Judge Denies Medical Board’s Request for Restraining Order Against Two Redding Medical Center Doctors
A California Superior Court judge yesterday ruled that the Medical Board of California's case seeking to temporarily suspend the licenses of two doctors under federal investigation for performing unnecessary surgeries was without merit, allowing the doctors to continue practicing, the Los Angeles Times reports (Streitfeld, Los Angeles Times, 11/14). The California office of the Attorney General on Friday filed a petition seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the two Redding Medical Center doctors under federal investigation from practicing medicine. The petition, filed on behalf of the state Medical Board in Shasta County Superior Court, alleges that Drs. Chae Hyun Moon and Fidel Realyvasquez violated state law by participating in conduct that represented an "extreme departure ... from the community medical standard of care." The board argued that the two doctors pose an "imminent threat to the health and safety" of local patients (California Healthline, 11/11).
Judge Monica Marlow denied the board's request, finding that its case was based mostly on information provided in an FBI affidavit written to obtain a warrant to search the doctors' offices, which she said was "mainly hearsay, not solid evidence," the New York Times reports (Pollack, New York Times, 11/14). Marlow also rejected a declaration supporting the suspensions filed by Dr. Vincent Yap, a cardiologist who works as a consultant for the Medical Board, because parts of his statement were based on the affidavit (Wallace, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/14). Despite the denial of their request, state officials said they will continue attempts to revoke the two doctors' licenses through an administrative hearing. "This isn't the end of the proceeding. We truly believe the public health, safety and welfare are endangered," Gail Heppel, supervising deputy attorney general of California, said (New York Times, 11/14).
In related news, the San Francisco Chronicle today examines the "aggressive tactics" Tenet Healthcare has used "in its pursuit of profits," which many health care experts say have contributed to rising health care prices. Tenet's strategy to "raise prices, cut costs and try to dominate regional markets" has "hurt consumers nationwide" by driving up costs for hospital care, increasing Medicare bills and boosting the amount insurers pay -- expenses that eventually are passed on to health care consumers, according to some health experts (Said, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.