- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - The medical director of the state chemical dependency treatment center has been granted a hearing to challenge an allegation that he was not maintaining his sobriety.

The Montana Board of Medical Examiners, which suspended Mark Catalanello’s license last month, scheduled the hearing for Feb. 23-24, The Montana Standard (https://bit.ly/1Qc5KkV) reported Wednesday.

Catalanello was being monitored by the Montana Professional Assistance Program after his medical license was suspended in 2004 for using alcohol and a habit-forming drug or controlled substance.

The state Board of Medical Examiners reinstated his license in 2007.

He was a full-time physician at the state psychiatric hospital in Warm Springs and began part-time work as director of the Montana Chemical Dependency Center in Butte in December 2012.

In August, the Montana Professional Assistance Program began receiving reports from people concerned that he may have relapsed.

Catalanello did not report for work on Sept. 25 and when a center official called him, his speech was slurred and he did not respond with coherent thoughts, the official said, according to board documents.

He refused to undergo toxicology screening supervised by the head of the program, violating his agreement with it, the board said.

Catalanello told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the board has no evidence of any drug or alcohol use on his part and noted that two toxicology tests came back clean.

He was put on paid administrative leave on Sept. 29. The Board of Medical Examiners screening panel held an emergency meeting on Oct. 2 and suspended his license. Catalanello did not participate in that hearing.

“There is unrebutted evidence that he has failed to report for duty, he may have practiced medicine while under the influence of an intoxicant, he refused a reasonable request from MPAP for a toxicology test . and he has failed to keep current on charting in his work with a particularly vulnerable patient population,” the board found in suspending his license.

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Information from: The Montana Standard, https://www.mtstandard.com

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