coverage or allow it to lapse, he notify the Board and the Catastrophe Loss Fund (Fund)*fn3 within 3 days.
[ 108 Pa. Commw. Page 127]
Petitioner is a psychiatrist who maintains a sole practice. Petitioner's professional liability insurance lapsed on May 2, 1983 after his office manager at that time failed to open the renewal notice and have Petitioner sign a check for the premium due. The Fund notified Petitioner by letter, dated September 21, 1983 and a follow up "Penn-Gram", dated November 2, 1983, that he was not in compliance with his professional liability insurance responsibilities. These documents were received in Petitioner's office, but his office manager at that time did not make him aware of them. This office manager left Petitioner's service in July, 1984.
Petitioner's new bookkeeper discovered Petitioner did not have malpractice insurance in late December 1984 when she was attempting to close his books. Petitioner applied for insurance on January 4, 1985. This application was returned because it was accompanied by an insufficient fee. The application was resubmitted and in March, 1985, Petitioner's insurance coverage became effective.
Petitioner was served with a complaint and order to show cause why his medical license should not be suspended or revoked for violation of Section 701 of the Health Care Services Malpractice Act. A hearing was held on February 26, 1986. Petitioner admitted he was not covered by the requisite professional liability insurance from May 2, 1983 until March, 1985.*fn4 He presented evidence ...