The state last week quietly reinstated the medical license of a Lincoln surgeon nearly two years after suspending it after he showed up to the hospital impaired.

For the next five years, Dr. Scott Strasburger will be on probation and subject to drug screenings and testing for alcohol before he performs any surgical procedure, according to Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services documents.

Strasburger, a former Nebraska football player and team doctor, agreed to a license suspension after he was accused of showing up at the Lincoln Surgery Center on Nov. 26, 2014, in an impaired state and refusing to take a drug test.

His license was on track to be reinstated when, on June 2, 2015, he crashed his Range Rover into a Honda Pilot stopped in traffic on A Street near Cotner Boulevard, then drove away and sideswiped a parked Chevy Suburban, all with his 6-year-old daughter in the backseat.

Police found him at home and arrested him. Prosecutors said a test showed he had cocaine in his system.

Strasburger, 53, pleaded no contest to DUI with a passenger younger than 16 and leaving the scene of an accident, both misdemeanors, and in February he got a year of probation.

At sentencing, Lancaster County Court Judge Timothy Phillips commended him on his efforts to get treatment after his arrest and ordered him to complete an outpatient program and continue with aftercare. He also ordered him to stay out of bars.

Phillips also told Strasburger then that he had a lot of eyes on him: county court, juvenile court, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

In May, he filed an application for HHS to reinstate his medical license.

At an Aug. 26 meeting of the Nebraska Board of Medicine and Surgery, Strasburger spoke before board members voted 5-1 in favor of recommending he be reinstated, according to the minutes.

Merle Henkenius and Drs. Michael Bittles, Mark Goodman, Judith Scott and Karen Higgens voted in support of Strasburger's reinstatement.

Dr. Carl Smith, the chairman, was the sole vote against. Jeff Howorth and Dr. Todd Stull abstained.

The recommendation was forwarded to the director of the Division of Public Health, and on Oct. 28, Courtney Phillips, HHS chief executive officer, reinstated Strasburger effective immediately.

He will be subject to random fluid screens, must notify facilities where he practices or has credentials of the disciplinary action and will have to assure they submit semi-annual reports to the department, according to the five-year probation recommendation.

Strasburger also must comply with all treatment recommendations for his chemical dependency, including any aftercare or counseling.

Asked to comment on the decision and what the state was doing to ensure patients' safety, an HHS spokeswoman simply provided the probation order.

Attempts to reach Strasburger for comment weren't successful. Reached Thursday afternoon, his attorney, John Ball, had no comment.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.



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