Is Your Doctor Legal? Ariz. Medical Board issues
October 24, 2013 by nancy_barto
As a patient you ASSUME your doctor was properly vetted before he began practicing medicine in Arizona and treating your family. That may not be the case. A recently released 192 page Ombudsman investigative report substantiated that the AMB’s Executive Director Lisa Wynn and Deputy Director Amanda Diehl knowingly disregarded 28 licensing rules and statutes resulting in 2,041 physicians’ licenses granted in Arizona over an 18 month period without proper vetting of their credentials – and thousands more renewing their licenses. Credentials like physicians’ medical education, hospital employment, if they had any disciplinary actions pending and more.
You can thank the whistleblowers. If former employees at the agency had not questioned the actions of the Board’s Executive Director and her Deputy Director who were taking these shortcuts, the Legislature - and YOU – still may be in the dark until patient harm was done. But seven employees did raise the issue. They cared more about following state law than risking their jobs - but unfortunately, they did lose their jobs.
How did the Board react when they received the report months ago? The gave their E.D. a letter of reprimand – and hired a consultant to minimize the damage. But following the public release – emphasis on public – of the second investigative report, the Arizona Medical Board finally took a step in the right direction by dismissing (on a 5-4 vote) their Executive Director on October 12, 2013. (the Deputy Director had already resigned in April). What’s more, the first investigation on these issues – released in 2012 – was ignored by the Board. As a result, the Legislature took action in 2013 by codifying their rules in HB 2409.
Read highlights from the comprehensive report documenting these actions. View here.
What is next?
- The Legislature will be interested in knowing that all 2,041 physicians are properly verified.
- We will seriously consider the Legislative recommendations to improve oversight identified in the Ombudsman report
- Engage the Governor’s office to appoint members to the board. The fact that 4 members of the AMB voted NOT to dismiss the E.D. (and two members inexplicably missed the vote altogether) makes one wonder how serious this board is about pulling the agency back from legal limbo.
Special Joint Hearing on the Arizona Medical Board Investigation – Wednesday, Nov. 20th at 9 a.m. before the Legislature. Watch news coverage here.
Kudos to ABC 15 Joe Ducey, whose report in February was key to informing the Bd there was a problem. Here’s Joe’s latest.
For more coverage view: Medical Board Right to Fire Lisa Wynn - Arizona Republic
View 12 News coverage with whistleblower here
View Sen. Barto interview on Politics Unplugged (Channel 3)