Iowa board can sanction physician who gave up license in another state

A judge has upheld the Iowa Board of Medicine's right to sanction Dennis Colby, MD, who surrendered his Minnesota license amid a substandard care investigation, Iowa Capital Dispatch reported July 11. 

Dr. Colby, who operates at Belmond-based Iowa Specialty Clinic, said the board couldn't penalize him for surrendering his license to practice in Minnesota. The Iowa board argued that state licensing boards often penalize physicians based on actions by other states, to which Dr. Colby countered that the surrendering was a voluntary decision, so it could not be considered discipline. 

This case is important, according to the Dispatch, because in some cases, Iowa-practicing physicians will agree to surrender their licenses in other states to stall out-of-state investigations while they continue to work in Iowa.

In 2018, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice received a complaint that Dr. Colby was prescribing certain medications in a dangerous manner. The allegations included overprescribing and failing to monitor prescriptions, failing to order a CT scan, leading to the delayed identification of a subdural hemorrhage, and clearing a patient for general anesthesia without conducting a cardiovascular risk assessment, among other claims. 

In September 2021, the Iowa board voted to fine Dr. Colby $2,500, prohibit him from prescribing or administering controlled substances and place his license on probation for three years. 

Dr. Colby challenged these claims, and Polk County District Judge Scott Beattie ruled in the board's favor. 

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