The recent criminal charges filed against Dr. James Heaps, a former UCLA Health employee, are very disturbing. In 2018, UCLA investigated Dr. Heaps for sexual misconduct and improper billing practices. We reported him to the Medical Board of California and the US Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) and law enforcement. We also informed Dr. Heaps that his employment was being terminated, after which he announced he was retiring.
We are deeply sorry that a former member of our staff violated our policies and standards, our trust, and the trust of his patients. As an institution we recognize that we must do more to provide the safe, supportive and respectful environment our community expects and deserves. Sexual harassment and sexual violence are unacceptable. Such behavior represents an inexcusable breach of the physician-patient relationship. UCLA is committed to holding violators accountable.
Because we know we can and must do better, in March 2019, we initiated an independent review of our institution's response to sexual misconduct in clinical settings. The review is examining UCLA’s response to such conduct and whether our policies and procedures to prevent, identify and address sexual misconduct are consistent with best practices and reflect the high standard of patient care we demand of ourselves. Based on the findings of the review, we will identify and implement necessary changes across all of UCLA’s clinical sites. Our process will be guided by the principles of transparency, accountability, fairness and devotion to our patients.
UCLA has partnered with a trusted, third party resource, Praesidium, which has extensive experience in providing and connecting patients with support services. We encourage any patients with concerns about the care they received from Dr. Heaps to contact Praesidium at 888-961-9273 or visit uclahealth.org/heaps for more information.
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