Six doctors working for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs have been disciplined by a medical licensure board prior to joining the ranks of the state agency.
Some have been cited for sexual misconduct. Others battled drug and alcohol addiction, in some cases for decades. Others recklessly overprescribed potentially dangerous narcotic medications.
Here’s a look at the doctors with disciplinary records who are currently working for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs:
James Kent Robberson
Robberson, who was hired by ODVA in 2013, had been in trouble twice before he joined the staff.
In 2000, he was cited by the state Medical Board for “improper fondling” of at least three female patients during routine exams in his office. Another woman was fondled by Robberson, records show, after he had been told to have a female chaperone in the room with him if he was going to be doing an exam that required physical contact.
At the same time, Robberson also was cited for being addicted to narcotics for a 10-year period, from 1989 to 1999. Records show he was addicted to painkillers and benzodiazepines, which are highly addictive controlled substances used to treat anxiety and other disorders.
Years later, in 2010, Robberson was cited by the medical board for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female employee he was treating for neck and back pain. The woman, a nurse, had become addicted to pain medications, records show, and Robberson was writing her prescriptions to feed her addiction.
An investigation into the relationship revealed that Robberson also was writing prescriptions for pain medications to the woman’s husband, who was one of Robberson’s patients.
In the end, it was revealed that Robberson wrote the woman’s husband 35 prescriptions for hydrocodone in just a year’s time.
Robberson is an employee of the Norman Veterans Center.
Karis Ann Bernhardt
Bernhardt, a medical doctor, was disciplined by the state Medical Board in the years before her employment with the center for substance abuse issues and writing prescriptions for potentially dangerous drugs to her ex-husband, with whom she did not establish a legitimate doctor-patient relationship.
Bernhardt has been cited for admitting to consuming drugs while she was a patient in a rehabilitation center in Maui.
She’s also been caught lying to medical board investigators about attending weekly meetings designed to help her overcome and manage her addiction.
Bernhardt currently works at the Norman Veterans Center.
Whinery, a doctor of osteopathy, has a lengthy history of disciplinary problems in Oklahoma.
Records show that he has worked for Veterans Affairs for quite some time and that he’s had his share of trouble while serving the agency.
In 2011, Whinery appeared to hit a low point. That year, the doctor was arrested on two separate occasions for drunk driving. The arrests happened a day a part, on July 3 and July 4, 2011.
According to records maintained by the Oklahoma Board of Osteopathic Examiners, Whinery was in minor traffic accidents shortly before each arrest. He has since pleaded no contest to two counts of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drawing a one-year suspended sentence on both counts.
Whinery, who began working for the agency in 2000 at the Claremore center, also was cited in 2011 for absenteeism and because he was receiving large amounts of addictive narcotics from a doctor in Norman. He also was cited in 2010 for unlawfully prescribing addictive painkillers to fellow employees at the Claremore Veterans Center.
Prior to joining the staff in Claremore, Whinery was cited for “practicing medicine while impaired on CDS and alcohol,” and for teaming up with a medical doctor in order to gain access to prescription medications. In 1988, he was “charged with being drunk in a public place and carrying a firearm while under the influence of liquor,” board records show.
Records show that Whinery may be in trouble yet again. He is due to appear before the Oklahoma Board of Osteopathic Examiners later in the month, apparently for not complying with the terms of his probation.
Whinery still works at the Claremore Veterans Center.
Williams, a medical doctor, was cited in 1995 for prescribing violations. He has not been disciplined by the medical board since — and he had never been in trouble with the board before that.
According to board documents, Williams was caught writing prescriptions to his wife, although a complaint filed against the doctor does not specify which drugs she was getting.
The complaint also reveals that Williams was allowing staff at his clinic to write prescriptions without his supervision. Following the resolution of the complaint, he was not allowed to supervise physician assistants and was required to develop prescription-writing policies for his practice at the time.
Williams currently works at the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center.
Mooney, a doctor of osteopathy, did not have a history of substance abuse or sexual misconduct like most of the other doctors who come to Veterans Affairs with a mark on their disciplinary record.
According to records on file with the Oklahoma Board of Osteopathic Examiners, Mooney was disciplined because at the time she had not completed her residency program or completed a competency evaluation approved by the board.
A complaint filed against Mooney in 2004 outlines the allegations the doctor was facing at the time.
“Dr. Mooney was enrolled in the residency program at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine ... with the date of the program of July 1, 2001,” an attorney working for the board wrote in the complaint.
“Dr. Mooney was terminated from the program on July 26, 2004, after she failed to have her attending faculty member present during a medical operation which placed the patient at risk for injury.”
The complaint also revealed that Mooney “had shown a consistent behavior of avoiding faculty involvement in her patient care and avoiding educational opportunities with attending faculty.”
“Her attending faculty did not acknowledge her competency to practice as an osteopathic physician and surgeon,” the attorney wrote in the complaint.
“Consequently, Dr. Mooney was terminated from the program.”
Mooney would eventually be cleared of this disciplinary action. In 2010, a board order reveals that she had completed all necessary training and programs required to practice medicine in Oklahoma.
Mooney works at the Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center.
Gordon Scott Jones
Jones, a doctor of osteopathy, was disciplined in 2006 for writing prescriptions to his son and to himself, neither of which is lawful. What medications Jones was providing to his son aren’t listed, but the doctor struggled with an apparent addiction to tramadol, a pain reliever that is not as addictive as hydrocodone and other opiate painkillers.
In June 2005, Jones was involved in a one-car accident, board records show.
“Dr. Jones was found lying across the passenger’s side of the car, was unconscious and with constricted pupils and faint breathing,” wrote Cheryl Vaught, who was president of the Oklahoma Board of Osteopathic Examiners at the time.
“At the scene of this accident, a bottle of medication prescribed by Dr. Jones for another person was found. The medication was tramadol.”
Jones completed rehabilitation in 2006 and does not appear to have been in trouble since then. He currently works at the Claremore Veterans Center.