Dover psychiatrist fights suspension of medical license

DOVER — A Dover-based psychiatrist plans to dispute the suspension of his Delaware medical license and controlled prescription privileges announced by Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock on Monday.

The suspension came “in light of allegations of unprofessional conduct related to the prescription and distribution of opioid medications,” the secretary said in a release.

In support of the decision, Secretary Bullock pointed to complaints filed by the Delaware Department of Justice with the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline for a temporary suspension. The allegations claimed that Dr. Villabona “prescribed opioids to patients with little or no required documentation, failed to maintain effective controls against diversion of controlled substances, and exchanged guns and weapons with patients,” according to the Secretary of State.

The doctor’s attorney Andre’ Beauregard said Thursday that scheduling an expedited hearing “to consider the validity of the suspension and allegations” was in the works, with no time yet determined. The suspension is effective for 60 days.

When a meeting is convened, “Dr. Villabona is looking forward to the opportunity to finally testify to the Board of Medical Licensure and present additional evidence to refute the allegations.”

According to Mr. Beauregard, “These allegations involve eight patients seen by Dr. Villabona. The treatments go back as far as 2003. All treatments began prior to 2010 except one.”

When it is time to speak, “Dr. Villabona will testify as to the care provided to each individual involved in the allegations, as well as the care he provides to all his patients,” his counsel said.

Additionally, according to Mr. Beauregard, “An expert witness will testify that Dr. Villabona’s treatment of the individuals that are the subject of these allegations was appropriate under the circumstances and consistent with accepted medical practices.”

During testimony, his attorney said, Dr. Villabona will maintain:

• That he has at times accepted prescribed medication from patients and safely stored or disposed on them to protect those patients from any adverse or harmful effects, as is standard in the industry.

• That on two occasions he accepted firearms from patients and stored them in a safe at his office in order to protect those patients from him.

• He will unequivocally deny ever having provided a weapon to a patient, ever buying medication from a patient, ever personally using medication prescribed to a patient, ever providing patients from his office that were not prescribed, or ever bartering his services.

According to Secretary Bullock in the news release, “The facts presented to me in this case demonstrate an immediate danger to public safety, which is the standard that an emergency suspension of this nature must meet.”

The news release claimed Dr. Villabona “was previously disciplined by state licensing authorities in 2003 for unprofessional conduct arising from sex offenses in Maryland to which Mr. Villabona plead guilty. He was disciplined again in 2007 for violating the terms of a 2005 order, which, in part, prohibited Mr. Villabona from treating minor patients in unsupervised settings.

“In 2008, Mr. Villabona entered into a consent agreement with the state that placed certain permanent restrictions on his medical license, including limiting his practice to male patients over the age of 18.”

Mr. Beauregard described the sexual allegations in the doctor’s “distant past” and resolved.

“With the new allegations there are no such allegations,” Mr. Beauregard said. “The new amended complaint is what it is, so he is denying any and all allegations.”

Dr. Villabona has an active medical doctor license issued in 1993.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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