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Doctor fined over prescriptions

Dr. Gene W. Velasco, of Robbinsdale, was reprimanded for prescribing potentially lethal doses of narcotics.

Article by: Star Tribune

Updated: August 12, 2011 - 8:04 PM

A Twin Cities doctor has been reprimanded and fined for prescribing potentially deadly amounts of narcotics to two patients.

Dr. Gene W. Velasco, of the New Hope Crystal Medical Clinic in Crystal, was ordered by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice to take numerous actions under the terms of his agreement with the state panel.

They include paying a fine of nearly $7,000, maintaining a daily log of all controlled-substance prescriptions and developing procedures for managing and tracking these prescriptions.

The family practice physician also must take instruction in chemical-dependency awareness, chronic-pain management and medical records management.

After two years, Velasco, 63, of Robbinsdale, can request that the board lift the order.

According to board's findings, which Velasco signed:

In February 2010, the board received complaints that Velasco prescribed an excessive quantity of narcotics to two patients, "potentially in lethal doses."

Velasco prescribed the narcotics based on patients' claims of pain, but he failed to make an objective determination, and he also neglected to assess the patients for risk of chemical dependency, toxicity, diverting the drugs or suicide.

He also did not heed warnings from other health professionals about "his patients' excessive or inappropriate use of narcotics," according to the findings.

Telephone messages were left for Velasco seeking his reaction to the board's order.

Velasco attended the University of Minnesota Medical School and has had his license in the state to practice medicine and surgery since 1979. This is his only disciplinary action on file with the board.

PAUL WALSH

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