HARTFORD — The Connecticut Medical Examining Board on Tuesday suspended the license of Dr. Carl Schiano, a Naugatuck-based physician who suddenly closed his practice last year with no communication to his patients.
After an investigation, the state Department of Public Health concluded that Schiano “abandoned” his patients last September by closing his practice without adequate notice, failing to arrange for their continuity of care and failing to respond to records requests. He left false information concerning records requests on the door of his office at 59 Rubber Ave., according to the department.
From October until last month, Schiano lived with two of his patients, according to the department’s statement of charges. He borrowed $3,000 from the patients and has not repaid the money despite their demand, according to the department. He is also accused of taking expensive tools and other things from their home and pawning some of them.
Schiano left more than 100 pages of medical records, belonging to 36 patients, unsecured in the basement of the home, in violation of professional ethics and medical privacy laws, according to the department.
An investigator found Schiano no longer had malpractice insurance in December when he prescribed Lexapro, an antidepressant, for one of the patients he was living with. Schiano wrote a July 2011 date on the prescription, telling the patient he did so because he had malpractice insurance then, according to state health officials.
The medical examining board voted to suspend Schiano’s license pending a March 1 hearing on the charges. Schiano was not at the board’s meeting and could not be reached Tuesday for comment.
Schiano had about 200 patients, most of whom relied on Medicare or Medicaid, according to his former assistant, Megan Bartlett. About half his patients were diabetics, Bartlett said. After Schiano’s practice, Associated Health Care, went locked and dark, patients unsuccessfully tried to call his disconnected office and cell phone numbers, in search of their records to bring to other doctors. Diabetics were left without prescriptions for insulin, patients and pharmacists said.
Patients who still need their records can call the Department of Public Health at (860) 509-7552, spokesman William Gerrish said.
State health officials have been able to talk to Schiano on his cell phone, Gerrish said.
“They are in touch with him,” Gerrish said.
Schiano first disappeared without notice for two weeks last July. Then, as now, his office was locked and dark, the phone disconnected. He said he had been on vacation, the phone and electricity bills went unpaid and his staff failed to show up for work in his absence.
The medical examining board suspended Schiano’s license for about three months in 2006, claiming he was abusing drugs and set up a scheme prescribing methadone to a patient who gave it back to him.
He also prescribed large doses of medicine for his then-wife and did not record the prescriptions in her files, according to the state.