Ontario doctor with history of fraud, misconduct resigns, will not practice in province again

A 70-year-old family physician has been found guilty of offences considered "disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional."

Investigations determined the doctor had engaged in professional misconduct

A Windsor, Ont. family physician has resigned from the college and agreed to never practice medicine in Ontario again after allegations and investigations determined he had engaged in professional misconduct. (YouTube)

A Windsor, Ont. family physician has resigned and agreed to never practice medicine in Ontario again after allegations and investigations determined he had engaged in professional misconduct.

Practice restrictions, suspensions and investigations

As of March 17, 2017, Dr. Thomas Barnard's practice was restricted to certain aesthetic and cosmetic procedures, and he was suspended for four months. Barnard arranged for a nurse to cover his practice at Fresh Medical Spa during his suspension. 

According to Barnard, he arranged for a "physician colleague" to supervise the nurse — Fresh Medical Spa was not told of this arrangement. 

A surprise inspection by compliance case managers from the College of Physicians and Surgeons on April 5, 2017, where the nurse was performing ten cosmetic injections. The supervising physician was not aware injections were being performed. 

As a result, the CPSO asked dermatologist Dr. Nowell Solish to look at issues surrounding the delegation of Barnard's practice. Solish found treatments had been performed by the nurse without supervision — patients had not been seen by a physician in charge. 

Part of Solish's investigation also revealed expired Botox had been injected in a patient.

Improper billing practices

In 2009 and 2010, the Ontario Provincial Police and CPSO investigated Barnard for improper billing practices.

The OPP conducted a 33-month-long investigation into Barnard's billing practices, some of which included billing for more hours of time-based services than there were hours in a day.

  • November 17, 2009: Billed for 42.7 hours of time-based services ($5,690).
  • November 18, 2009: Billed for 36.97 hours of time-based services ($4,975).
  • November 19, 2009: Billed for 32.23 hours of time-based services ($4,309).

Between December 21, 2009 and September 9, 2010, Barnard billed for more than 24 hours of time-based services on 138 days. 

In May 2010, Barnard was arrested by the OPP and charged with two counts of fraud. He was charged with two more counts of fraud in November 2010.

These criminal fraud charges were withdrawn in May 2017 after Barnard agreed to plead guilty to one count of "knowingly obtaining or attempting to obtain payments for an insured service" that he was not entitled to.

By the time he pleaded guilty, Barnard had already agreed to not bill OHIP for services and pay a $600,000. He paid the fine in full by June 2017.

Drugs prescribed by Barnard contributed to 2012 death

The Chief Coroner for Ontario sent the CPSO a letter in October of 2012, alleging that Barnard had contributed to the death of one of his regular patients. 

The report from the coroner said the death was caused by multi-drug toxicity, and that some of those controlled substances had been prescribed by Barnard. 

The College asked another family doctor to look into Barnard's practice. That doctor found Barnard "demonstrated a lack of skill and did not meet the standard of practice."

As a result, Barnard was restricted from prescribing narcotics and other controlled drugs. 

A June 23 hearing by the Discipline Committee for the CPSO found Barnard guilty of an offence relevant to his suitability to practice. Barnard has since resigned from the CPSO and will not seek to practice medicine in Ontario again.