TAMPA — A Tampa psychologist, accused of having a sexual relationship with a client while billing her insurance for the time, voluntarily gave up his license and can never practice in Florida again, according to state documents.
Daniel R. Lerom billed the insurance company of a client for more than $1,400 of "specialty consults" when he was having sex with her, according to a complaint filed in February by the Department of Health. A month earlier, the state issued an emergency suspension of his license.
He is also accused of taking the same client's prescription drugs, including painkillers and Xanax, the complaint said.
Last month, Lerom relinquished his license. In exchange, the Florida Board of Psychology will take no further disciplinary action against him, according to a final order.
There is no record of criminal charges having been filed against Lerom. He was originally issued a state license to practice psychology in 1990 and had no history of discipline on file, according to state records.
Lerom has operated Plaza Therapy Associates, offering marriage and family counseling, on W Kennedy Boulevard since 1990. He did not return calls from a reporter seeking comment Wednesday.
Lerom also provided counseling on Thursday evenings at Victory Church in Lakeland in a space provided as a public service. It was there that he first began counseling the woman, then 23, and her husband.
The woman, a Lakeland resident, is referred to only as H.F. in state documents.
After the couple divorced, H.F. remained a patient of Lerom, sporadically seeing him until visits became more regular.
Starting in February 2009, the complaint said, Lerom stopped seeing H.F. as a patient and a sexual relationship formed. Lerom and H.F. exchanged hundreds of text messages, often referring to the other as "RHL," which stands for "red hot lover," the complaint said.
The relationship ended in May when Lerom's wife discovered his infidelity, the complaint said, leading H.F. to become hospitalized for three days due to stress.
In January, H.F. sued Lerom and his Tampa practice for emotional distress caused by the relationship. That case record, filed in Hillsborough County Court, is sealed.
On Wednesday, an attorney for H.F. did not return calls seeking comment.
Shelley Rossetter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3374.