Slow communication kept health system unaware of disciplined doc

The University of South Florida has revised its professional conduct policy after top leaders had no idea a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist and assistant professor had been disciplined by three state medical boards for prescribing pain pills without fully examining patients, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

In 2008, the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners prohibited Gerard Dileo from practicing pain management in the state. That led to further discipline from the medical boards in California and Florida.

However, USF leaders remained unaware of the disciplinary actions against Dileo until September 2010, when he was indicted on federal prescription drug and money-laundering charges, according to the article. Dileo was convicted this past November, and he lost his medical license in Florida last month.

Slow communication across state lines, as well as within Florida, kept the state university health system in the dark about the employee violations. "It took too long for us to know exactly what was happening with Dr. Dileo's legal issues," University spokesman Michael Hoad told The Oracle in an email. "What we want to do is make sure we know sooner."

With that in mind, USF strengthened its professional conduct policy to better ensure employee compliance and professionalism, noted the Oracle.

Under the new policy, the state university health system will more quickly discipline or dismiss employees in violation, as well as consult with the state medical board before renewing a physician's contract, noted the Tampa Bay Times.

"A faculty member who is unable to conduct him or herself in a professional manner or who appears for work in a condition that will not allow them to perform their duties in a safe manner will be considered in breach of this Policy and actions may be taken in accordance with this and any other applicable University Policy," the new USF Health Professional Conduct Policy states.

To learn more:
- read the Tampa Bay Times article
- here's the Oracle article
- check out the new USF policy (.pdf)