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Dr. Vinzenzo Visconti Suspended

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Dr. Vincenzo Visconti’s medical licence will be suspended indefinitely.

Dr. Vincenzo Visconti’s medical licence will be suspended indefinitely on April 27, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta says invoking what it called a “last resort” section of the Health Professions Act, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta announced Friday it will suspend a Sherwood Park doctor from practising medicine “in any respect.”
The college served Dr. Vincenzo Visconti with a letter on Friday that said his licence will be suspended indefinitely as of April 27. The suspension will last until a disciplinary hearing is held; there is not a date set yet for that hearing.
College registrar Dr. Scott McLeod said Visconti’s licence is being suspended under Section 65 of the Health Professions Act.
“We rarely ever do this,” said McLeod. “It’s certainly something that we do only when we have concerns about public safety.”
In a statement released Friday, the college said section 65 is used when a practice “represents a continuing risk to patients.”
Alleged fraud
Visconti, 61, is the sole physician at the Brentwood walk-in clinic in Sherwood Park.
He is currently facing two criminal charges for allegedly defrauding the government of Alberta of more than $5,000 “by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means,” according to court documents.
Visconti appeared in court April 11 to speak to those charges.
McLeod said the suspension is not related to the fraud charges.
“It’s actually ongoing investigations and concerns that we’ve had at the college for a long time. It just happens to unfortunately coincide with that same event,” said McLeod.
Over the next weeks, Visconti will be allowed to see patients in his office from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., the college said.
Patients can call Health Link at 811, where staff will help connect them with other physicians.
“We believe that the care they’re going to get under another physician will be better care,” said McLeod.
Inquest jury to provide recommendations for licence suspension process

McLeod says Visconti had an “unusually large” group of about 3,500 patients. The college is most concerned with a core group of about 300 people who will need to see a doctor in the coming weeks.
In the statement released Friday by the college, Visconti will have limited prescribing ability, cannot take on new patients and cannot initiate any new treatments.
“In most cases, if we can actually help a physician to improve the practice and reduce the risk to the patient population then we wouldn’t apply this kind of suspension,” said McLeod. “But in this case we feel that remediation is not an option.”
Suspended in 2012
In 2012, Visconti’s practice was suspended for 30 days after he was convicted on 31 counts of professional misconduct.
The convictions related to the way he treated nine patients with respiratory issues between 2002 and 2005.
Billing irregularities
The case involved billing irregularities and improper charting, according to court documents.
Court documents also show that Visconti was sued in 2002 for $2.3 million by a number of patients. But it’s unclear whether the case was settled.
McLeod said part of Visconti’s conditions was monitoring for up to 18 months after the suspension.
Patient killed by police in 2015
Visconti was granted “interested party” status in October 2017 at a fatality inquiry into the death of an Edmonton man who was killed by a police officer.

Michael David Perreault was shot to death by an Edmonton police officer in May 2015 after he wounded the officer’s partner with a sawed-off shotgun.
Perreault had a lengthy criminal record and a long history of abusing both legal and illegal drugs.
In the two months before his death, Perreault saw Visconti on 10 separate occasions at his office in Sherwood Park. Seven of those visits were billed to Alberta Health Services as home visits, according to the fatality inquiry report.
Visconti noted that Perreault had a “history of chronic narcotic dependent pain syndrome, cocaine use, and a previous diagnosis of anxiety,” the report said.
Inquiry judge wants police to have more crisis-intervention training in wake of Edmonton shooting

Visconti refilled prescriptions for benzodiazepines, a muscle relaxant and an opiate and wrote Perreault a prescription for fourteen 80 mg tablets of OxyNEO, or equivalent, every seven days in the weeks before his death.

At the time of his encounter with police, Perreault would have appeared impaired, given the combined effects of the prescription drugs he was taking and the methamphetamine he had used, Dr. Craig Chatterton, the deputy chief toxicologist, testified at the inquiry.
One recommendation made by the inquiry judge called on all health care professionals to be more vigilant about monitoring their patients for misuse of opioid pain medications.
One aspect of the opioid crisis in Alberta is “the misuse and diversion of prescription opiate pain medication,” provincial court judge Jody Moher wrote in the fatality inquiry report.