State Medical Board Investigating County Mental Health Service Contractor

One of the companies that supplies San Bernardino County’s mental health, medical and welfare divisions with services is under investigation by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.
The focus of that investigation is Dr. Donald Underwood, who stands accused of cutting corners in formulating treatment protocols and cavalierly dispensing medication together with inadequacy in logging or reporting interactions with patients.
Of particular concern to investigators, according to a reliable source of information, was excessive prescription or over-reliance on the use of painkillers and keeping patient treatment histories that failed to document those prescriptions accurately.
At least some of the accusations against Inland Behavioral and Health Services, based in San Bernardino where it operates three medical clinics in addition to an offshoot in Banning, are an outgrowth of allegations that have become public as a result of legal action filed against the operation by former and current employees.
Inland Behavioral and Health Services, while registered as a nonprofit entity, employs a multitude of well-paid medical professionals. Differences have arisen between some of those employees, as well as the nonprofit’s management. At least 13 current and former employees have filed lawsuits against Inland Behavioral and Health Services. At least five of those suits were settled before going to trial. Eight appear to be active.
One of the company’s vulnerabilities is Dr. Underwood, who is the medical director at the nonprofit. A doctor of osteopathic medicine, he is currently licensed to practice in California, but has either voluntarily surrendered his licensure or had it suspended or revoked in Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, New York and Ohio in the 1980s for fraud, incompetence, medical malpractice and gross negligence.
An element of the complaint lodged against Underwood that has potentially-career ending implication for him, at least in California, is that he wrote undated prescriptions which did not have the patients’ names included.
There have also been unflattering portrayals of Inland Behavioral and Health Services’ chief executive officer, Temetry Lindsey, and chief operating officer, Olaf Neumann, in the narratives of several of those lawsuits.
The clinic remains operational and it has been suggested that the complaints lodged with authorities are a ploy to stampede the clinic into a settlement.
The county has a contract with Inland Behavioral and Health Services, Inc. in the amount of $1,920,675 running from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2019 for substance use disorder services for pregnant women.
The county has a contract with Inland Behavioral and Health Services, Inc. in the amount of $79,180 for recidivism reduction.
In addition the county has a contract running from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019 in a total aggregate amount of $750,000 with High Desert Child, Adolescent and Family Services Center, Inc.; Inland Behavioral and Health Services, Inc.; Inland Valley Drug and Alcohol Recovery Services, Inc.; Matrix Institute, Inc.; Mental Health Systems, Inc.; MFI Recovery Center, Inc.; and Social Science Services, Inc. doing business as Cedar House Life Change Center for the provision of substance use disorder services outpatient treatment services to the county’s Children and Family Services Department clients.
With regard to the county’s contracting with Inland Behavioral and Health Services, David Wert, the county’s official spokesman, said, “It does not appear the services are provided to children nor would involve the prescribing of pain killers. Neither contract involves the prescription of opioids or other pain medications, which is probably why the county is not aware of the investigation you mentioned.”
-Mark Gutglueck

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