The state Board of Healing Arts ended a closed-door session Saturday by delaying action for six months on the latest round of ethics complaints against a Johnson County psychiatrist.
Douglas Geenens, trained at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, opened the hearing by declaring he would withdraw a request that the board terminate a 2004 disciplinary agreement resulting from a finding that he crossed professional boundaries by having a sexual relationship with a one-time patient.
Geenens said he would voluntarily remain under medical observation of another doctor.
"I felt it was reasonable to continue with my psychoanalytically based supervision," he said.
The board met with Geenens in executive session before ordering a formal hearing on a series of pending allegations against him. A former business partner and at least two former patients submitted recent complaints.
Responsibility for the upcoming review would fall to a judge at the state Office of Administrative Hearings, which would be expected to issue a decision by September. If that occurred, the board would place Geenens on its October agenda.
"This would give the board the opportunity to know all the relevant facts," said Mark Stafford, the board's general counsel.
Geenens was among four Kansas-licensed doctors profiled in a series in The Topeka Capital-Journal in March. Each had sparked regulatory challenges for the Board of Healing Arts, which regulates more than 20,000 health professionals in Kansas.
The board has been widely criticized for its slow reaction to allegations of professional misconduct.
In early April, the Kansas House and Senate unanimously approved resolutions calling on the 15-member board to institute personnel changes and other reforms to restore public confidence in the agency. The board's top administrators — Larry Buening, executive director, and Stafford — resigned. Stafford departs June 1 and Buening on July 1.
Debbie Holscher, a Johnson County resident and former patient of Geenens, said she filed a formal complaint last week against the psychiatrist. She said one element of her grievance focused on Geenens' instruction — not heeded — to obtain a divorce and move to the Plaza area of Kansas City, Mo., so that Geenens and Holscher could regularly have breakfast together.
"I think it's very unprofessional," said Holscher, who attended Saturday's board meeting in Topeka. "I think he should lose his license."
Holscher stopped attending counseling sessions with Geenens four years ago, but her complaint mirrors the content of complaints filed by other people who were clients of Geenens.
Andrew Jacobs filed a complaint with the Board of Healing Arts after Geenens began an intimate relationship with Jacobs' wife in 2003. During counseling, Jacobs said, Geenens urged Jacobs' wife to get a divorce. Geenens is now married to the woman.
In the consent order signed by Geenens in 2004, the psychiatrist accepted a one-week suspension of his state license and agreed to supervision of his practice for two years. He was publicly censured and required to attend a course on "maintaining proper boundaries" with patients.
Geenens had requested Saturday's hearing with the board to vacate that consent order.
"We received a letter from Dr. Geenens who asked to withdraw his request," said Betty McBride, the board's president.
Geenens holds a full license to practice medicine in Kansas. In September, he closed his clinical office in Johnson County. Geenens agreed in October to "retire" his medical license in Missouri while regulators in that state looked into allegations of his out-of-bounds associations with women.
He continues to see patients privately and remains on the payroll at Pfizer, the world's largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company.
"We can confirm that Dr. Geenens is an employee of Pfizer," said Chris Loder, a company spokesman in New York City. "However, as a matter of company policy, we do not comment on personnel matters."