Medical boards can't share details of disciplinary charges, Iowa Supreme Court rules

The Iowa Supreme Court on Oct. 22 ruled that healthcare regulators cannot publicly disclose information about formal disciplinary charges filed against physicians in the state, the Des Moines Register reported. 

In a unanimous ruling, justices determined that the Iowa Board of Medicine violated state law by sharing misconduct allegations against Domenico Calcaterra, MD, a heart surgeon who formerly worked at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City.

In 2013, the state medical board accused Dr. Calcaterra of "a pattern of disruptive behavior and/or unethical or unprofessional conduct," according to the report. The board publicly released a statement of charges and a news release about the disciplinary case, alleging Dr. Calcaterra shoved another physician during a 2010 surgery. 

Dr. Calcaterra, who denied the allegation, reached a settlement with the board and paid a $5,000 fine. His lawyers argued that regulators broke state law by releasing details of the case before he could defend himself at a board hearing. 

In their ruling, the justices cited a state law outlining the duties of state licensing boards and investigation protocols.

"We do not believe the statute is ambiguous," Justice Edward Mansfield wrote in the opinion, according to the Des Moines Register. "Investigative information cannot be released to the public prior to a final decision in a disciplinary proceeding."

The board may still share details of allegations after a disciplinary charge is settled or a formal hearing and decision has been made, though this can be a yearslong process, according to the report. 

View the full article, here

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