Billings psychiatrist seeking return of medical license will have to wait

2014-01-17T08:27:00Z 2014-05-14T16:34:04Z Billings psychiatrist seeking return of medical license will have to waitBy CINDY UKEN cuken@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A Billings psychiatrist’s quest for a second chance to practice medicine has stalled temporarily.

Dr. James H. Peak, 51, sought reinstatement of his license from the state Board of Medical Examiners on Friday but the board postponed his request until March. The delay is aimed at giving Peak time to come up with a plan to show he will be supervised by an expert, specifically Dr. Thomas Van Dyk, a psychiatrist and medical director at the Mental Health Center. Van Dyk has been one of Peak’s most ardent advocates and mentors.

The board said it wants to work with Peak toward reinstatement.

Michael J. Ramirez, clinical coordinator for the Montana Professional Assistance Program, told the board that Peak has been a “model participant” in the program and advocates reinstatement. MPAP’s purpose is to address the problems of physicians or dentists whose ability to practice has been impaired because of sexual misconduct, substance abuse, psychiatric illness or other issues.

Peak, who worked as a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Billings Clinic, served just under 10 months in a Seattle federal prison after pleading guilty in August 2011 to possessing child pornography.

Since his release from prison, Peak has been working to rehabilitate his reputation and regain the trust he lost with patients, colleagues and the community.

He has been volunteering 20 hours a week at the South Central Montana Regional Mental Health Center in Billings, where he is helping update policies and procedures. He has no contact with patients.

Dr. Nathan Munn, 53, of Helena had also petitioned the board for reinstatement of his license, but withdrew his petition before the Friday board meeting without explanation.

Munn was stripped of his license to practice psychiatry in 2003 after authorities learned he was having a sexual relationship with one of his patients.

He is now an instructor of psychology and consciousness studies at Helena College-University of Montana.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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