CA Medical Board takes action against two Central Coast doctors

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-19 22:25:12-04

By Carina Corral

The California Medical Board took action against two Central Coast doctors this week.

A San Luis Obispo radiologist surrendered his license for allegations of drug abuse and a Santa Barbara family medicine physician was placed on probation for allegations of overprescribing narcotics.

The accusations against San Luis Obispo-based Radiologist Richard Alan Berg date back to 2010. Court documents show he admitted to writing prescriptions for controlled substances to friends and family for his personal use and that in 2016 his drug use caused him to misdiagnose a patient.

In 2014, KSBY News reported Berg was arrested in a statewide sting for soliciting prostitution.

“If I’m not mistaken, that was what triggered our investigation into this particular physician,” said Carlos Villatoro, California Medical Board Information Officer.

The board’s investigation started in 2017 when it says it learned of Berg’s past drug history use. He was ordered to undergo treatment and monthly drug testing.

In May 2017, the board temporarily suspended Berg’s license. He was not allowed to practice medicine until February of this year when he was placed on probation.

“He was issued a cease practice order in May of 2019 because he didn’t comply with the terms of his probation,” Villatoro said.

Court documents show Berg refused to take a drug test. The next month, he surrendered his license and it became effective just this week.

Also this week, Santa Barbara Dr. James Kwako was placed on three years probation.

Court documents allege he excessively prescribed muscle relaxers and Vicodin to a patient, who was also an alcoholic, for more than a year and a half.

“The board placed this particular physician on probation so he is being monitored by a probation officer here at the board,” Villatoro said.

The Medical Board said the two doctors accepted the disciplinary action without admitting guilt.

KSBY News did reach out to Berg and Kwako for comment.

Dr. Kwako did not respond.

Dr. Berg issued a statement saying, in part, that his “… issues with the medical board were strictly of a personal nature. No patients were ever harmed, and my malpractice record was stellar during the course of my successful 30 year medical career. I decided that at age 65 it was time to retire.”