Sunday, May 21, 2017

Med Board cans Executive Director

The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure fired Executive Director Dr. John Hall less than a year after it hired him.  The Board fired him last Thursday because he and the Board apparently did not agree on how doctors should be disciplined.  The Clarion-Ledger reported:

It’s been a busy week for the state Board of Medical Licensure, which got rid of its executive director, learned of allegations against a former board member and disciplined the chairman of the state Board of Health.

The licensure board said goodbye on Thursday to Dr. John R. Hall — a rare possessor of a medical license, a law license and an MBA. The board did not give a reason for its decision.

But Hall, who could not be reached for comment, had become more aggressive in trying to hold doctors accountable than the board had been in many years.

Hall, who was earning $250,000 a year, alienated some members when he pushed for a bill this year that would have made it a felony for any physician to have sex with a patient.

Some doctors worried the bill went too far because it criminalized not just sex with patients, but consensual kissing and conversations about sex. They expressed concern the bill criminalized these same activities if a doctor engaged in them with a “key third party” — someone in a close personal relationship with the patient.

Hall defended the bill, which failed to pass.

“There is no other more intimate relationship,” he told Mississippi Public Broadcasting. “Our clergy never get us out of clothes. Our insurance agents never get us out of our clothes. We don’t tell anybody the thing that we tell doctors, so that is a very special relationship we need to preserve and protect.”

The question prompted debate on the board as to the best ways to deal with allegations of sexual abuse against physicians.

A 2016 study by Atlanta Journal-Constitution ranked Mississippi dead last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia when it came to protecting patients from bad doctors, including the problem of physician sexual abuse.

But board member Dr. Randy Easterling called the study “greatly flawed,” saying the American Medical Association “already has a code of ethics that would prohibit this. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article shouldn’t be taken as gospel.”

He said state and federal laws already exist to address this problem.

The board has come under criticism from consumer rights advocacy groups for its disciplinary record and transparency.

In 1995, one of those groups, Public Citizen, had ranked Mississippi’s board the strongest in physician discipline, with the highest rate of suspensions and revocations in the United States. A decade later, the board was ranked last, although Mississippi was in 17th place in Public Citizen’s study of 2009 to 2011 data.

In a 2016 study by the Informed Patient Institute and Consumer Reports, the licensure board’s website ranked the lowest in the nation.

Hall vowed to improve the website and to protect the public from “bad medicine.”

Within a few months, a number of doctors in trouble with the board had surrendered their licenses and quit practicing medicine.

The licensure board received some good marks in a recent University of Michigan study, which concluded Mississippi has taken more major disciplinary actions against physicians per capita than most other states.  Rest of article.
Dr Easterling defended the Board's treatment of wayward Doctors to the Mississippi Business Journal:

Easterling said at the committee meeting on that “we’re in a different era,” where the emphasis is on punishing physicians with an impairment, whether sexual or substance abuse.

At one point in the past, the Mississippi board was ranked tops because of its punitive emphasis, Easterling said. Now it’s being downgraded because of its emphasis on rehabilitation.

Hall has been instrumental in the installation of a new computer system and streamlining the medical licensure process, Miles said. Rest of article.
 MBJ also reported the real problem:

The Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure decided not to renew the contract for Dr. John Hall, its executive director, on Thursday, less than a year after Hall brought his aggressive style to clamp down on physicians’ sexual behavior.

“I’d like to think I did some good,” Hall said in an interview on Saturday. “We did more disciplinary action in the first 90 days I was here than [Dr. H.] Vann Craig did in 10 years” in that position.

“I’m not the least bit surprised.” Craig resigned effective March 25 of last year.

Dr. Charles Miles, board president, said on Saturday that the termination is a personnel matter and he is limited in what he can say.

“Let me just say that I just have the utmost respect for John Hall. John and I are friends and remain so.”
“It just wasn’t working out. This was a trial year and John knew that.” Hall will be on board till June 30, when his contract expires, Miles said. “It just wasn’t a good match,” Miles said.

