Archive for Thursday, March 31, 2005

With abortion clinic bill pending, board reviews doctor’s case

March 31, 2005

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— A doctor at the center of a legislative debate about strengthening oversight of abortion providers faces scrutiny from regulators concerned about conditions at his Kansas City, Kan., clinic.

The State Board of Healing Arts last week suspended Dr. Krishna Rajanna's license after an inspector's visit. The board planned a hearing Thursday to decide how long the suspension should last.

Rajanna has said his clinic has been portrayed falsely but agreed last month to pay a $1,000 fine. He signed an order in which the board said he had not kept the clinic clean enough, had failed to follow anesthesia guidelines and was not certified to revive patients whose hearts stop.

Meanwhile, legislators were close to approving a bill setting minimum health and safety standards for abortion clinics and requiring them to obtain an annual license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The Senate approved the bill the same day the board first suspended Rajanna's license. Approval in the House would send the measure to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Sebelius supports abortion rights and has said repeatedly she's unlikely to sign legislation targeting only abortion. She argues a bill should cover all surgeries performed under anesthesia in doctor's offices and clinics rather than in hospitals or surgical centers. She vetoed a bill in 2003 applying only to abortion.

Rajanna's clinic became part of the debate over such legislation last year, when Attorney General Phill Kline made public photos he said had been taken at Rajanna's clinics by an informant.

Kline and fellow abortion opponents said the photos showed Rajanna's clinic was unsafe, demonstrating the need for tougher regulations. Rajanna said the photos misrepresented conditions at his clinic. He also said Kline and others were trying to reduce access to abortion.

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