The state disciplines health care providers

Contact: Sharon Moysiuk, Communications 360-549-6471
Public Inquiries: Health Systems Customer Service 360-236-4700

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Health has taken disciplinary action or withdrawn charges against the following health care providers in our state.

The Department’s Health Systems Quality Assurance Division works with boards, commissions, and advisory committees to establish accreditation standards for more than 80 health professions (eg, dentists, nurses, counsellors). Information about disciplinary action taken against physicians and physician assistants is available on the Washington Medical Commission (WMC) website. Questions regarding WMC disciplinary action can be sent to media@wmc.wa.gov.

Information about health care providers can be found on the agency’s website. Click “Find a Healthcare Provider License” in the “How Do I?” section of the Department of Health website (doh.wa.gov). The site includes information about a health care provider’s license status, title expiration and renewal date, disciplinary actions, and copies of legal documents issued after July 1998. This information is also available by calling 360-236-4700. Consumers who believe a health care provider has acted unprofessionally are encouraged to call and report their complaint.

King’s County

In May 2022, the Unauthorized Practice Program notified Christine Helkey of his intention to issue a cease and desist order. Helkey ‚Äč‚Äčreportedly presented herself as a physician, specifically a cardiothoracic surgeon, but never held such a title.

In June 2022, the Health Secretary terminated the terms of the drug addiction professional trainee license of Denis Edward Jesse Le Clech (CO61026236).

In June 2022, the Board of Nursing charged an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse Sandra J. Kennedy (AP30003689-NP, RN00099564) with unprofessional conduct. Kennedy allegedly failed to comply with a request for an explanation and records from the Board of Nursing, and did not respond to a subpoena.

In June 2022, the Health Secretary reinstated the licensed practical nurse license of Tiffany Briana Lofton (NA60453795).

In June 2022, the Board of Nursing charged a licensed practical nurse Carlos Garzilazo (LP60643011) with unprofessional conduct. Garzilazo allegedly misadministered medication to several patients. Garzilazo administered diazepam intended for one patient to another, did not administer insulin to a patient who was due to receive it, and applied a clonidine patch to a patient a day earlier.

Pierce County

In June 2022, the Board of Nursing charged a licensed practical nurse Jennifer L. Hanks (LP60101088) with unprofessional conduct. Hanks allegedly withdrew controlled substances, including oxycodone, without documenting the administration or wastage of the drugs.

In June 2022, the Substance Use Disorders Professional Program charged a Chemical Dependency Professional (now a Substance Use Disorders Professional) Sonia Catherine Kim (CP60777107) with unprofessional conduct. In 2017, Kim pleaded guilty to a count that included conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine in federal court. She reportedly did not report her conviction when renewing her credentials.

Spokane County

In June 2022, the Secretary of Health conditionally granted an agency-affiliated counselor title for Joseph Avila (CG61181911). He has been convicted of multiple alcohol-related driving charges since 2006, including two reckless driving charges in Spokane City Court in October 2021.

In June 2022, the Dental Commission terminated the conditions of the dental license of Robert Manuel Pinon (DE60501352).

In June 2022, the Caregiver Program billed the Certified Caregiver Shanna Marie Whitaker (NC60076819) with unprofessional conduct. The charges say Whitaker has not responded to allegations that she had an inappropriate relationship with a patient at the psychiatric hospital where she worked.

out of state

Oklahoma: In June 2022, the Board of Nursing charged a licensed practical nurse Tracy Lynn Hudson (LP60636125) with unprofessional conduct after the Oklahoma Board of Nursing severely reprimanded Hudson and demanded that certain conditions be met, based on Hudson’s misuse of controlled substances.

Oregon: In June 2022, the Substance Use Disorder Professional Intern program charged a Substance Use Disorder Professional Intern Jaimie Brianne Nelson (CO61146060) with unprofessional conduct. Nelson did not respond to a Health Department investigator’s request for an explanation of a complaint filed against Nelson.

Montana: In June 2022, the Board of Nursing rejected the application for a registered nurse license from Jeremy Jacob Morast (RN61204203). In 2020, Morast bit his 16-year-old daughter in the face for not doing her chores. The Board had required a substance abuse and psychological evaluation as part of the application, but Morast did not submit the evaluations.

Utah: In June 2022, the Board of Nursing and Registered Nurse Stone of Verona Ashley (RN60279309) has reached an agreement that reinstates Stone’s license with conditions. Stone must participate in the admissions process with a substance use monitoring program.

Note to editors: Health care providers accused of unprofessional conduct have 20 days to respond in writing to the Department of Health. The case then enters the settlement process. If no disciplinary agreement can be reached, the matter will proceed to a hearing.

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