Hall favored legislation to make sexual behavior between physician and patient punishable as a felony. A bill to that effect got nowhere in the Legislature in this year’s session. Members of the board expressed misgivings about Hall’s approach.

Miles reiterated his opinion of Hall’s credentials, saying he was “head and shoulders above”
a field of about a half-dozen.

However, some board members were reluctant to sign on to a new direction.

Kingfish note: Hope the new Executive Director gets the message.


Anonymous said...

Except for newborn screening and childhood vaccinations, Mississippi's health care statistics are 49th or 50th in every category (i.e., first in what's worst, last in what's best). This care is provided by Mississippi's physicians. Apparently both the patients and physicians are content with the statuo quo.

Anonymous said...

Did this have anything to do with Luke Lampton getting in trouble with the Board of Medical Licensure? He is pretty tight with Easterling and others that the State Medical Association which already controls the Board of Health. Looks like the State Medical Association is trying to regain full control of Medical Licensure so wayward docs can continue to get a slap on the wrist.

Anonymous said...

Gallo has Easterling on almost as often as Digbort and Feel. I'll axe him what he thinks. After all, we do need a definitive answer.

Anonymous said...

So, the State Medical Association effectively controls all medical regulation in our great state (ranked last in healthcare). So let's see, the more unhealthy the population, the more lucrative for the medical profession. Thus, a strong motivation to keep us last and keep them rich. Their strong desire to control healthcare regulation is beginning to make a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a government (i.e. State leadership) endorsed monopoly to me.

Anonymous said...

Charmain had a good week.

Anonymous said...

whatever. MS is last in healthcare because we are poor, uneducated and in weak systems set up in the areas with the most need. the "board" has nothing to do with that.

Anonymous said...

Board of Medical Licensure is controlled by State Medical. No news here. Just incest.

Anonymous said...

@6;04-- the Board won't allow other health care providers practice at their trained abilities; the Board does have something to do with health disparities

Anonymous said...

Maybe they didn't cause it, but they are working oh so hard to keep it that way.

Kingfish said...

Charmaine has worked actively behind the scenes with the Medical Board and Mississippi Department of Health to keep telemedicine companies from operating in Mississippi that would compete with UMMC.

Anonymous said...

"The Board won't allow other healthcare providers practice at their trained abilities"... trained abilities determined by whom? Themselves.
The "Coalition of Airport Gate Agents" just deemed themselves appropriately trained to fly commercial jets. You buying the first ticket?

Anonymous said...

"the Board won't allow other health care providers practice at their trained abilities; the Board does have something to do with health disparities...May 22, 2017 at 7:39 AM" - so are you a Nurse Practitioner or an Physician's Assistant?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr. Easterling (9:18)! Your arrogance reveals itself even in your attempt at humor. No one is challenging the education or skill of physicians. We are simply pointing our that you are monopolizing healthcare and keeping our health status down through political activities to protect your enrichment. I understand the need for each of you to have a second home, but a third or fourth home is a little ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

At least $200 billion is wasted annually on excessive testing and treatment, according to an estimate by the Institute of Medicine, now called the National Academy of Medicine. This overly aggressive care also can harm patients, generating mistakes and injuries that are thought to cause 30,000 deaths each year.

Anonymous said...

I was being treated by a chiropractor for two months up until recently. Both of the Chiropractors in that office call themselves not only Doctors, but Physicians. Their business cards and name tags they wear both show them to be physicians. Neither is a licensed physician. Maybe they should be flying those planes.

Anonymous said...

telemedicine will not solve the problem. the only people that will use it are those that can afford it. it's not going to help someone in the delta on medicaid or more likely, no insurance. and when something invariably goes wrong (because there was no physical exam) your local provider is now left to pick up the pieces and try to put you back together. telemedicine should be used as an extension of your current provider. not some out of state yahoo who has no access to your records (and thus a detailed history/previous physical exam). telemedicine is indeed coming to mississippi, just not in the form the out of state providers want it to.

