Owner of Village Veterinary Clinic is not licensed

By | December 22, 2023

Dec. 21 – The Tennessee Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners – the veterinary panel for the state – unanimously denied on Dec. 13 an application for a state license filed by the owner of Village Veterinary Clinic located at 4965 Peavine Rd.

The vet can submit a new application at any time, lawyer Tim Peters told the board.

Kari Anne Jenkins Bechler appeared before the seven-member panel where a hearing was held on her application.

Peters outlined what state officials learned during their investigation into non-compliance with state law regarding practicing veterinarians. Problems included performing between 100 and 500 surgeries since June without a license, failing to have the new office inspected by the state, not having a license prominently displayed in the office and practicing as a veterinarian licensed in 2023 despite not having a permit.

Bechler explained how a series of misunderstandings and incidents led her to believe she was operating the veterinary clinic, despite not having a veterinary license or a Drug Enforcement Administration license to dispense medications in her practice.

Peters told the board at the Dec. 13 hearing: “This is an unusual case,” with “strange circumstances,” as he outlined the findings of an investigation into the practice. What piqued the state’s interest was a state permit application filed by Bechler in June. The passage of time over the past two years has been a red flag for the state.

The surrender of the vet’s DEA number, which allowed for the distribution of medications – including controlled substances – prompted a visit to the clinic on what could be described as a fact-finding mission.

Bachelor addressed the board and stated that she had moved her practice from a mobile veterinary clinic in the Savannah, GA area to Tennessee, where she joined the practice of retired veterinarian Dr. Dan Woodward had purchased. The clinic was moved from a rental property to a nearby building on Peavine Rd. near Fairfield Glade.

Bechler said she allowed her Georgia license to expire with the move and that she believed the formality of the application process in Tennessee was in good standing and she continued her practice. She later discovered there had been a “mess in the paperwork.”

Bechler said she was trying to get three licensed emergency veterinarians to cover the practice while trying to resolve the licensing paperwork issue. She admitted that when some of her veteran assistants didn’t show up for work, she would handle cases despite not being licensed in Tennessee.

Bechler added that she learned there was a problem with her DEA number when a client “suddenly had trouble getting medication from a pharmacy” and couldn’t find her DEA number in her file. She believes the pharmacy, and possibly one person, reported her to the state.

When Bechler purchased an X-ray machine for the new office, the state X-ray licensing agency inspected her site. But the state board of veterinarians was never called to inspect the new building, as required by law.

Despite her belief that the 2021 application process was underway, Bechler was unable to provide documentation that she had sent the required licensing fees with her application. She told the panel that she only had a missing check from her checkbook, but that check had never been cashed.

She added that other documents – including her diploma – were lost when a storage room was flooded in December 2021. She admitted that she had not contacted the board about her license.

After the local pharmacy refused to fill her prescription for a client, Bechler told the board that she ordered prescription drugs from a supplier in Florida and had them shipped to her home in Georgia, where she had a friend living. She then periodically made the 16-hour drive to pick up the medications and return to Tennessee with them. None of the drugs involved were scheduled or controlled drugs, she added.

She said she performed surgeries with uncontrolled drugs. She later added that she had not been to the clinic since October.

Peters told the panel there were two things the board should be concerned about. “One is that the application had the flaws that we are talking about, and the explanation of what happened, and then what the practice did and how it was carried out without a permit …”

Peters was asked by a board member if there were any other legal proceedings underway and Peter replied, “No,” but added that this was not the function of the application process.

“Are you feeling good about what’s going on today?” Bechler was asked by a board member.

She replied, “No.”

The board member went on to say that the purpose of the board was to “protect the people from unscrupulous, inappropriate, illegal activities and it’s pretty clear that everything that’s come out today is not legal in many respects, and I don’t have a good feeling about it about.” what I hear…”

“We know that the animals of Crossville need good veterinary care, and this board wants that for the people of Crossville and we cannot determine whether you are a good vet or a bad vet, but we can determine that your actions are not good And I do believe that we have to protect the people and there are a lot of things that have to happen before you come back to this board and ask for a license.”

That board member then submitted the proposal to refuse the permit. The motion was approved unanimously.

Board members present were Dr. Angela Zinkus, Dr. Montgomery McInturff, Dr. Mark Garrett, Dr. Cathryn Yuma’s, Dr. Sarah Spidel, Dr. Samantha Beaty (state veterinarian), all licensed veterinarians, and Leslie Wereszcak, a licensed veterinary physician. technician.

In September, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office was asked to investigate a report that Belcher used the credentials of a semi-retired veterinarian to perform animal care and write prescriptions.

The complainant further said the individual used the complainant’s name and the names of other veterinarians to write prescriptions that were passed and filled at pharmacies in Crossville for at least two years.

Reportedly, a veterinarian license could not be established in Tennessee in the name of the person practicing as a veterinarian, according to an incident report filed by Capt. Jeff Slayton. The state was notified.

Returns for comment from Robert West, director of the Tennessee Department of Health’s Bureau of Investigation, and Dr. Belchler were not returned by press deadline.

Michael Moser can be reached at mmoser@crossville-chronicle.com

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