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Physician's assistant behind bars

READ MORE: Physician's Assistant Behind Bars
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A local Physician's Assistant was arrested Thursday night. He's charged with illegally prescribing controlled substances.

A joint investigation between Wilmington Police and the State Bureau of Investigation led to the arrest of 62-year old Rocky Carrol Quillen.

Quillen faces multiple charges including two counts of prescribing a controlled substance without a legal medical purpose, and conspiracy to traffic an opiate derivative, called Oxymorphone.

This isn't Quillen's first offense. His medical license was suspended in 2008 for 60 days by the North Carolina Medical Board for illegally writing prescriptions for a family member.

Quillen worked as an independently contracted P.A. at the Dawson Street Family Practice for about six months. He was asked to resign in December due to suspicious activity. In a statement by his supervisor, Dr. Ronald Demas says, "I am very disappointed in Mr. Quillen. I will continue to pray for him and his family." Dr. Demas knew about Quillen's past suspension but believed it was a one-time mistake.

Quillen studied medicine at Kettering College in Dayton, Ohio. He received his medical license in 2000. His license is currently active, but it's up to the Medical Board and police to decide his fate.

Quillen also worked as a Physician's Assistant at the Chicora Urgent Care Center in Supply. He is now in jail on a $150,000 bond. If Quillen is charged with a felony, his license will likely be revoked.

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The Physician Assistant

The Physician Assistant profession has been in existence for thirty years but only in the last decade has the role come to the attention of the general public. The increased presence and autonomy of the Physician Assistant stems from the decreasing profitability from seeing patients. All Physician Assistants must have a supervising physician and an agreement that states what the PA may do under the Physician's supervision. In theory, this sounds like a plausible, effective and safe modality for increasing access to health care while controlling costs. There are several cracks in the foundation so to speak. First, PA education has become a profitable business in and of itself. While the establishment of a medical school requires meticulous care to plan, implement, fund and approve, the rollout of PA schools happens literally overnight with little or no regulatory oversight. The PA profession will argue that the ARC and NCCPA oversee this but in fact, the people who run these "regulatory" bodies are not medical professionals and the two organizations are not state or federal agencies. The state medical boards oversees medical education of doctors but superfluous organizations created by PAs and staffed with administrators (ie head of one group is former telephone company employee) are merely "rubber stamps." The real problem shows up when you look beyond the brochure on these PA schools.In a Medical School where doctors are trained, the faculty hold MD's or PhD's. In a PA school where PAs are trained, they faculty hold Bachelors or Associates degrees. If they have a Masters, it was done by mail order from a company in Nebraska. So, the classroom training of PAs is horrific. The bigger problem is the explosion of new PA schools and the increase in class sizes. College presidents know that PA tuition is 30,000 a year. Starting a new program of 100 students can bring in 3 million dollars annually. Hire a few part-time faculty who work ten hours a week and you have a nice profit center. However, the second year of PA school is "clinical." Because these new schools (and expanding schools) have no relationships with medical centers, the students cannot find suitable clinical sites for training. As such, they are often spending substantial portions of the "clinical year" sitting in their homes studying from books or going to sites that do not meet the requirements for certification. The schools are not properly regulated so the PA students are improperly trained and the schools are making enormous amounts of money. The only people who are hurt by this are patients. I am sure that this person who is identified with Kettering College of the Medical Arts (a vocational technical school in Dayton Oh) is a symptom of a widespread systemic problem with the growing utilization of Physician Assistants.

