SPOKANE — A Spokane doctor has won a $600,000 settlement, plus a rare public apology, from state health officials who went public with charges of drug abuse and medical fraud based on a bogus tip from his ex-wife.
The payment to Dr. William “Phil” Werschler, a dermatologist, is among the largest settlements in decades by the Washington state Department of Health involving a physician, agency officials say. The public apology might be the first of its kind, they say.
In a separate lawsuit, Werschler collected more than $100,000 from his ex-wife, Kara. She ignited the investigation during the waning weeks of the couple’s bitter divorce by filing an anonymous complaint studded with accusations of office cocaine binges, sex orgies with staff and patients, hiring prostitutes, and falsification of medical drug records.