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State Medical Board Punishing Doctor for Having Opinion on Licensure Policy?

Last updated on 2013.06.04

Dissent gets you investigated if you are a doctor in South Dakota.

On May 30, Dr. Annette Bosworth wrote an opinion column in that Sioux Falls paper alleging that the state Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners had "reprimanded" a young doctor after he disclosed that he has multiple sclerosis. SDBMOE president Dr. Robert L. Ferrell shot back in a June 12 letter to the editor that Dr. Bosworth's statement was "totally untrue." SDBMOE did not issue any such reprimand, but it did impose on March 16, 2012, a "voluntary" stipulation on Dr. Jacob Kusmak that he practice only under mentorship of an approved doctor.

Dr. Bosworth contends that the state board requires doctors seeking licensure to answer questions on their state applications that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. She argues that physicians like Dr. Kusmak already submit to enough training and scrutiny without submitting to invasive SDBMOE questions about illness and addiction that "do not elicit meaningful knowledge regarding competence and go against the ADA."

The SDBMOE's response: haul Dr. Bosworth in for a hearing and possible punishment Wednesday.

If the board doesn't like Dr. Bosworth's opinion of its action on Dr. Kusmak or its arguable violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it probably really doesn't like the online petition Dr. Bosworth's husband, Chad Haber, has posted calling for an investigation of SDBMOE exec Margaret Hansen. The petition alleges that Hansen has committed the following "fraud, abuse, and misuse of power":

  • Failed to recuse herself from investigating complaints she personally filed against medical providers.
  • Claimed to have recused herself from an investigation and then proceeded to become personally involved in such investigations.
  • Used her official government position to retaliate against providers that spoke out against BMOE policy and actions.
  • Breached the privacy of providers subject to BMOE actions.
  • Violated the Constitutional Due Process rights of providers subject to BMOE actions.

I've not had any professional interaction with Dr. Bosworth, so I can't speak to her medical abilities. However, she appears to have lots of hustle. As an independent practitioner, she this year became the first doctor in South Dakota to meet federal standards for integrating electronic medical records into her practice, which earned her a trip to the White House last week for recognition. According to her website, Dr. Bosworth is busy with Haiti relief, a youth obesity project, the Minnehaha County drug court, and various other service projects.

Doctors swear to "do no harm or injustice" to their patients. Perhaps the SDBMOE will enlighten us tomorrow, but I'm having difficulty seeing where Dr. Bosworth has caused harm or injustice to her patients by criticizing a possibly illegal policy of the board that licenses doctors in the state. She might actually be doing patients some good by keeping them from losing good doctors.


  1. Douglas Wiken 2012.06.26

    Perhaps the board might require doctors with disabilities or illnesses which might cause concern by some of their patients to post a notice in their offices with their professional degrees. Depending on the degree of the illness or disability, it might not make sense to patients to have the doctor performing some procedures. A little transparency here could eliminate a lot of needless coercion and leave the decision up to patients.

  2. Peggy 2012.06.28

    Listen to Bill Byrnes at the SDBMOE meeting about Dr. Bosworth on 6/27/12

  3. Lori 2012.06.30

    Watched first hand her spunk and determination at standing up to the staus quo and big brother when it meant her patients would be impacted negatively. She's not afraid to be David when Goliath is thinkin $$.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.06.30

    Check out that Sioux Falls paper for results of the hearing: a formal reprimand, requirement for "suprevision"... but no evidence Dr. Bosworth has ever done wrong by her patients. And a number of people showed up to express their support for Dr. Bosworth.

  5. Dutch 2012.07.19

    Disabilities and illnesses that can play into how a medical professional practices should be disclosed. The state medical board is there to protect the citizens of the state. Dr. B. did not follow the laws concerning the employment and oversight of a mid-level provider. That is what her reprimand and supervision is for. It is not because she spoke up against a policy that she doesn't agree with, although some will have you believe it d/t the spin that has been put on this.

  6. Chad 2013.03.20

    I wish this story was over. The staff of the SDBMOE are unsupervised. The things the staff does in the name of the doctors that sit on this board are shocking. Check out the Aberdeen newspaper story on June Torrence Heinz. The staff accused her of murder, had her arrested. Destroying her small town life. Then at an SDBMOE meeting had the staff had the audacity to say "we aren't doctors, how are we supposed to know what is acceptable? "

    The damage is done June Torrence Heinz will always have people in her small town whispering behind her back.
    The Doctors that sit on the board just don't seem to care.
    Annette Bosworth being treated more harshly by the board than it treats Sex Offenders and violent criminals is still shocking to any rational person's sense of fairness. Don't blow the whistle!

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