I can understand why a Medical Board investigates a practice for allegations related to patient safety. I get it when the Board responds to concerns a doctor may be taking advantage of patients sexually. The main purpose of the Medical Board is to protect the public.
What I don’t understand is when a Medical Board stretches its mandate in “protecting the public.”
Case in point, Donovan Dave Dixon, MD.
On February 16, 2016, Dr. Dixon received a public letter of concern from the North Carolina Medical Board. Such a letter is easily accessible on the Board’s website. And such a letter was reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.
Before I get into the details of what Dr. Dixon allegedly did to earn his Letter of Concern, first a word about the NC Medical Board’s website. My browser accessed the Board’s website and it looked like this:
Observe the red “X” and the red line slashing through “https”. This means the site does not follow best practices for security. Nerd alert. (It uses SHA-1 as the algorithm to authenticate the site. SHA-1 is generally considered to offer weak security. An “attacker” can spoof the certificate and set up a rogue site. Among other things.) My point is that the Board’s website security is dated and vulnerable.
But, I digress.
On June 11, 2014, a Judgment was entered against Dr. Dixon’s professional medical services corporation, Dixon Medical Services, PC. The judgment was for $64,000. Dr. Dixon breached his lease agreement for his medical practice office space.
The Board’s reasoning:
While this does not directly involve patient care, it is possible that patient care could be adversely affected in such situations because the Judgment concerns a medical practice.
The Board urges you to ensure that the above-described conduct does not happen again. If repeated instances of similar conduct do occur, then this matter in addition to your prior history with the Board, which includes an April 28, 2014, Consent Order and an April 6, 2015, Consent Order, shall be taken into account in deciding what action to take against your North Carolina medical license.
To be fair, Dr. Dixon is no stranger to the NC Medical Board. One consent order allegedly involved “inappropriately prescribing excessive amounts of controlled substances for the treatment of pain in amounts that raise concerns for abuse and/or diversion of these drugs…”
Still it’s quite a stretch to discipline a doctor for violating a lease agreement, particularly if no patient was harmed, much less inconvenienced.
Where would this nonsense end?
Failure to immediately have snow removed from the parking lot? A patient could fall.
Running late? Patient could get stressed out and experience hypertensive crisis.
Collecting copays? Patient could get stressed out and experience hypertensive crisis.
Maybe the Board is just using a plausible excuse to target someone they otherwise believe is guilty of broader offenses. O.J. is in jail, not for murder, but for kidnapping.
But, in Dr. Dixon’s case, it just looks like piling on.