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Missouri’s Board of Healing Arts – are they watching out for you? According to a recently published St. Louis Post Dispatch article, the answer is “no”
St. Louis Post Dispatch reporters Jeremy Kohler and Blythe Bernhard conducted an investigation that revealed years of accountability failures on the part of the Board and various government officials. The investigation revealed:
– The Board of Healing Arts won’t disclose even the most basic information about the doctor. The website operated by the Board only reveals a doctor’s work address and if the doctor has been disciplined. Prospective patients are not allowed to know where a doctor attended medical school.
– Reportedly, the Board has not used its power to suspend licenses of a doctor utilizing dangerous practices in the past 25 years. According to the Post article, in other states, the licenses of doctors perceived to be a threat to the general public are summarily suspended until a complete investigation can be conducted. In Missouri, serious allegation hearings can (and do) drag on for years while the doctors continue to practice medicine on the unsuspecting public. Hearings have reportedly been delayed for even the most trivial of reasons, such as doctors going on vacations. While medical boards in other states frequently take action against physicians after only one reported harmful incident, the Missouri Board of Healing Arts requires an obvious pattern of problems before any disciplinary action is commenced. Interestingly, if a lawsuit is filed, the Board often only sends a letter of concern to the physician, regardless of the seriousness of the situation, and physicians are not penalized for getting one or more of letters of concern.
– The Missouri Board is accused of failing to adequately respond to serious allegations. Reportedly, only 6% of the Board’s actions are in response to harmed Missouri patients. Most of the Board’s actions are triggered by medical boards in other states due to doctors failing to pay taxes or felony convictions.
The Board of Healing Arts should be set up to protect the public – not bad doctors.