Monday, March 26, 2012

Complaint Filed Against Dr. Mark Geier in Florida

This somehow slipped past my notice. In October, it looks like the Florida Department of Health filed a complaint against Dr. Mark Geier (PDF). I've written about Dr. Geier a few times. This is the guy who, with his son, David (who is not a doctor), came up with an idea that testosterone binds to mercury and thus causes autism. His treatment? Chelate autistic children after giving them lupron, a drug that is used to treat precocious puberty, as part of IVF treatment and to chemically castrate sex offenders. If you are interested in the details, take a look at some of my other posts.

At any rate, Dr. Geier has (or had) a license to practice medicine in several different states. However, a total of 6 states have suspended his license. This all started with Maryland, where he was charged with a number of breaches of proper medical conduct. This was soon followed by other states summarily suspending his licenses in those states. His license has expired in a seventh state, and his application to practice in an eighth is on hold, due to the numerous suspensions he is under. He is still licensed to practice in 5 states, including Florida, though that may change sooner rather than later.

The Florida complaint lists three charges against Dr. Geier (PDF). The document starts by recounting his suspension in Maryland, and everything else stems from this.

The first count is simple, and is one that is common in many states:
Section 458.331(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2010), sets forth the grounds for disciplinary action by the Board of Medicine and provides that having a license or the authority to practice medicine revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of another jurisdiction constitutes grounds for discipline.
Because Dr. Geier's license was suspended in another state, his license in Florida can, therefore, also be suspended. The reason states enact regulations like this is to protect their residents from rogue doctors who might go around endangering their patients, shopping around for states that will welcome them. If another state acts against them, then patients have a right to know, and other states have a responsibility to take appropriate action in light of that.

Counts 2 and 3 involve problems with Dr. Geier's failure to report the Maryland actions in a timely manner. The first of these addresses his failure to notify the Florida Board of Medicine within the regulatory timeframe:
19. Section 458.331(1)(kk), Florida Statutes (2010), provides that failing to report to the Board of Medicine, in writing within 30 days, when action, as defined in Section 458.331(1)(13), Florida Statutes, is taken against one's license to practice as a physician in another state, territory or country, constitutes grounds for discipline by the Florida Board of Medicine.

20. Respondent failed to notify the Florida Board of Medicine,
within 30 days, in writing, of the April 27, 2011, disciplinary action of the
Maryland Board.
Similarly, the final count covers his failure to update his online practitioner profile within the statutory 15 days after disciplinary action against his license:
23. Section 456.042, Florida Statutes (2010), regarding a licensee's online Florida practitioner profile, provides that a practitioner must submit updates of required information within 15 days after the final activity that renders such information a fact.

24. Section 456.072(1)(w), Florida Statutes (2010), provides that failing to comply with the requirements for profiling and credentialing, including, but not limited to, failing to provide initial information, failing to timely provide updated information, or making misleading, untrue, deceptive, or fraudulent representations on a profile, credentialing, or initial or renewal licensure application is grounds for discipline by the Board of Medicine.

25. Respondent violated 456.072(1)(w), Florida Statutes (2010), by failing to update his Florida practitioner profile within 15 days after the April 27, 2011, Maryland action.
Counts 2 and 3 are administrative issues that, in my opinion, are not particularly alarming. At most, I'd say a reasonable fine and any other corrective actions would be sufficient to address them. The first count, however, should result in the suspension of his license to practice in Florida. And it would seem that the Department of Health agrees with these courses of action:
WHEREFORE, the Petitioner respectfully requests that the Board of Medicine enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties: permanent revocation or suspension of Respondent's license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fine, issuance of a reprimand, placement of the Respondent on probation, corrective action, refund of fees billed or collected, remedial education and/or any other relief that the Board deems appropriate.
This is good news for autistic children who might fall prey to Dr. Geier and his son. Hopefully the Florida Board of Medicine will move quickly to resolve the complaint.

On a side note, it looks like Hawaii is also investigating a complaint lodged there, though as of this writing, details are not available.
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