October 29, 2021

Iowa Court Faults Medical Board for Releasing Allegations

Regulatory Roundup

Iowa Court Faults Medical Board for Releasing Allegations

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that the state medical board may not release allegations made against doctors until it has made a final determination and issued a report. The Oct. 22 opinion settles a dispute between the board and a doctor, Domenico Calcaterra, whom the board investigated in 2013 following allegations of disruptive behavior and unprofessional conduct. A board press release at the time contained details about this accusation. In 2014, the disciplinary action was dropped when the board and Calcaterra reached a settlement. Nevertheless, the original allegations remained on the board’s website, affecting Calcaterra’s career. In its opinion this month, the Supreme Court determined that the board’s release of investigative information prior to a final decision violates state law.

Ore. Cannabis Biz Gets $100K Fine for Labeling Mistake

The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission has levied a $100,000 fine against a cannabis tonic company for a labeling problem. According to Willamette Week, Luminous Botanicals distributed thousands of bottles to which labels had been attached in a way that likely would lead consumers to take them off before or after use. The OLCC alleged that this rendered the bottles hazardous to new consumers. The $100,000 fine is the highest the commission could levy.

Court Rules Against N.J. Nursing Homes in COVID Suits

A federal appeals court on Oct. 20 said cases against two New Jersey nursing homes should proceed in state courts, a setback to nursing homes facing hundreds of COVID lawsuits, according to Reuters. The nursing homes argued the cases belonged in federal court, citing an emergency U.S. law known as the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. The law shields those fighting COVID from lawsuits. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia rejected the nursing homes’ argument, affirming a lower court ruling. The cases, filed in state court by families of four residents who died of COVID, allege the facilities failed to take precautions to contain the spread of the virus.

N.C. Bill Would Ease Cosmetology Teacher Requirements

Legislators in North Carolina are considering a bill that would reduce the instructional time needed to become a cosmetology instructor. According to The North State Journal, aspiring instructors now must take an 800-hour course. The bill would eliminate this requirement and allow candidates to take the state exam after one year of experience. The bipartisan bill passed the state House unanimously and enjoys the support of the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners.

N.J. Doctor Suspended for Substandard Aesthetics Practice

New Jersey’s medical board has suspended the license of a doctor accused of performing invasive aesthetic procedures without adequate training or concern for his patients’ safety. According to the Essex News Daily, Muhammad Mirza, a board-certified internist, is accused of operating an aesthetics practice using rented spaces in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. He allegedly has operated without meeting standard protocols for record-keeping, follow-up and storage of medical supplies.

Ill. Health Care Facility fined $38K for COVID Hazard

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration seeks to fine an Illinois health-care facility $38,000 for failing to protect workers from COVID. According to an Oct. 20 OSHA news release, the facility failed to comply with federal respiratory protection requirements in its quarantine area, among other things. An Aug. 10 inspection found four serious health violations.  The facility’s owner, Generations at Neighbors, operates six similar facilities in Illinois and Indiana.

Calif. Doctor Sentenced for Taking Bribes

A California doctor was sentenced to 14 months in prison Oct. 15 for accepting nearly $800,000 in bribes and kickbacks. According the Los Angeles Daily News, Amir Friedman was one of 27 people charged in 2019 for their involvement in a Medicare and Medicaid fraud scheme that resulted in $257 million in billings. Friedman allegedly billed health insurers unlawfully for compounded prescriptions. Friedman’s California medical license remains active. However, the state medical board has created a formal, public charge that alleges a doctor violated the Medical Practice Act.


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