Is Your Doctor Qualified? Ariz. Medical Board issues

October 24, 2013 by  

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 releaseemphasis 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)

Statement by Sen. Nancy Barto on release of state report investigating the Arizona Medical Board

Ex Head of Med Board Shocked by her Firing



3 Responses to “Is Your Doctor Qualified? Ariz. Medical Board issues”
  1. John Aloi says:

    When is the State going to take legal action for all of those laws that were broken? I hope this is not another issues that does not get addressed like many others in the past.

  2. John N. Mork, M.D. says:

    I have been a volunteer physician in the Phoenix area since 2007 at St.Vincent de Pauls and Mission of Mercey. With the new laws, requiring certified copies of 45-50 year old documents, I am unable to get a pro bono certificate renewed. Please change the rules for those of us who want to serve the underserved without charge.

    • nancy_barto says:

      Dr. Mork,

      Since the Ombudsman discovered all of the discrepancies between the laws and the AMB’s practices last year, the Legislature is having to fix problems like this legislatively, which is what we are working to do this session. It is really too bad the lack of attention to the laws over the years has hampered your and others’ desire to serve in this way. Totally unnecessary as the rules & statutes could have been amended appropriately years ago to avoid this problem.

      What is more disturbing was the blatant disregard for patient safety as the Executive Director intentionally ignored vital licensing rules & laws that virtually every other state follows – and then blaming and firing the entire staff for calling into question these decisions.

      Hopefully, with a new Exec. Director and a new slate of board members the agency will be on better footing going forward.

      Thank you for your comment –
      Sen. Barto

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