Minn. Republican threatens retaliation against medical board

Jun 17, 2022, 12:27 PM | Updated: 12:40 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen has threatened to retaliate against the Minnesota board that oversees doctors, which is investigating him for the fifth time, vowing that “this juggernaut will be dealt with” if he’s elected.

Jensen is a COVID-19 vaccine skeptic who has called for civil disobedience over masks and promoted alternative treatments such as ivermectin. He has also said Minnesota’s Democratic secretary of state, Steve Simon, should be jailed over his running of the state’s election system. Jensen won the GOP endorsement last month to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov, Tim Walz, whom he has sharply criticized for his response to the pandemic

Jensen, a family practice physician from Chaska and former state senator, criticized the board at a campaign event Monday and renewed his attack with a video he posted to Twitter Thursday night. Jensen said all five investigations were based on allegations from anonymous critics. Jensen said he has provided information to the board, but has heard nothing back in months.

“I should not have to practice medicine, or run for governor, with this cloud of, if you will, uncertainty hanging over my head,” Jensen said in his video. “And yet that’s what I’m doing. I’m living with that.”

Jensen noted in response to a question about the board at Monday’s event that if he’s elected, he’ll get to appoint members to the medical board. “And I said this juggernaut will be dealt with,” he added in his video, describing the board as a “massive, inexorable force” that’s been turned against him for political reasons.

“I will not stand for the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice being weaponized,” he said.

The governor-appointed board comprises 16 people — including physicians, members of the public and an osteopath — who can serve up to two consecutive four-year terms. All were first appointed by Democratic governors and nine seats are due for appointment or reappointment in the next gubernatorial term. Members generally can be removed only for cause or missing meetings.

“The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice investigates complaints as required by and in accordance with state laws and rules,” its executive director, Ruth Martinez, said in an email. “The Board does not have a response to Dr. Jensen’s comments.”

The board does not comment on any complaint unless it decides corrective action is necessary. According to Jensen, it dismissed the first four complaints against him without action.

But the Minnesota Medical Association, which represents more than 12,000 physicians, residents and medical students, defended the Board of Medical Practice.

“Its duty is to protect the public and is required by law to investigate any complaint it receive, while ensuring due process for physicians,” the group’s president, Dr Randy Rice, said in a statement. “The MMA opposes any efforts to politicize the work or the membership of the Board.”

Democrats also blasted Jensen’s comments.

“These despicable remarks are disqualifying,” Ken Martin, the state Democratic Party chairman, said in a statement. “Anyone who repeatedly promises to use the governor’s office to jail or fire their personal enemies is unfit for public service. The doctors who serve on the board investigating Scott Jensen are not anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists, which is what makes them different from him. Scott Jensen’s extremism and disturbing enthusiasm for political retaliation don’t belong anywhere near the governor’s office.”

At least a dozen regulatory boards across the country have sanctioned or investigated doctors for promoting unproven treatments such as ivermectin or spreading COVID-19 falsehoods. Ivermectin is commonly used to treat humans and animals for parasites, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved it to treat or prevent COVID-19.

Jensen confirmed to the St. Paul Pioneer Press recently that he still has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus even though he continues to see patients. He has long maintained that he doesn’t need to get vaccinated because he gained natural immunity when he caught COVID-19 in 2020, a common view in the GOP that conflicts with the prevailing medical wisdom.

Joel Wu, a medical ethicist at the University of Minnesota, said he was troubled by Jensen’s comment that the board is preventing doctors from providing the care their patients want. Wu said patients need to be able to rely on doctors to provide safe and effective care and that the board has a duty to protect the credibility of “the entire medical enterprise” by maintaining professional standards.

“The right for doctors to do what patients want isn’t unconstrained and isn’t unlimited,” Wu said. “Doctors don’t have the right to provide treatments that are illegal, to provide treatments that are unsubstantiated, harmful or ineffective.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
2 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
2 days ago
(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
8 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
16 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
16 days ago
Tom Brundy points to a newly built irrigation canal on one of the fields at his farm Tuesday, Feb. ...
Associated Press

Southwest farmers reluctant to idle farmland to save water

There is a growing sense that fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West.
23 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo: OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center)...

Here’s what you need to know about OCD and where to find help

It's fair to say that most people know what obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders generally are, but there's a lot more information than meets the eye about a mental health diagnosis that affects about one in every 100 adults in the United States.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Minn. Republican threatens retaliation against medical board