Anonymous said...

They call themselves "Doctors" and/or Physicians because that is what they are and they are "licensed" physicians.

Anonymous said...

12:25 - check your facts. Telemedicine is ALREADY helping people in the Delta and in rural communities. It is NOT more expensive to the user - in fact, MS Medicaid was one of the first 3 Medicaid plans to cover telemedicine. Not all telemed is done by "some out of state yahoo". And it IS possible to do a remote do I know. Simple, I am a healthcare professional who has experienced how effective telemed can be.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, you are either a liar, or just foolishly ignorant and still not understanding the issue of quality of care if you think people are working behind the scenes to keep other telemedicine companies out of our State.

Educate yourself.

Anonymous said...

This is not about telemedicine doofus. this is about greed.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...
They call themselves "Doctors" and/or Physicians because that is what they are and they are "licensed" physicians.May 22, 2017 at 12:36 PM"

^^^ That poster is talking about chiropractors. Who among us with walking around sense believes these quacks are what we think of and know to be 'physicians'?

Please feel free to post a definition from any medical journal or reputable medical glossary, institution or establishment that includes a chiropractor in the definition of 'physician'. Don't include something from one of those nutty chiro-journal papers. thanks....

Anonymous said...

@3:27-- whoa Dr Easterling... liar is a strong word!

Anonymous said...

the out of state telemedicine company's are the greedy ones. most are privately owned and exist to siphon a set fee for coughs and colds and such. MS has had telemedicine in some form or another for 20 years... the ER doc in Monticello or wherever consulting real time with a cardiologist at St D's or UMC. the board has kept out the greedy ones and further encouraged development of in state assets. the restrictions I have read on their website do not seem too onerous but seem to be more towards protecting the patient rather than lining some docs pockets.

Anonymous said...

Easterling and Lampton tight? What nonsense. Lampton is one of the few physicians in the state with the courage to stand up to Easterling in state medical circles. It is WIDELY known in the healthcare community that Easterling has a vendetta against Lampton and even threatened in the past to take his license in political retribution for his trying to hold its Executive Director Charmain Konosky accountable for her leadership of the MSMA.

The story here is that Dr. Hall approved a simple agreement with Lampton for a minor misstep which Lampton self-reported (ask other physicians if they have ever left a pre-signed prescription signed in a locked drawer for an emergency with a patient) and why did Easterling motion to bring it into executive session and rule against Dr. Hall’s recommendation and engage in character assassination against Lampton and make the agreement harsh? By the way, isn’t Hall supposed to be really tough on doctors? So, the “tough doctor” (Hall) recommended only a minor correction against Lampton. Why did Easterling want to give him the death penalty? Does this make sense?

How could the Board of Licensure allow Easterling even to be involved in this case when he had been charged with ethical violations against Lampton in a trial at the MSMA several years ago? Wasn’t Lampton entitled to fair treatment, despite his position on the Board of Health. And many, if not all, of the Board of Licensure members are aware of Easterling’s vendetta against Lampton. Was it ethical for them to allow this to occur?

By the way, Lampton has a ten year record at the Board of Health which is impeccable as Board of Health Chairman. Tell me something he’s done wrong. Google him. Talk to his patients. Explore his history and record. He led the fight against Dr. Amy and he led the hiring of Dr. Thompson and Dr. Currier. He was also Citizen of the Year in Pike County last year for saving his local rural hospital as well as serving on his local school board to improve its academic success for more than 10 years. He fights for rural Mississippi. His list of accomplishments for our state and his community are significant. He has been a straight shooter in all matters in his capacity since his appointment.

And he’s never been accused of sleeping with a patient, like Board of Licensure members, and he’s never had any issue with the Board of Licensure. There are few heroes in Mississippi medicine and he’s one of them, despite his misstep. Why would the Board publically humiliate him, unless it’s a personal vendetta by Easterling? It appears Hall thought Lampton deserved more civilized treatment.

