Medical board meets to review COVID misinformation policy

By: - December 6, 2021 6:01 pm
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

The state’s doctor discipline board has called a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss their policy on holding physicians accountable for spreading COVID misinformation, after Republican lawmakers took action to curb the board’s powers to do so in late October.

The 12-member Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners in September enacted a policy that warns “physicians who generate and spread COVID-19 vaccine misinformation or disinformation are risking disciplinary action by the state medical board, including the suspension or revocation of their medical license.”

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)
Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

A month later,  lawmakers during a three-day specially called session focused on curbing COVID restrictions voted in favor of a measure that bars licensing board from disciplining healthcare professionals unless the board creates special rules. Those rules must now be approved by lawmakers.

Gov. Bill Lee signed the bill into law on Nov. 12.

On Nov. 16, Rep. John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, sent a letter to the board’s president, Dr. Melanie Blake, instructing the board to delete the medical disinformation policy from a state website “without delay” or be compelled to appear before the legislature’s Joint Government Operations Committee “to explain your inaction.” Ragan is the committee’s House chair.

The policy remained posted on the board’s website this week.

The Board of Medical Examiners meets Tuesday at 4 p.m.

 

 

 

 

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Anita Wadhwani
Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee. She is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism. Wadhwani lives in Nashville with her partner and two children.

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