Kettering PA Program

I would expect nothing less from the stellar PA program at Kettering...they really have their act together. Going about 10 years back this program is still a train wreck... If you can't do, you teach.

understand

this man is not guilty. he has always gone out of his way to help people. he has never tried to take advantage of someones condition. he got his start from going back to college at fifty. to try to take care of people who cannot afford much. he has also tried to help people who have been ignored or are hooked on such drugs as methadone( methadone being an easy out for treatment of pain), mostly from docs who did not take the time to availuate there pain, just wrote theme off as pain seekers. he tried to ween them off of technically prescribtion heroin to save them from a life time addiction. but is being played by a patient who is trying to get out of a drug charge. i know this from being one who fired this person from my practice. rocky is in trouble for trying to be a friend and doc like it used to be. please hear all the story not just what sells people. wish more people were like rocky. ask his patients. by the way he has turned in more drug seekers than any other physician in the southern nc area. this is a good man who is getting takin advantage. from a pcp doctor of 36 years. do not always take heresay as face falue."good man"

What Should Be Expected of a Licensed Physician or P.A.

First, I must agree with the other individuals reply on the statement above. Without regards to the P.A. that has been charged with felonies, the comment above scares me. If this was written by anyone in the medical profession, then god help us all! The incorrect spelling, and totally improper use of the English language is appalling.

However, in regards to licensed physicians, or P.A's, what has become of the Doctor-client "relationship" right. Even in the statement above, though it's an embarrassment, it even states that the P.A. in question has turned in more "Drug Users" than anyone in S.E. N.C. This P.A. aside, many Doctor's seem to have become part of the local sheriff's department's narcotic bureau. If a person seems to have problem with prescription drugs, I believe it is the Doctor's responsibility to not notify law enforcement (unless there is significant proof the person has been re-distributing the medication to others). Instead, the Doctor should have compassion, and treat it like any medical illness, and help the patient seek treatment. Any Doctor who willfully, without care, concern, or forethought, that reports an individual to law enforcement for possible abusing prescription medication, should not be in the medical profession. In such instances, the Doctor is not only not helping the patient, but is actually potentially ruining his life, as N.C. laws regarding seeing more than even one doctor in 30 days for a controlled substance, is a felony. Such Doctor's that show total disregard for patients that are in need of help, should be the one sent to jail for violating their oath of giving the best care to a patient, and for not being a caring human being.

I am very disturbed if you

I am very disturbed if you say you are/were a pcp doctor of 36 years. I would be scared to see you as my doctor as your spelling and grammar are horrible and you stand up for this creep. Greed is all it is.

THis is Horrible,,,Nobody

THis is Horrible,,,Nobody knows what Rocky was doing or to whom he was doing it for..Only the good lord is allowed to sit in judgement of this man..His family need peace and understanding not ridicule and contempt..This is whats wrong with the world today everyone feels like everybody else is entitled to their opinion...I pray for this man and his family..I worked with him many times and found him to be a compassionate man with his patients best interest at heart.

We are not

the bad guys for simply calling it like it is. He's a drug dealer. He was caught... AGAIN!

Yes I am sure it is hard on his family and my heart goes out to them but nothing on this forum brought this on him or them. According to the article this isn't his first time. His license was taken "for illegally writing prescriptions for a family member." hmmm poor "family"!

OK quiz time. Lets all take a moment to consider who brought this on his family.... times up... still Rocky! Still a drug dealer.

As far a judging him he'll get his day to be judged and a jury will have their say as to what his punishment will be. See that's the way it works "down here". And if you think about it that's the way it has always worked.

Oh and by the way..... thanks for YOUR opinion. Yes even you get one.

Rocky Quillen Investigation

First of all, all you know is what the news story told you. I know the Quillen family very well and Rocky was trying to help a patient, not sell drugs. It sounds to me like you'd be part of a lynch mob if you had the opprotunity. You disgust me. Rocky has been charged, NOT proven guilty. You'd just assume hang him now. Get a life and don't believe everything you hear in the "News".

I have sat at the Quillen

I have sat at the Quillen dinner table a few times. At the time Rocky was not the type to use, sell, or write a prescription with out good medical reasons. That does not mean he has not changed. He may also be protecting a family member.

Overindulging a relative

Rocky is absolutely protect a family member who'll go nameless. This is the worst case scenero when u overindulges a relative. It's 2 bad. Rocky is a nice guy. I guess he wasnt thinking to clearly. What a shame.

