UC-IRVINE: Fraudulent Fertility Doctor Remains on Payroll
Dr. Sergio Stone is still receiving pay from the University of California-Irvine, despite being convicted of fraudulent billing practices in 1997, and a university faculty committee recommended yesterday that he be returned to his job with full medical-staff privileges. Attorney Karen Taillon said that Stone's academic peers "found his criminal convictions did not make him unfit to be a member of the faculty, because he had no intent to do anything wrong." Five years ago, Stone was suspended with pay after medical records showed that stolen eggs and embryos were implanted in other women visiting UCI's Center for Reproductive Health, which Stone helped run. A medical board said Stone's acts were dishonest, but did not jeopardize patients' health. The case is currently under review and a university spokesperson added, "There have been no tenured faculty members fired in the history of UCI." According to the UCI faculty handbook, "commission of a criminal act which has led to conviction in a court of law" qualifies as "unacceptable conduct that could lead to disciplinary action." John Hammand, director of special projects for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said that he has never heard of a conduct review of a tenured professor taking five years, especially one involving a criminal conviction. He said, "Clearly, this is an unusual case. It's surprising the university hasn't taken any action." The university has paid Stone more than $350,000 since being put on leave (Fisher, Orange County Register, 1/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.