NJ Moves To Suspend License Of NY Cardiologist Accused Of Illegal Distribution Of Painkillers In NY

NEWARK – The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners has acted to immediately suspend the license of Dr. Rohan L. Wijetilaka, of Upper Saddle River, whose New York medical license was revoked in late June, based on findings that he had grossly mismanaged care for seven patients; and who in July was arrested by federal agents in New York State, for allegedly selling painkiller prescriptions, and alleged insurance fraud.

“The documentation reflecting these New York actions – both the revocation relating to his negligent care of patients suffering from life-threatening conditions; and the bar on practice while facing federal drug charges – compel this swift and responsible action, to assure that a dangerous practitioner cannot simply move across the river and endanger New Jersey citizens,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said. “Our foremost concern is the safety and well-being of patients.”

The New Jersey Attorney General’s petition to the board asserted that the facts underlying the revocation of Wijetilaka’s license in New York, and the decision by a New York judge to bar his continued medical practice as a condition of bail, demonstrate that his ability to practice in New Jersey would endanger the public. The suspension of Wijetilaka’s New Jersey license took effect immediately upon being signed this week by the President of the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners. It will remain in effect as the board moves to a final disposition of the case within 60 days.

“New Jersey citizens should not have to fear that doctors who have been proven to pose a threat to public health and safety can evade discipline in another state, by practicing in New Jersey,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said. “We will continue to use all the tools available to assure that the public is safe from incompetent doctors – both those who ignore their patients’ medical needs, and those who illegally prescribe Controlled Dangerous Substances.”

The June 21 revocation of Wijetilaka’s New York State medical license followed a six-day hearing, in which it was alleged that Wijetilaka allegedly had a pattern of seeing patients over several years and ordering tests, while consistently failing to obtain adequate histories or implement appropriate treatment plans.

The New York State Board found that Wijetilaka’s failure to provide his patients with even the most minimal medical care, or give due consideration to the outcome of tests he administered, demonstrated that his sole motivation for seeing patients was his own financial benefit, without regard to patients’ well-being.

The sworn criminal complaint related to Wijetilaka’s July 25 arrest states that, on April 23, Wijetilaka was recorded issuing CDS painkiller prescriptions for two patients – one of whom was not physically present – without examining the patients or identifying any conditions for which the medications were prescribed. His receptionist allegedly accepted cash for the prescriptions. The criminal complaint also states several patients told police that Wijetilaka sold drug prescriptions, in exchange for permission to bill their insurance providers for unnecessary tests.

Wijetilaka was released from federal custody on July 26, upon execution of $200,000 bond. He is prohibited, under the conditions of release, from practicing medicine, including writing prescriptions, while the criminal matter is pending.

The criminal charges against Wijetilaka are merely accusations; he is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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