The press should also be ashamed of its treatment of Lampton. This excellent doctor received more negative press for a minor self-reported offense than the kidnapping of a child in Jackson. Would anyone agree that is a sickness?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 11:28. The Dept of Health has flourished under Lampton's leadership. They are cutting services, closing offices, and laying off staff. Our health status will decline even faster than before. Great work Luke!

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand why the press had any interest in the chairman of the board of health having his medical licensed suspended. Fake news!!

Anonymous said...

No, No, No!!!

1. The decision to pursue an investigation, and then charges, against Dr. Lampton is purely John Hall’s. With the advice and consent of the Board attorney, Stan Ingram. Easterling would not be in the loop until the day of the hearing, when he would be called upon to judge and vote. Dr. Lampton did something that is a common practice, but is technically against the rules: he pre-signed a prescription. Prosecuting such trivialities has been the hallmark of John Hall. This is why there is such a groundswell against him. He has not made Mississippi more safe, he has made even excellent physicians like Lampton paranoid. When you are sick after hours, and the on call physician cannot call a simple antibiotic prescription for you, then you can call and thank John Hall.

2. Do not look to differences between Easterling and Lampton: look to Dr. Lampton having the courage to publicly, and in print, challenge Dr. Hall’s self promoting “legislative agenda”.

Read the article, especially Lampton’s comments. It was yet another spear in the side of the Hall ambitions. Look no further for the vendetta. Hall is a small minded man, bent only on collecting physician scalps, even if he has to pursue trivialities. He could have written Lampton a letter of reprimand, he could have used other means to impose his will. A board hearing was an absurd over-reach.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Luke and Randy have been colleagues for years. Hall is an asshole who has made calling in some garamycin eye drops for your child while on vacation punishable by firing squad. He went after Lamptom with his board investigator goons after Lamptom spoke out against him pubically.

Anonymous said...

Well 7:15, I must agree that you should not speak against someone "pubically."

Anonymous said...

If the prescription regulations are not necessary, then change them. As opposed to violating them routinely and saying it is justified by the fact that they are not necessary. I wonder if Lampton thinks the Board of Health should regulate this way too? Ignore the "small" stuff particularly if the restaurant owner, nursing home owner, hospital owner, etc. is a respected person in the community.

Anonymous said...

Well said Dr. Hall, good luck finding another 250,000 dollar a year job were you get to fuck over hard working people. Asshole.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, 7:15 AM

He made calling in eye drops a crime. Any prescription must have a clinic note to accompany, no longer just controlled substances. Almost no physicians knew that this has happened, it happened recently. But in order for Hall to increase his numbers so he could boast that he has disciplined more people in the last 10 months than Dr. Craig did in the last 10 years, he enacted such. He has made Mississippi safe from: eye drops. Bravo! Again: when your doctor refuses to call in a Z-pak at night, or something for your cough, call Dr. Hall and thank him for making Mississippi safe. What a load of crap!

And in case you think that the eye drop comment is not true, it very much is. And not even nearly the most trivial thing that has been pursued.

Anonymous said...

Then change the freaking regulations!! Sick of the excuses offered for not following regulations. Tired of the ol' "just wait until next time you need a doctor....blah, blah, blah." And, you know what they say about the intelligence and vocabulary of those that must use profanity and name calling to make a point.

Anonymous said...

John, you and your law degree won't be missed, now be a good carpetbagger and head back up north where they do everything right.

Anonymous said...

I thought doctors spent their days toiling away to protect our health. But, apparently many of them spend their days checking JJ and posting about how it's ok if the skimp on medical regulations because they know better than the rest of us about what should be done. The Medical Licensure Board is a joke, and the Board of Health is a joke. Wait, both are controlled by the doctors! I guess that explains our prestigious 50th ranking in health status.

Anonymous said...

And, apparently sex with patients is ok.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Hall went to law school, but he does NOT have a law license to practice law in any state. He has an online law degree.

