North County, RI (WPRI) – Rhode Island has suspended a North Providence doctor’s license after an investigation concluded that he had “recklessly” exposed his patients and staff to COVID-19.
The State’s Medical Licensing Board and Discipline Commission have determined that Dr. Anthony Farina, who owns at least six medical clinics in Rhode Island, “poses an immediate danger to the public.”
After reviewing the investigation, Dr. Nicole Alexander Scott, RI’s Director of Health, has ordered that Farina’s license be suspended. It concluded that the evidence shows that “the continuation of Farina in the practice will pose an immediate danger to the public and that public health, safety and well-being necessarily require emergency measures,” according to the order.
An investigation began with Farina, who graduated from Brown University School of Medicine in 1991, after a series of complaints were filed against him by former patients and staff.
Complaints date back to 2018 and range from not sending a previous patient’s medical records to prescribing opioids for an immediate family member. But the most recent four complaints – which ultimately led to his work being suspended – revealed that Farina had become a symptom of COVID-19 in November and had continued to work.
“He had a cough, fever, etc. He kept staying at the clinic. He tested a few days later and was positive.” [for COVID-19]. He is still in the clinic. One of the complainants claimed to knowingly saw the patients and infect the office.
Another complainant claimed that Farina was not always wearing an N-95 mask while seeing patients.
The complainant said: “The virus was transmitted to the employees.” “I think that was the wrong thing to do.”
The complainants also claim that Farina “suffers tantrums” and “shoots people at once”.
Farina, who testified before the investigative committee in January, considered his initial symptoms as a sinus infection and said he was treated in an urgent care clinic.
The commission of inquiry wrote: “He specifically mentioned that he was not coughing and had no fever and that, otherwise, he was fine.”
Farina told the investigation committee that he was not offered a COVID-19 test based on his symptoms. Later, witnesses who “had first-hand knowledge of the facts related to this matter” learned that urgent care recommended that he be tested for the virus, but he refused.
Farina said that after he recovered from his sinusitis, he started experiencing new symptoms and eventually tested positive for COVID in early December, according to the health complaint. Since then, he has said, “He was properly isolated and wore an N-95 mask when he was in the office.”
A witness told the commission of inquiry while Farina was wearing an N-95 mask, his nose was uncovered. The witness also claimed that Farina met the employees while he was supposed to isolate and create a “hostile work environment”.
The investigation concluded that the witnesses were reliable, and that Farina was not.
The board said Farina’s actions were in direct violation of state law regarding unprofessional behavior, and he acted recklessly when he refused to undergo a COVID-19 test.
In a statement to 12 News, Farina denied the allegations about the investigation committee order.
He said, “As a doctor, my first responsibility is to not do harm, and I take this section very seriously.” “I want to reassure all of my patients that I will not put them in any harm.
Farina said that he intends to appeal the decision to suspend him, adding that he is confident that “he will be completely acquitted of these false and misleading allegations.”
This isn’t the first time Farina has been deemed inconsistent with the nation’s COVID-19 states. Rhode Island Entrepreneurial Department ordered Farina To temporarily close his clinic in North Providence last July After I failed the inspection.
At the time, Farina described the non-compliance order issued against his company as “unnecessary and cruel” and said the violations issued were “simply imprecise.”