No trial for SLO doctor arrested for narcotics abuses after DA fails to arraign her in time

December 18, 2018

Dr. Atsuko Rees and Mary Eanes

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A judge dismissed on Monday the felony charges against a San Luis Obispo doctor accused of running a prescription drug pill mill after prosecutors failed to arraign her in time and the statute of limitations expired. [Cal Coast News]

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

Prosecutors charged Rees in May 2018 with six felony counts of prescribing a controlled substance for a non-legitimate purpose. Rees’ arraignment was postponed four times, the last two of which occurred at the request of the district attorney’s office.

On Monday, a San Luis Obispo judge ruled the statute of limitations had passed and dismissed the charges against Rees.

The allegations against Rees arose as medical officials across the United States had been trying to determine if a small number of doctors are responsible for the majority of opioid prescriptions written without legitimate medical reasons. The few doctors implicated, many of whom are known for spending four to 10 minutes with patients before prescribing narcotics, are said to be providing substandard medical care as they rake in between $100 and $200 for each medical visit.

For $150 a month, Rees allegedly provided monthly prescriptions for patients seeking narcotics. As Rees allegedly pedaled opioid prescriptions, SLO County promoted her medical practice on its website, offering $50 discounts to patients who mentioned the county.

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

In 2012, the California Attorney General’s Office filed an accusation brought against Rees by the state Medical Board for 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, 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.

Then in May, the state Attorney General’s Office filed another accusation and a petition to revoke her probation, which could lead to Rees losing her medical license. In the latest accusation from the state, Rees was accused of gross negligence; repeated negligent acts; failure to properly maintain records; prescribing controlled substances without an adequate examination; and incompetence.

A state Department of Consumer Affairs database lists Rees’ medical license as delinquent Rees’ license renewal fee has not been paid, and she is not currently allowed to practice medicine. Rees’ license was set to expire on Sept. 30, according to the database.


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jimmy_me

Let the doctors do their job. I have constant trouble getting my spouse required daily medication because of rules placed on doctors as a result of the “opioid epidemic”. When I was going through radiation treatment, the radiation oncologist would not write me a referral for medical cannabis because he was afraid the feds would raid his practice. Yeah, I had to give Dr. Rees a pile of money for a short visit, but at least someone had the guts to do the right thing. If you’re going to cast blame here, aim it toward the people abusing the drugs. Incompetent law enforcement at all levels doesn’t help anyone and ends up hurting people with legitimate needs for medications.


Rambunctious

Dr. Atsuko Rees and Mary Eanes are good caring care givers that care about people living in pain…I have a friend that lived a longer happier life due to their care even though at the time I felt differently…Those two women proved me wrong…leave them alone..they are not drug peddlers…


Side_Show_Bob

So our government, both Federal and Local, parrot the issues of an Opioid Epidemic and how terrible it is and that something needs to be done IMMEDIATELY. A classic example of illegal abuse rises to top and they don’t do sh** about it.


And we’re supposed to maintain some sort of faith in government to protect its citizenry? California…where law abiding citizens are controlled and taxed to death but criminals run free with immunity. This place is truly a craphole and just getting worse. Just keep electing Democrats, it shouldn’t take too much longer before only the elite class and tthe criminal class rule.


mkaney

Sorry Josh but I think you’re completely off the mark here. There are many many people that speak very highly of Dr. Rees. However, she became a target of local law enforcement because she was provided marijuana prescriptions very liberally when it was only available medicinally. I wouldn’t trust anything law enforcement has to say about her and I would dig a little deeper. In fact I would suggest to you that the D.A. didn’t file because they were smart enough to see through the manipulative language being used by the police to confused people between what were offenses related to opiate prescriptions and marijuana prescriptions.


Please dig deeper and I believe you’ll have a fascinating story about law enforcement corruption.


sweethome

mkananey Right on! And Amen to your statement!


sweethome

Good for Dr. Rees! I’m sick the of “war on drugs”. Find a real criminal. Like maybe SLO “”law enforcement”.


Mjd

some lazy DA work right there


kayaknut

DA Dan Dow asleep at the wheel again.


JordanJ

How many cases are law enforcement going to work hard on only to have no prosecution because of a DA who doesn’t care about justice.


First, you have the bank robbers who beat a person released because Dow didn’t do an arraignment. He blamed a lack of evidence, but the Paso chief of police said his officers provided plenty of evidence.


Then you have a cop accused of rape, the sheriff deputies determine he should be charged, and Dow says no.


Dow failed to prosecute John Wallace in so time that most charges had to be dropped and the public could not get financial restitution.


A doctor getting people addicted to opioids should have been important enough to remember the statute of limitations. But Dow is focused on bicycle thieves. Why did a man who stole a bike get 7 years while this doctor who has ruined many lives gets off?


You have one of the DA’s employees lying on the stand about their education and Dow says it is ok, everyone lies in court, what is the big deal.


In Lassen County, a highly-principled DA has started a perjury unit to bring justice back to the court system. But how can Dow go after perjury when his staff also commits the same crime?


rukidding

How does this happen? And unfortunately no one will be held accountable and the drug epidemic will go on. Went to her once at a MediQuick in Atascadero years ago and it was quite evident she was a quack, never went back.