He was startlingly defensive, aggressive, and suffered from the Napoleon short-man syndrome. He showed up at a raid on a physician's house last year with all the police, MBN, guns, etc. That was unprecedented, unnecessary, and showboating.

He listened to no other physicians on the Board, and most of the time refused to talk with/to them.

His career record demonstrated that he never had a job in any place for more than a few years. He had no real qualifications for the job.

He was EXTREMELY hostile towards the Mississippi Recovering Physicians' Program, and thought every physician who'd ever abused drugs or alcohol should NEVER practice medicine again. (That is a real "enlightened" understanding of substance abuse disorders, isn't it?)

Nonsense about writing non-controlled prescriptions was just that--NONSENSE.

He was arrogant and supercilious. He had NO defenders. I imagine that all Mississippi physicians were glad to see him go. They were so ready that he was actually escorted out of the building before the date of his contract as he broke some camel's back prior after he was told his contract would not be renewed.

I had a conversation with him once, and thought I was speaking to an FBI/CIA agent.

Farewell, Dr. Hall. I hope other physicians in the country avoid being under your control.

Anonymous said...

That's quite an aggregation of patently false claims all mixed with ad hominem attacks. It would be nice to assume the comments are written by illiterate cowards hiding behind internet anonymity. But the reality is that most are probably the same marginally competent physicians Hall was specifically hired to "weed out."

Let's not forget that the Board hired him because "the way we've always done it" under the prior director simply wasn't working. Let's also not forget that the director does NOTHING without board approval Every physician who was disciplined, every rule implemented, every change was approved by the Board.

Most of the comments are simply wrong:
1) It's not the Board's job to rehabilitate drug and alcohol abusers. Currently MPHP is simply hiding out addicts, drug dealers and predators- just look up Dr. Bret A Boes- The first requirement of his consent agreement states he shall secure advocacy from MPHP and comply with all requirements. His consent agreement acknowledges that he traded drugs for sex- yet the Board allowed him to keep his license and he's out merrily practicing away ($File/1497203162017co.pdf). You can even be a convicted drug dealer- like Lawrence E. Stewart ($File/1150305182017do.pdf). But to be fair to the Board Dr. Stewart was required to do some extra "educational courses." In other words, it's OK to be a drug dealer, drug abuser, and have sex with patients as long as MPHP and MSMA think you're OK. We can thank Scott Hambleton, MD for that bit of insight.

2) Hall appears to have valid law licensure: I can understand how this could be missed "anonymous" could spend the 45 seconds it took to check. (S)He'd rather hide behind anonymity and cast aspersions while remaining willfully ignorant.

3) Unlike most of the physicians in Mississippi he also appears to have TWO certifications from ABMS Boards (unlike Dr. Easterling who has none but advertises himself as certified).

4) Neither Hall not the Board has the ability to "criminalize" any act- eye drops or otherwise. Doctors have the ability to petition for rule changes. But if the rule exists then it should be followed. Doctors should stop whining and grow up. Accept responsibility. Participate in the process.

I'm glad Hall's gone too- he was an asshole. He seems like he believed in rules. Mississippi deserves to be in last place for everything that's good and first for everything that's bad. He was never going to succeed because:

1) The citizens don't care.

2) The legislature doesn't care.

3) Mississippi will get the care it deserves from its drug-addicted, predatory physicians who are protected by MSMA, MPHP, and MSBML.

Goodbye and good riddance Dr. Hall. I'm glad I don't live in Mississippi and you'll be glad you don't as well.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. That Boes guy is some serious asshole. Just read his summons:$File/1497201122017sa.pdf. Hundreds of illegal prescriptions. So let me get this straight- Boes KEEPS his license with the blessing of MSBML/MSMA/MPHP and Hall gets fired? That's some kind of serious fucked up. That or Boes has baggy trousers with worn out knees. No wonder MS is last in everything- except drug dealer and predators.

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