Valley doctor's license suspended over prescribing practices

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PHOENIX - The reception wasn't warm when 3 On Your Side showed up at Priority Care Clinic in Phoenix.

After several unreturned phone calls and emails, we'd hoped to speak with someone about a complaint from former patient Mark Rogalski, but instead were told to leave.

Mark suffers from chronic back pain.

“I can pick up a loaf of bread and throw my back out if I'm not careful,” he said.

He says he last visited Priority Care Clinic a year ago when something out of the ordinary happened.

He says not only were his medical records missing, the clinic bumped his standard $69 doctor visit fee to $300, and they would only take cash.

“I think anybody with any business sense knows when you're trying to do cash only transactions there's probably specific reasons for that,” Mark said.

Marks says he paid the $300 but while waiting to see the doctor, his instincts took over and decided to leave.

So, he asked the receptionist for his money back.

“He said hold on, and I waited and waited and waited,” Mark explained. “They didn't really want to return the money and they were being evasive about it.”

Mark eventually left the clinic without his cash or seeing the doctor, and has been trying to get his money back ever since.

He's even filed a small courts claim.

Then came news last month that the license for the clinic's main physician, Dr. Lynn Sweet, was suspended by the state.

“I was stunned. I was absolutely stunned,” Mark said.

Court documents accuse the clinic of ‘prescribing, dispensing or administering controlled substances or prescription only drugs for other than the accepted therapeutic purposes. Engaging in the practice of medicine in a manner that harms or may harm a patient, and failing or refusing to establish and maintain adequate records on a patient.’

“There's no question that there are some providers potentially misprescribing and providing more access than should be out there,” Benton Davis, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of Arizona said.

The health care provider is involved with a new statewide push to curb prescription drug abuse, which he says is among the highest in the country.

While the majority of doctors play by the rules, Davis says those who don't are fueling an ever-growing problem in our state.

“What we want to make sure is that physicians are aware of the drug and the capability of for it to be potentially abused,” he said.

Dr. Sweet's license has been suspended for a year, but the clinic remains open.

3 On Your Side is still working on getting Mark’s $300 refund.