11,000 tablets of Oxycodone: Illinois physician’s license is on the line

Gregory M Bulava MD
Gregory M Bulava MD

This week the medical disciplinary board of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (“IDFPR”) was scheduled to hold a hearing on the status of Dr. Gregory M. Bulava, MD’s license to practice medicine in Illinois. The IDFPR temporarily suspended Bulava’s license upon accusations he prescribed over 11,000 Oxycodone painkiller pills to an individual patient. The IDFPR can suspend a professional license, on a temporary basis, when there is a report of wrongdoing. In this case the report suggested Bulava lied to the US DEA when they investigated him. According to the complaint, Bulava, “Told them that the people whose names were on the prescriptions were patients of his who were hurt on the job or were involved in vehicle accidents.[i]

Be aware that private professional listing sites are not primary sources of information about a professional’s license status.

Dr. Bulava can be found on several healthcare industry ratings websites as a board certified family practitioner, in many cases with positive ratings[ii]. Note that as of the 26th of November 2013, the date of this entry, Dr. Bulava appears on websites to be a practitioner in good standing despite the fact that the state has temporarily suspended his license. This is important to highlight for consumer shopping for physicians. State licensing boards such as the IDFPR are primary sources of licensing and inquiries as to the professional’s license history. Private websites, while often containing patient reviews, are not the primary source for determining is the physician is actively licensed to practice.

There are many published articles identifying the abuse of painkillers, specifically oxycodone (often known by brand-named OxyContin). An article on the popular and consumer-friendly WebMD site, Dr. Drew Pinsky (famous of the Loveline radio show) is quoted as stating, “What makes OxyContin dangerous is not only that it’s addictive, it can also be lethal…It makes you feel you can tolerate more, but it can precipitate respiratory failure, especially when used with other drugs like alcohol or benzodiazepenes.[iii]

Instructions on looking up a professional’s license status with the IDFPR:

"The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Friday that Gregory M. Bulava provided the person with prescriptions in the names of people who were never the doctor's patients."
AP: “The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation said Friday that Gregory M. Bulava provided the person with prescriptions in the names of people who were never the doctor’s patients.”

To search for a professional and reports of misconduct you can visit www.idfpr.com then use the “License Look Up” link that appears under the “Agency Quick Links” section in the upper left column of the IDFPR home page. When you click on “License Look Up” you will be directed select the profession in the drop down list, in this case, select Physician. Next, enter the last name, Bulava, and click/tap the “Search” button. The results showing as of the date of this article, the licensee’s name, Gregory M. Bulava MD has multiple licenses and their status is suspended. There is a button on the right of the search result grid for Dr. Bulava with a “Y” on the icon reading “Ever Disciplined?” When you click on that yes icon, you are directed to the page identifying “Temporary Suspension – 11/22/2013 – License temporarily suspended for non-therapeutic prescribing of controlled substances.”

If the IDFPR continues the suspension and takes further disciplinary actions, that information may be included in IDFPR monthly disciplinary reports that contain information that is more specific. By way of example, click/tap here to view the IDFPR monthly disciplinary report for October 2013. When the IDFPR makes its disciplinary report, if any, in this case, further information will be listed on the website and this blog will be updated at that time.

Conducting due diligence on current or new professionals with whom you wish to hire or associate can help prevent surprises down the road. Knowing that third party website hosts do not inherently know the status of a professional’s license is important and creating diligence habits can make us all safer when we work with professionals required to be licensed to practice their craft.

Michael V. Favia & Associates assist professionals with analysis and representation on IDFPR matters ranging from professionals new to Illinois and currently licensed Illinois professionals facing potential discipline. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a discrete meeting with an attorney at your convenience and discretion. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates’ professional licensing work, please visit www.IL-Licensing.com and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

[ii] Website listing, Healthgrades.com: Dr. Gregory M. Bulava, MD (cache link: click here)

[iii] WebMD: OxyContin: Pain Relief vs. Abuse.