Mississippi College Board Trustee Dr. Doug Rouse Under Scrutiny for Surgery Center Ownership

Mississippi College Board trustee Doug Rouse, MD, has been warned of possible ethics law violations concerning his ownership in a surgery center that provides medical services to the University of Southern Mississippi, according to a Hattiesburg American report.

The Mississippi Ethics Commission warned Dr. Rouse in July of possible ethics law violations. The commission's opinion is concerned with his dual roles as public servant to the state universities and owner of Southern Bone & Joint Specialists and its outpatient surgery arm, Southern Surgery Center in Hattiesburg.

SBJ, with 13 orthopedic surgeons and three sports medicine surgeons, has provided medical treatment to Southern Miss athletes, during Dr. Rouse's tenure on the College Board, though Dr. Rouse denies receiving any money from Southern Miss during his tenure on the College Board.

Dr. Rouse maintains he was never warned of possible ethics violations regarding his business' relationship with Southern Miss. The university's athletics budget provides secondary medical insurance coverage to all student athletes, meaning it pays for medical services from SBJ/Southern Surgery Center after the students' primary medical insurer has been billed. Dr. Rouse states he has stopped performing surgeries on Southern Miss athletes, starting when he became a trustee.

He also states that the school and SBJ/Southern Surgery Center have ended their exclusive relationship since he accepted the trustee post.

Citing sections of the Mississippi Code of 1972 pertaining to authorized business relationships, it warns that it is a conflict of interest for a trustee or his business to receive medical insurance benefits where the insurance premiums are paid by the university or its athletic foundation.

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