From Claudia Covello, Executive Director, University Health Services and Brad Buchman, M.D., Medical Director, University Health Services
April 28, 2011
Statement from Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news that a former University Health Services staff physician, Robert Kevess, MD, has been charged by the Alameda County district attorney with engaging in illegal sexual contact with some of his male patients. These allegations, if proven to be true, stand in stark opposition to everything we stand for and believe in as professionals dedicated to providing high-quality care for our patients.
On behalf of our physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, counselors, pharmacists, educators and dedicated staff we want to express our sincere regrets and absolute commitment to addressing the needs and concerns of our clients in the wake of this development.
UHS (510) 642-3738
Berkeley UCPD (510) 642-0472
Immediately upon learning of the allegations from a former patient, UHS management contacted the University of California Police Department, Berkeley, and we have fully cooperated with the ensuing law enforcement investigation. In coordination with the police, we placed the physician on administrative leave. He subsequently formally resigned from his position.
Even as we continue our comprehensive inquiry into how these incidents could have occurred, our primary focus is, as it has always been, on the needs of our patients and former patients, and on steps we can take to prevent anything remotely similar from ever happening again. We will provide appropriate resources, support and services needed by those who may have been directly or indirectly impacted by the alleged actions of this physician. Concerned patients may also seek confidential guidance and support by calling a special line established by University Health Services at (510) 642-3738 or via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, police investigators are urging former patients who believe they may have had sexual contact with the physician in the past to contact Berkeley UCPD at (510) 642-0472.
Resources for the Campus Community
In accordance with the medical community’s standards, UHS has well established procedures for patients who wish to submit confidential complaints, and we conduct regular re-credentialing reviews of members of our medical staff. No formal complaints had previously been submitted regarding the physician, and his most recent re-accreditation review – in July 2010 – identified no issues of concern.
Going forward, we will do whatever it takes to help us all recover from these shocking developments and continue UHS’s 105-year history of excellence in patient care and protection. We are already working with independent experts to examine our existing policies and procedures that are designed to inform patients of their rights, ensure their safety and provide ways for them to confidentially report concerns and complaints. No effort will be spared as we explore every possible avenue to guarantee the highest possible levels of patient care, protection and education.
Information about the investigation and the charges can be downloaded here (PDF). We understand that there may be a desire for additional, detailed information about the allegations. However, because this matter is now before the criminal justice system and remains under investigation, there are significant restrictions on the scope and nature of information we can currently provide.
Despite the impact of this incident on our team of dedicated health care professionals and staff, we are convinced that, together, we can surmount the challenges before us, continue to provide excellent care for our patients and take what ever steps are necessary to ensure we retain your trust and confidence. Both of us have spent many years in the health care sector, and rarely have we seen a community of care providers so dedicated to meeting the needs and protecting the welfare of its clients. We know that even as our clinicians struggle to overcome their own shock and dismay, their energy and expertise will remain focused on all of you who rely on our services for your health and well-being.