Tennessee Medical Council removes disinformation policy on Covid

Under pressure from a Republican lawmaker threatening to dissolve the Tennessee board of medical examiners, the panel voted to remove from its website a policy that threatens to formally discipline doctors who disseminate false information about Covid.

The board of directors voted 7-3 to remove the policy from the site after Republican State Representative John Ragan sent letters demanding the policy be “quickly removed.”[d]. An attorney who works with the council, Jennifer Putnam, explained the request in a letter, writing: “Ragan has also made it clear that he has no qualms about moving forward with the dissolution of the [Board of Medical Examiners] and replenish it with new members. He actually did it with another state agency, so it’s not an empty threat. “

In response, the state’s medical board chose to remove the policy from its website, which in part stated that “Doctors who generate and disseminate misinformation or misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine risk disciplinary action from the state medical board, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license. The policy was based on the language of the Federation of State Medical Boards. Although the board has removed the language from its site, the board has not rescinded the policy entirely, so it still remains in effect, Tennessee reported.

Indeed, the board has decided to follow the exact wording of the request from Ragan, who chairs the House Joint Government Operations Committee. Ragan ordered the board to “quickly remove” her statement on medical disinformation, so that’s what they voted for: remove it from the website. “If you don’t act quickly, your organization will have to come before the Joint Government Operations Committee to explain your inaction,” Ragan wrote to the committee last month, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Tennessee Lookout.

Tennessee reported that Department of Health attorney Grant Mullins, during the meeting, expressed concern that there was no precedent for the board to keep a policy that is not also listed on its site Web. He suggested that the board take another vote on whether or not to cancel the policy. “With all due respect, Mr Mullins, we broke new ground … with a lot of things about it,” replied board member Dr Stephen Loyd, according to the Lookout. “We were asked to remove this. When you talk about rescinding a policy or rescinding our accusation, it’s a whole different vote. “

Tennessee conservatives have attacked government officials who have advocated for public health measures during the pandemic. In July, the state fired its top immunization official, Dr Michelle Fiscus, for writing a letter to medical providers administering vaccines explaining a decades-old state legal mechanism – the Mature Minors Doctrine – which allows providers to vaccinate minors over 14 years of age without parents. consent. This made her a target for Tory lawmakers who demanded her sacking, including Ragan, who threatened to dissolve the state’s health department in retaliation.

Fiscus responded to news on Wednesday that the Medical Examiner’s Board had removed its policy on Covid disinformation. First TN legislature wants to dismantle State Department[artment] of health to share the TN law [with] doctors ”, she tweeted. “Now he wants to dissolve the board of directors of med[icine] to discipline docs for spreading disinformation. Pro-Covid, pro-government, anti-science. Embarrassing.”

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