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Arizona medical board took doc licensing shortcuts

PHOENIX — The Arizona Medical Board put patients at risk by failing to
properly conduct background investigations on doctors applying for licenses
after its executive director told staff to streamline the process in violation
of the law, according to a new report.

The report from the independent Arizona Ombudsman-Citizens’ Aide released
Wednesday substantiated 19 of 20 allegations brought by current and former
employees and recommended that all physician licenses issued since September
2011 be reviewed by the state auditor.

The board issued a statement to The Arizona Republic saying it already made
changes to address the concerns.

“Any previous noncompliance of statutes and regulations under the direction of
the Executive Director … were addressed this year by the Board immediately.
The Arizona Medical Board continues to work diligently to ensure the Agency’s
Executive Director and Administration is in compliance with rules and
statutes,” said Dr. Gordi Khera, the board’s chairman.

Executive director Lisa Wynn was reprimanded but remains on the job. She
declined comment, but in a response to the investigators said she intends to
comply “literally and explicitly” with all laws and administrative rules
regarding licensing procedures.

“I categorically reject, and will vigorously defend, any allegation that I
knowingly broke any law in the exercise of my discretion as ED,” she wrote in

The report said Wynn and the board’s former deputy director “acknowledged they
and the AMB had no legal authority to enact the expedited practices, but
proceeded nonetheless.”

The board under Wynn cut required background checks and instead used an online
search and didn’t require potential doctors to submit required documents for
review. One person interviewed by the board said that cuts made it “easier to
get a medical license than a driver’s license” in Arizona.


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