Wewoka Doctor Indicted

In Kansas Drug Conspiracy

Cimarron Memorial authorities sever ties with ex-physican just in time

The following article ran last week in the Wewoka Times. The doctor in question had been in negeotions with Cimarron Memorial to establish a Federally Qualified Health Clinic.  According to acting CFO Keren Jenssan, their professional relationship was severed “quite a while ago.”

 

By WIL C. FRY

Associate Editor

Wewoka resident Dr. Wilbur D. Hilst was hit with a federal indictment recently, accusing him of illegally operating a so-called internet pharmacy.

Hilst, 75, and his wife Margaret Anne Hilst, 76, are charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of unlawfully distributing controlled substances, according to federal documents.

The indictment also names pharmacists Jerry L. Lovern, 67, and computer technician Robert J. Barron, 36, both of Wichita, Kan.

In a separate filing, the U.S. government is seeking the forfeiture of more than $700,000 from the Hilsts, who still list their residence as 1 Ridgeline Dr., Wewoka.

According to Wewoka city records, Dr. Hilst quit paying water bills for the Wewoka Regional Medical Clinic sometime last year, and the city shut off water to the clinic in February. The records show that the home’s water bill is still being paid.

According to U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren, the four defendants are accused of illegally distributing prescription drugs through an internet pharmacy once located in Wichita, Kan.

The defendants were set to appear in federal court tomorrow for an initial appearance.

An attorney for part-time pharmacist Lovern said his client had nothing to do with the organization and operation of Red Mesa Pharmacy.

In a news release of Melgren, the U.S. attorney said, “The indictment charges that customers who had no contact with prescribing physicians obtained controlled substances unlawfully from Red Mesa Pharmacy in Wichita, which was owned by Dr. Hilst and his wife.”

The prosecutors allege that customers of Red Mesa hadn’t had any contact with doctors before getting the prescription drugs.

According to the indictment, doctors outside of Kansas authorized the order of the drugs for people who filled out an online medical questionnaire set up by Integra Rx and Safe Trust Processing.

Customers reportedly paid Integra Rx and Safe Trust Processing through the website, and these companies then forwarded money on to Hilst and Red Mesa.

According to federal prosecutors, Hilst and Red Mesa distributed 9,256 orders in less than four months, from December 2005, to March 2006 (at the same time Hilst was supposedly operating the clinic in Wewoka).

The indictment cited two specific drugs: Ambien (for insomnia) and phentermine (a stimulant sometimes used for weight loss).

The American Medical Association requires that a doctor have personal contact with a patient before issuing a prescription.

The federal indictment isn’t the first trouble Hilst has found himself in, according to a variety of government sources.

As early as 1991, Hilst was sued by Safeway U.S. Holdings for more than $10,000, in Tulsa County District Court. Court records show that the case was settled out of state, in Kansas.

In 1999, Hilst found himself in legal trouble in Oklahoma County, when he was issued a traffic ticket for failure to wear a seatbelt. Court records show that the doctor failed to appear on two separate occasions, and so a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. According to court records, the warrant still stands.

Then, in 2001, Hilst was charged in Texas County (Oklahoma) with a felony bogus check charge. After failing to appear, a warrant was issued, which also apparently is still in effect.

March 2003 was another bad month for Hilst, as two separate suits were filed.

In Oklahoma County, he was sued by the State of Oklahoma’s Medical Licensure board for civil relief (though the cause of the case wasn’t immediately available). Court records show that Hilst’s wages were garnished to the tune of $6,298.02 over the course of the next year as a result of the case’s settlement.

Also in March 2003, Hilst was sued in Seminole County. PHI Financial Services filed a claim against the doctor. He made an appearance in April, court documents show, and then in May the case was dismissed with no further action. (PHI is Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a subsidiary of DuPont, which develops and supplies genetically-engineered crops to farmers around the world. Hilst’s connection to PHI was unclear.)

Then Hilst brought his troubles to Wewoka, when he used part of the defunct Wewoka Hospital to open his “Wewoka Regional Medical Center” on the southeast side of the city.

At the time, Hilst refused interview requests by The Producer, and not long after became the subject of a scandal in Wetumka, where he’d reportedly purchased hospital equipment.

In January 2005, Hilst got a good buy on an X-ray machine and an ECG monitor, along with 25 other items to help expand his new practice in Wewoka.

But city councilors in Wetumka followed the action with requests for the resignations of all their hospital trustee members. Wetumka City Manager Joey Beth Smith confirmed that the reason for the resignation requests was Hilst’s purchase.

Councilor Marc Kagan, a physician assistant at a Wetumka clinic, brought the matter to the council, saying the Wetumka General Hospital failed to go out for public bid before selling the items to Hilst.

Smith said at the time that she wasn’t exactly sure how the hospital’s trustees came into contact with Hilst, but that he was there to look at some medical supplies, including syringes and other items used routinely in medical clinics. “When he was walking through the hospital, he saw this other equipment,” Smith said, “and offered to buy it.”

Apparently, Kagan first learned of Hilst’s purchase when he saw a truck loading the equipment and supplies. He said the Wetumka Family Clinic, where he works, was not aware of the possibility of buying unused hospital equipment or supplies.

Smith noted that the Wetumka hospital has been closed for about a year and a half, and that the local clinic has had that time to look over the equipment and make an offer.

Smith said that once she learned of the coming sale, she had gone to the trustees on three different occasions, asking them to wait, and put the items up for public auction, since it is public property. But she noted that they did have the authority to sell the items.

Then, in December 2005, Hilst was brought before the Kansas “Board of Healing Arts,” and voluntarily surrendered his medical license in that state.

“(Hilst’s) offer to surrender his license and his lack of appearance indicate that the facts in this matter are not in dispute,” court documents state.

Further documents show that Hilst’s Kansas medical license had been revoked earlier, in 1990. “The board concluded that petitioner (Hilst) was unable to practice medicine and surgery with reasonable skill and safety to patients because of alcoholism,” the court record shows.

He got his license back, but it was revoked again in 1997.