Tennessee medical board asked to investigate former CEO who assisted surgery without a license

Sullivan County District Attorney General Barry Staubus is asking the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners to investigate former Bristol (Tenn.) Regional Medical Center CEO Greg Neal and the actions surrounding his resignation, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.

Mr. Neal stepped down as CEO on Aug. 20 after he accepted a cardiothoracic surgeon's invitation to participate in a surgical procedure even though he has no medical license. Ballad Health, which owns the medical center, confirmed to the Courier that it dismissed the surgeon, Nathan Smith, MD, and asked Mr. Neal to resign. 

On Aug. 26, Mr. Staubus sent a letter to W. Reeves Johnson, Jr., MD, president of the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, requesting further investigation.

The letter, which was provided to Becker's Hospital Review, calls for the board to "investigate any alleged criminal violation of Title 63, Chapter 6 of Tennessee Code by Greg Neal, former CEO of Bristol Regional Medical Center."

Mr. Staubus also asked the board to report any violations that warrant criminal prosecution to his office and the Sullivan County Grand Jury for review.

Mr. Neal addressed his departure in an email to the Courier in which he acknowledged his participation in the surgical procedure. He said he takes accountability and regrets his decision.

Dr. Smith, who joined  Bristol Regional Medical Center in July, could not be reached for comment, the Courier reported on Aug. 25.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health told Becker's "any complaint and/or investigation is confidential unless and until the board takes action."


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