WOULD YOU TURN IN A MEMBER

WOULD YOU TURN IN A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY? I THINK IT'S A BRAVE THING TO DO FOR HIS SON!

The problem inherent to physician assistants

For many years I have harbored serious reservation about physician assistants. Mr. Quillen is a case in point. I had the unfortunate experience of contact with this individual some years ago. He was unkempt and slovenly and had the audacity to introduce himself as "doctor." Let's be serious. P.A.s are marginally trained and do not even approach the knowledge and/or skills of a real doctor. Unfortunately for the patient, many of these paraprofessionals are allowed to practice entirely unsupervised or with only minimal physician oversight. So is it any wonder that many of these P.A.s actually believe that they are equal to a doctor? Mr. Quillen is just one example of what happens when P.A.s are allowed to essentially practice unrestricted medicine. Quillen was, as I am sure many might agree, an accident waiting to happen. He should have been watched more carefully. But such "accidents" will continue to occur and continue to place the general public in danger unless physicians take their supervisory role more serious when it comes to their "assistants." Quillen is a disgrace and deserves whatever punishment comes his way.

Seriously?

Please....look at the Medical Board Web page and see how many "Real Doctors" are suspended or have their licenses revoked compared to PAs. Time in school, in no way, influences the type of practitioner you become.

As with all professions, there are good and bad.

Your blanket statement about "ALL" Physician Assistants shows your biased opinion.

The reality is there are far more bad docs than PAs.

Do your research!

I agree

There is a practice here that includes both a physician and a physician's assistant. The have both been equally effective in treating me. The physician recognized symptoms that indicated an issue with my thyroid. He ordered the test and he was right on the money. His physician's assistant put me on a medication that helps me rest better when I sleep and I don't have anxiety all day everyday like I used to. It all boils down to the character of the person.

Quillan is an embarrassment

I recently returned from vacation and learned of Rocky Quillen's drug arrest. I am a physician assistant and take serious issue with the statement of Bocephalus. Most of us are dedicated and thoroughly honest health care professionals. Quillen is clearly an exception and not the rule. Many of us have had concerns about Quillen's competence for a long time. His substance abuse has never been a big secret. Likewise, it is common knowledge in the region that Quillen "writes". That is, the drug seekers have him on their hit parade and the word has been out on the street that Quillen writes prescriptions for any controlled substance that a patient requests. This is certainly not the typical practice of the vast majority of P.A.s. One has to then ask the question. Who was supervising Quillen? A P.A.s charts must be co-signed by a physician. This is the law. It seems inconceivable that any physician could review Quillen's charts and not raise a red flag. Luckily, Quillen will be behind bars, where he belongs, and no longer pose a threat to the public. But there will still be renegade and impaired P.A.s out there and, if no one is properly monitoring them, the local druggies will continue to flourish.I suspect that I speak for most P.A.s everywhere. Rocky Quillen is an embarrassment and his behavior is absolutely not reflective of the typical physician assistant.

PAs Unqualified for Complex Cases

Physician Assistant training is usually 2 to 3 years in duration. Unlike physicians, who must complete a minimum of three years of residency after completion of medical school, PAs are not required to complete such residencies. PA training is sufficient to assist physicians as extenders. However, due to lack of formal/clinical training, the autonomy provided to some PAs exceeds their mandate. Complex cases should be seen by a physician. In particular, complex drug abuse related issues should be evaluated and treated by qualified physicians.

P.A in trouble for overly giving out meds

I think that this P.A was doing what hes patients wanted. They came to him for pain and he helped them.Some D.Rs want give you anything but something like you could get over the counter.And you pay up to $150 or more for nothing.they should give you what you want when you are paying that much money.And for you to go to the doctor anyway you must be in a lot of pain.Dont be so quick to judge this man for helping people.

Quick to judge?

Was he your dealer or something? Do you hold vigils for all the drug dealers that get busted or something? Why even pay for seeing any of them then... just run along to your favorite corner and buy straight from a dealer and eliminate the "middle man"!

