Dr. Nikita Levy and the Johns Hopkins clinic where he worked have no records of complaints against them, according to state health officials. But just who is responsible for oversight of the East Baltimore Medical Center where he is alleged to have secretly recorded his patients?
Two state health regulatory bodies have the authority to investigate complaints that might have been received about Levy or the center, health officials said. But neither has broad authority over clinics like the East Baltimore center.
Allegations came to light Monday that Levy had secretly captured videos and photographs of patients, some with a camera hidden in the top of a pen. As an investigation into the activities was in the early stages, Levy was found dead of an apparent suicide.
Lawyers have quickly moved to file cases against Levy and Hopkins, searching for any sign of negligence from hospital officials.
The Maryland Board of Physicians licensed Levy to practice in the state in 1988, the same year he started working for Hopkins. The board's online records show no complaints, disciplinary actions or investigations into Levy over that time.
Such information would only be made public if it had resulted in charges or action taken against a doctor, said Christine Farrelly, the board's deputy director.
The state Office of Health Care Quality, meanwhile, licenses about 13,000 hospitals and other medical facilities around Maryland, ensuring that quality of care does not suffer. But clinics like the East Baltimore center are not among those that the body licenses, said Dori Henry, spokeswoman for the state health department.
The office on Thursday launched an inquiry to oversee the internal investigation pledged by Johns Hopkins trustees.
In other high-profile cases, such as Monarch Med Spa in Timonium, the office has launched investigations despite the lack of licensing authority, Henry said. Health officials shut down the cosmetic surgery center in September after it was revealed a patient died of a rare infection following liposuction surgery.
But no such investigation is or has ever been conducted at the East Baltimore clinic, officials said.
Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, the practice within which Levy worked, falls under the same regulations as any other community physician practice, said Kim Hoppe, a Hopkins spokeswoman. They are required to adhere to federal and state health regulations and all health care providers are credentialed according to National Committee for Quality Assurance standards, she said.
In a statement released Monday, Hopkins officials apologized to Levy's patients and called any invasion of patient privacy "intolerable."