Health Care

JoCo doctor accused of sex with patients loses Kansas license, can still work in Mo.

Brian Lahey agreed to an indefinite suspension of his Kansas license amid allegations he had sex with patients and committed other violations, but he’s still licensed in Missouri.
Brian Lahey agreed to an indefinite suspension of his Kansas license amid allegations he had sex with patients and committed other violations, but he’s still licensed in Missouri. Johnson County Sheriff's Office

An Overland Park psychiatrist has agreed to an indefinite suspension of his Kansas license amid allegations of having sex with patients and other violations. But he remains licensed to practice in Missouri.

Brian Patrick Lahey took the suspension and agreed to not contest the allegations in a consent order issued Tuesday by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.

“Licensee committed an act or acts of unprofessional or dishonorable conduct by committing an act or acts of sexual abuse, misconduct or other improper sexual contact, which exploited the licensee-patient relationship,” the order says.

The order Lahey signed said he agreed that the board had sufficient evidence to prove the allegations if he didn’t present any defense.

“It’s not the same as saying all the allegations that were ever made in the petitions were true, because I would say that’s not a true thing,” said Lahey’s attorney, Nancy Crawford.

Lahey waived his right to dispute the allegations, and the consent order says the board would take them into account if he ever applies to practice in Kansas again.

The board had been investigating allegations of misconduct with a patient who later became Lahey’s co-worker.

According to the complaints, which were provided to The Star from a source not affiliated with the medical board, Lahey hired the woman to work in his office and prescribed her opioid painkillers “to calm her down.” Multiple complaints say the woman overdosed on the pills and had to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room. She survived.

Lahey told investigators that he was no longer serving as the woman’s psychiatrist when they became romantically involved, but he “occasionally refilled her prescriptions when there was a lapse in followup with her prescriber.”

Lahey was also accused of having sexual relationships with two other female patients. He told investigators that he never had a romantic relationship with one of them and that nothing sexual happened with the other “while existing as my patient.”

The board had issued an emergency suspension of Lahey’s license in July as it investigated those allegations and whether Lahey used marijuana while on the job. The consent order says he continued to practice medicine for a week after that, even though he knew he wasn’t licensed to do so.

He also kept practicing in Missouri, where his license remains intact. He lost his affiliation with Northwest Medical Center, a hospital about 90 minutes north of Kansas City in Albany, Missouri, but was seeing patients at a nearby physician’s office. A message left at that office Thursday was not returned.

Kansas Board of Healing Arts officials said months ago that they reported his emergency suspension to the National Practitioner Data Bank, a federal government database of doctor information, and the Federation of State Medical Boards, a nonprofit organization.

Lori Croy, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, said the board “has no comment at this time” regarding Lahey.

Crawford said Lahey self-reported the July suspension to the Missouri board.

“He has had an office in Missouri pending to see what was going to end up happening with the allegations in Kansas, and it’s my understanding that he’s going to suspend that on his own voluntarily,” Crawford said.

With the nation’s patchwork of state medical boards, it’s easy for disciplinary actions to go unnoticed in other states. That’s particularly a problem in metro areas that straddle two states, like Kansas City.

A Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/MedPage Today investigation last year found at least 500 physicians nationwide who had been disciplined in one state but were practicing with a clean record in another for a variety of reasons. State medical boards aren’t always aware of allegations elsewhere, and even when they are, they can still take months or even years to act.

The Federation of State Medical Boards maintains a website, DocInfo.org, allowing patients to search every state where their doctors are licensed and find out if they’ve been disciplined.

But there’s a lag time in updating the site, and state medical boards don’t have the manpower to search all of their thousands of doctors regularly.

The National Practitioner Data Bank has a “continuous query” feature that allows state medical boards to automatically check for new disciplinary actions against their doctors in other states every 24 hours. But the Journal-Sentinel/MedPage Today investigation found that few states use it.

Related stories from Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star health reporter Andy Marso was part of a Pulitzer Prize-finalist team at The Star and previously won state and regional awards at the Topeka Capital-Journal and Kansas Health Institute News Service. He has written two books, including one about his near-fatal bout with meningitis.
  Comments