Medical board suspends doctor’s license after DWI

The North Carolina Medical Board has indefinitely suspended the medical license for a doctor in Elon who admitted to abusing alcohol.

The N.C. Medical Board (NCMB) entered a consent order against Dr. Kenneth P. Barnes of Elon, who was arrested and charged with driving while impaired in Randolph County in February 2020, based on findings that the board cited in its order. Barnes had previously been diagnosed with severe alcohol use disorder and had been treated through the N.C. Physician Health Program (NCPHP), according to the consent order the state medical board issued earlier this month.

Barnes at one time had been employed as the director of sports medicine and head athletic team physician for Elon University’s athletics department, according to the university.

Barnes had previously worked as a sports medicine fellow for Elon University’s athletic teams through Moses Cone Health System and Kernodle Clinic Orthopedics in Burlington, according to a July 2008 announcement from the university. As recently as 2015, he had been teaching as adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science but appears to be no longer employed, based on information from Elon University.

Following his DWI arrest, Barnes voluntarily inactivated his medical license in April 2020 and completed a residential treatment program for alcohol use disorder between April and July 2020, the medical board states in its order. He also agreed to undergo monitoring by the NCPHP, which has concluded that Barnes has made good progress in his treatment and has maintained “full compliance” with the terms of a five-year monitoring contract with the program. There is “no evidence that patient care was ever compromised as a result of Dr. Barnes’ consumption of alcohol,” the NCMB notes in its order.

However, Barnes admitted that, “if abusing alcohol,” he is unable to practice medicine with the skill and safety required under state law. He also acknowledged that grounds exist to annul, suspend, revoke, or limit his medical license.

Though the NCPHP concluded that he had successfully completed treatment for alcohol use, Barnes appears to have entered into the consent order indefinitely suspending his medical license to avoid more formal proceedings by the state medical board. The suspension was made retroactive to April 21, 2020, according to the order the NCMB issued earlier this month.

Barnes also waived his right to a hearing, as well as his right to file an appeal.

Documents on file with the state medical board do not list an address for Barnes, but the consent order he signed earlier this month indicates that he is currently residing in Ontario, Canada.

Barnes holds bachelor’s degrees in physical education and kinesiology from two universities in Canada; a master’s of science in medical science, with a specialty in orthopedic biomechanics, from the University of Calgary in Canada; and a medical degree from the National University of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland, according to the NCMB.

Earlier Medical Board actions regarding Alamance County area license suspensions, revocations:

Mebane doctor’s medical license suspended after he tests positive for drugs (Dec. 22, 2020):

Medical license for Efland doctor revoked following federal drug conviction (Dec. 22, 2020):