Archive for Monday, April 3, 2006

Board of Healing Arts files charges against ex-member

April 3, 2006

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— Dr. Howard Ellis, former president of Kansas Board of Healing Arts, faces charges brought against him by the regulatory board on which he served before resigning last year.

The Leawood physician was at the center of a controversy last summer when Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed him to a four-year term. The appointment came two months after Ellis voluntarily retired his medical license in Missouri rather than face a disciplinary hearing in that state.

Much of the petition by the Kansas board tracks allegations made in 2003 by the Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts, The Kansas City Star reported.

The Missouri board alleged Ellis tried to convince another physician to alter records and submitted erroneous medical records to investigators in another case.

It also reported the settlement, which listed the license retirement as nondisciplinary, to databanks that track formal disciplinary actions against physicians.

Under Kansas law, the board may discipline physicians based on disciplinary actions taken in other states. The agreement Ellis reached with the Missouri board is grounds for discipline in Kansas, the Kansas board's petition said.

When Ellis filled out his Kansas license renewal application last June, he answered "no" to a question of whether he had surrendered his license in another state. That constitutes fraud or misrepresentation, the petition alleges.

Ellis denied any wrongdoing in a statement released by his attorney last week.

"I look forward to the opportunity to present my side of the story and intend to vigorously defend myself and my reputation in these proceedings," Ellis said in his statement. "I also intend to pursue any and all legal options available to me as it relates to the content of the board's petition and those involved in the board's actions."

Ellis, his attorney and representatives of the healing arts board and the Kansas Office of Administrative Hearings are scheduled to discuss on April 13 the issues raised by the board. Ellis could reach a settlement with the board or contest the allegations in a public hearing. The board can take an array of disciplinary measures, from a public reprimand to license revocation.

Final action could be determined as early as this summer, board attorney Mark Stafford said.

After media reports of his problems in Missouri, Sebelius asked Ellis to resign from the board, which hired an independent investigator to examine his conduct. Based on those findings, the board filed a five-count petition alleging violations of the state's Healing Arts Act.

Ellis served three previous terms on the board and was its president from 1996-97 and 2002-03.

He graduated from the Kansas University School of Medicine in 1978. Trained in obstetrics and gynecology, he now focuses on cosmetic procedures. He also is managing director of MedDevelopment, which has interests in medical facilities across the country.

The 15-member Kansas Board of Healing Arts is responsible for licensing, enforcing state regulations and investigating allegations of professional misconduct. It regulates 11 health care professions, including physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and physician assistants.

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