SLO doctor accused of operating prescription drug mill

May 4, 2018

Dr. Atsuko Rees and Mary Eanes


A San Luis Obispo doctor with a history of dispersing drugs without performing the required medical exams was charged Wednesday with six felony counts associated with running a pill mill is also facing losing her medical license. [Cal Coast Times]

In response to a complaint to the California Medical Board that Dr. Atsuko Rees was over prescribing narcotics to her patients, the medical board opened an investigation jointly with the San Luis Obispo Police Department. In 2015, three undercover officers were able to get narcotic prescriptions from Dr. Rees, a physician at Rees Family Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. In each case, Dr. Rees failed to follow medical protocols before dispensing narcotics.

The allegations come as medical officials across the country are asking if a small number of doctors are responsible for the majority of opioid prescription written without legitimate medical reasons. These few doctors, many known for spending four to ten minutes with patients before prescribing narcotics, are said to be providing sub-standard medical care as they rake in between $100 to $200 for each medical visit.

For $150 a month, Dr. Rees allegedly provided monthly prescriptions for patients seeking narcotics. While the county promoted Dr. Rees’ business on its website, offering $50 discounts to patients who mentioned the county, Dr. Rees was allegedly pedaling opioid prescriptions.

In 2010, CalCoastNews exclusively reported on allegations that Dr. Rees had been writing medical marijuana recommendations for almost anyone who asked, while not claiming the bulk of payments for the visits as income.

Former coworkers accused Dr. Rees of seeing as many as 60 to 70 patients on so-called “marijuana Fridays.” Both Dr. Rees and Mary Eanes, a physician’s assistant Dr. Rees continues to work with, would approve patients’ medical marijuana status. However, to comply with California law, Dr. Rees would sign off on patients as if she had seen each patient personally, former co-workers said.

In 2012, the California Attorney General’s Office filed an accusation brought against Dr. Rees by the Medical Board of California for the following seven causes of discipline: gross negligence in the care and treatment of patients, repeated acts of negligence, incompetence, creation of false medical records, employing a person to procure patients, giving rebates for patient referrals, and failure to use her name in advertising.

In 2014, Dr. Rees agreed to a stipulated settlement and disciplinary order in which she lost her license for 45 days and was placed on five years’ probation.

“It is hereby ordered that Physicians and Surgeons Certificate No. C 41745 issued to respondent Atsuko Rees M.D. is revoked,” the settlement says. “However, the revocation is stayed and respondent (Dr. Rees) is placed on probation for five years on the following terms and conditions.”

On Wednesday, the California Attorney General’s Office filed another accusation and a petition to revoke her probation which could lead to Dr. Rees losing her medical license. In the latest accusation, the state accuses Dr. Rees of gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, failure to properly maintain records, prescribing controlled substances without an adequate examination and incompetence.

Dr. Rees is not in custody, and is continuing to see patients at her office on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo.

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I don’t know all the facts, and coincidentally I cannot find any hard evidence against this doctor. All I read is accusations, so I cannot judge unless I see any real evidence or court rulings. I have visited Dr. Rees in the past and I had no problems with her. She was the only doctor who would spend time answering my questions, versus doctors who have a rushed 5 minute conversation with me and bills me $100 for useless advice and wasting my time. If you want more doctors who don’t care and charge you however they please, then you’re in luck. We have plenty. I have received prescriptions from doctors that are highly regulated. I’m sure my doctor would stop my prescription if I abused it through monitoring, but I would also hold myself accountable. Despite opposition, some of these medications are drugs that help people, not just for people to abuse.

This office violated the standard of care when it comes to suboxone. They did not do the evaluation as indicated by the Medical Board. Another doctor there also had Dr. Rees sign off on prescriptions because he didn’t have the DEA or Medical Board certification, without any medical exam done. Literally had an appointment at 1140 and it was already filled at 1200.

What isn’t being said here is that until this type of chit started happening in the predominately white suburban neighborhoods in the country. like SLO, where “good white folks” started droppin’ like flies from prescriptions, no body gave a rats arse about this type of activity.

This “doctor”, if found guilty, should face the maximum amount of time allowed by law; she took a position of trust and used it to not only financially benefit from but she did so at the risk of her patients. I also, wonder why was it almost three years between the investigation that found she was over-prescribing medication and the ultimate charges filed this past Wednesday. I also wonder if there can be any deaths tied to her over prescribing.

Cannabis based pain killers are on their way, let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later…

Ppffftttt….Felony crimes…. yeah whatever. They used to mean something bad. Now a days ya Just pay off the judge or whoever and your back in biz in Hell’s little green acres.

Unless you are a SLO police officer coming across the boarder with bags of pills, you then get a paid vacation while a investigation is being done and then keep your job, probably even a raise.

I went to this quack a few years ago, The care was very questionable. But besides that why has this dope dealer not been arrested and jailed? If on the street she certainly would have or should have been arrested and jailed.