Where do these people come from?

Are you for real, Jynnifer?

Are you for real, Jynnifer? What kind of a doctor gives patients what they want rather than what they need? This Quillen character was not helping anyone. He was pandering to patients, keeping most dependent or addicted to prescription narcotics. I believe that the oath that doctors take makes them promise to do no harm. Quillen's behavior was certainly harmful to his patients. You don't get a narcotic prescription just because you want one. And if a doctor refuses to give you a narcotic this does not make him uncaring. Just because you pay money to consult a physician does not mean that you should be able to request your drug of choice. That idea is just ridiculous. The real story here is that Quillen was almost certainly abusing narcotics on his own. Why else would he act the way he did? Now that is a very frightening thought. Imagine being treated medically by someone who is stoned. The medical boards need to better monitor these so-called health professional.

QUILLEN WAS NOT A DRUG USER

I HAD A CHANCE TO MEET HIM MANY DIFFERENT TIMES OUTSIDE OF WORK, AND HE WAS NEVER HIGH! OR TRIED TO SELL ANYTHING TO PEOPLE I KNOW! HE HAS AND WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE PATIENTS WELL BEING AT HEART! YES HE MADE A BAD CHOICE, BUT I KNOW FOR A FACT IT WAS TO HELP A FAMILY MEMBER IN NEED! MAYBE HE HAS MADE SOME BAD CHOICES, BUT WHAT DOCTOR OR PERSON HASN'T!? A GOOD DOCTOR IS HARD TO FIND,THAT WILL LISTEN TO YOU AND TELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED INSTEAD OF WHAT YOU WANT!!!! I THINK EVERY DOCTOR SHOULD BE UNDER INVESTIGATED FOR TURNING DOWN PEOPLE WHO WENT TO THESE DOCTORS WHO HAVE REAL PROBLEMS!

Suffering Family Members

Be kind people... there is always more to a story than what you think you know. I am a family member and it breaks my heart to hear the nasty words you are saying about my uncle. Just think about what you are doing. There is more than one life involved here regarding the future of his immediate family; they are all good people with hard pasts and now are left with nothing. So just please be thoughtful before you speak.

I'M SO SORRY THAT YOUR

I'M SO SORRY THAT YOUR FAMILY IS BEING GANGED UP ON! I KNOW THAT HE WAS A GOOD DOCTOR. HE IS BEING MOBBED BY PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW HIM OR UNDERSTAND HIM! WHEN PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO HAVE CHRONIC PAIN ALL OVER, IT'S HARD TO FIND A DOCTOR THAT WILL LISTEN TO YOUR NEEDS, AND TRY TO UNDERSTAND! I WISH YOUR FAMILY AND ROCKY THE BEST! I WILL KEEP U IN MY THOUGHTS! GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF YOU?!

Oh Pul-eeze!!!!! Your

Oh Pul-eeze!!!!! Your "uncle" cannot hide behind the fact that his family had fallen on hard times and use that as an excuse. Get real!! He willfully violated his oath and knowingly broke the law. He knew he had an addiction problem. So why didn't he seek help?The way you defend him, one has to wonder if he was supplying prescription narcotics to YOU? I'm glad that this loser is behind bars.

loser

I hardly beleive that this person is a loser, seriously he went to medical school and got a degree. I to have chronic pain and some doctors don't care how much pain a person is in they simply refuse to prescribe pain medicine. There is a difference between an adict and someone who needs pain medicine on a daily basis to get through the day. I am very lucky that I finally found an awesome doctor that listens to what my problems are and is there to help me. In the past I have went to many doctors that simply did not care how I struggled to just get out of bed. Yeah maybe this guy went the wrong way of doing things but it is nice to know he was a caring doctor. Too bad we dont have more doctors like him that care about his patients and realize some people do need pain medicine that is controlled.

what has this worlome 2

this is very sad when the doctors r in on it they r the 1s that take care of us this addiction 2 pills is really gettin out of control