St. Louis reporters find felons practicing medicine

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Blythe Bernhard and Jeremy Kohler tell the story of an ophthalmologist to show how a convicted felon can be allowed to return to medical practice, sometimes in the same state in which he or she was convicted. The ophthalmologist in question went to prison after lying to patients, defrauding Medicare and obstructing the resulting investigation, yet now works in an Illinois clinic and has permission to reapply for his Missouri license.

The investigation is strengthened by two sidebars, one listing examples of other felons/physicians and the other explaining how and why an ophthalmologist lied to patients and Medicare about what he was injecting into their eyes.

For the record, my favorite sentence in the entire piece is “Medical boards don’t release statistics on how many active licensees are convicted felons.” It certainly would make things easier.

Earlier stories from Bernhard and Kohler document similar problems with a lack of openness of records and how disciplined doctors can still keep their records clean:

AHCJ members can read about how the pair have done much of the reporting on this ongoing project.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.