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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 14:04 EDT

Yakima Doctor Faces New Charges

August 26, 2008

By Leah Ward

Dr. Rosa Martinez is in trouble with state medical regulators again.

The Medical Quality Assurance Commission alleged in charges made public earlier this month that Martinez, a Yakima physician, has failed to comply with the terms of a 2007 order that found she practiced “below the standard of care” with patients taking prescription narcotics.

Martinez, a solo practitioner, was ordered to work in a group practice or alternatively hire a consulting physician to review her patient records weekly for three months.

The order also required her to complete an evaluation at the Center for Personalized Education for Physicians in Denver and complete six hours of continuing medical education in pain treatment and medication.

As a result, the Medical Quality Assurance Commission, which is part of the state Department of Health, alleges that Martinez has engaged in unprofessional conduct and is subject to sanction, including losing her license.

Martinez, a family practitioner who was licensed by the state of Washington in 1993, practices on West Spruce Street in downtown Yakima.

Martinez will contest the findings, according to her lawyer, J.J. Sandlin. He issued a statement by e-mail, saying the Department of Health has imposed dosage limitations on patients with chronic pain that “adversely impact our local residents who suffer from long- term pain.”

“Dr. Martinez is a dedicated, caring physician who believes her first loyalty is to her chronic pain patients, and she intends to fight the Department of Health with every resource she has,” Sandlin wrote.

In the 2007 order, the state said she created an unreasonable risk for five patients by not monitoring them with blood and urine tests while they were taking narcotics.

Separately, Martinez is awaiting a new trial on charges that she committed health care fraud by attempting to overcharge Medicaid, Medicare and the state workers’ compensation system.

A federal jury last spring found her guilty on eight counts of fraud and not guilty on four counts of practicing outside the scope of her degree by prescribing narcotics to patients with histories of addictions.

The jury couldn’t agree on two other charges of unlawful distribution of narcotics. A judge later formally dismissed those charges.

Leah Beth Ward can be reached at 577-7626 or lward@yakimaherald.com.

Leah Beth Ward

Yakima Herald-Republic

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