UPDATE: State official cites recovery of medical chief who exposed himself to children

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BURRILLVILLE – A doctor who lost his license in 2008 over multiple charges of open and gross lewdness – and served time in Massachusetts for the felonies – has been named chief of medical services for Eleanor Slater Hospital, including the unit in Burrillville, Zambarano Hospital.

Dr. Andrew Stone was named to the position this week, a move Chief Medical Officer Brian Daly has told staff was needed to support the state-run facility’s ongoing restructuring.

The hospital provides care to some of the most frail and vulnerable patients in Rhode Island, with many on ventilators and in need of constant and long-term care.

Stone, a New York native, graduated from the University of Vermont in 1999 and received post-graduate training at Brown University. He was licensed in Rhode Island in 2006 at the age of 38.

That year, he had admitting privileges at Rhode Island Hospital and Roger Williams Hospital, and also worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital.

In December of 2006, Stone was accused of exposing himself to boys at the YMCA in Seekonk, Mass. At the time, the prosecutor in the case noted that the doctor had been observed, “masturbating, exposing himself to the children there at the program on numerous occasions.”

When the Rhode Island Department of Health Board of Licensure and Discipline reviewed the complaint against Stone, it determined that, “it is not the first incident of this nature,” citing evidence also provided by the Barrington Police Department, and in a case in Northbridge, Mass.

The board suspended Stone’s license to practice medicine noting that his continued practice would, “constitute an immediate danger to the public.”

According to the terms of the suspension, Stone could apply for reinstatement of his license in five years. He pleaded guilty to four felony counts of open and gross lewdness in Seekonk and was sentenced to four months in the Bristol County, Mass. House of Corrections.

In 2015, the board found that Stone had “presented substantial evidence of remediation,” noting that he had spent three months of in-patient treatment at the Sante Center for Healing in Argyle, Texas; seven years in a treatment and monitoring program and hundreds of hours in group therapy.  He was treated and evaluated by two doctors who specialize in sexual compulsion disorders, who stated he was in, “full remission,” and fit to return to practice.

Stone’s license was reinstated under probation and the stipulation that his practice be limited to adults. In 2018, he applied for relief from the probation, which was granted under conditions including that his practice be limited to a group or institutional setting.

Stone became a physician at Zambarano’s parent hospital, Eleanor Slater in Cranston, in November of that same year.

Daly announced Stone’s promotion to the position of chief of medical services on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Earlier this month, the hospital chain announced a restructuring that is expected to see some units of Eleanor Slater closed, with a portion of the patients moved to the Burrillville facility.

Zambarano, meanwhile, had an outbreak of COVID-19 in September, with five staff members testing positive for the virus.

“It has become clear that as we move to reconfigure the hospital and also continue to negotiate the pandemic, leadership support is needed,” Daly stated in a note to staff, shared with NRI NOW.

Cynthia Lussier, president United Nurses and Allied Professionals Local 5019, the union that represents registered nurses at Zambarano and the Rhode Island Veterans Home, as well as RICLAS and within the state’s college and university system, issued a statement on the appointment Wednesday evening.

“This union’s first priority will always be the care and safety of our patients and members. The details surrounding Dr. Stone’s criminal conviction, subsequent suspension and later reinstatement of his license to practice medicine in Rhode Island are extremely troubling, however, UNAP Local 5019 has no information beyond what has been reported by news organizations,” said Lussier. “Hospital administrators must be transparent and forthcoming regarding this matter to address reasonable concerns from patients, their families and staff.”

Randal Edgar, public information officer for the state of Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, was asked if there were concerns about Stone leading hospitals that work with the state’s most vulnerable residents.

Edgar sent a statement to NRI NOW on the appointment Thursday morning.

“Earlier this year, BHDDH and Eleanor Slater Hospital leadership initiated a comprehensive review of the hospital’s footprint and staffing structure,” Edgar said. “When two of the hospital’s physicians recently stepped down from their positions, the BHDDH and ESH medical teams conferred to redistribute clinical responsibilities with a compressed staff. Pending further reform and restructure of the hospital over the coming months, Dr. Stone has stepped up to support hospital-wide clinical care under the direction of BHDDH’s Department-wide Chief Medical Officer, Brian Daly.”

“Dr. Stone is highly regarded for his work at Eleanor Slater Hospital and other hospitals,” Edgar continued. “Dr. Stone is triple board certified – in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and addiction medicine. To be hired at ESH, he had to be credentialed by the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee, which is a requirement under various licensing and oversight agencies, such as the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The committee vote was unanimous. Dr. Stone maintains an active medical license , which requires extensive vetting and re-credentialing every two years.”

“As the State Mental Health Authority, BHDDH believes in and promotes rehabilitation and recovery for all Rhode Islanders,” Edgar said.

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