Licensure boards are supposed to protect the public from dangerous practitioners. But while often failing in this basic function, they frequently abuse their power, writes Sheila Page, D.O., in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Because of the rules adopted to address the “opioid crisis,” patients suffering from pain and withdrawal have found fewer places to get help, even for short-term pain. “Pain management became more centralized as independent doctors couldn’t risk being accused of running an unregistered pain clinic, and patients were being funneled to highly profitable specialty clinics that made a livelihood solely from pain management,” Dr. Page writes.

Although our legal system is supposed to guarantee basic rights of due process, “licensed medical and legal professionals are ruled by kangaroo courts set up by administrative law,” she states.

“The primary targets for unjust prosecution have been independent private practices.” She cites cases of aggressive unwarranted searches, warrantless seizures of medical records, use of paid anonymous “expert” witnesses, withholding of exculpatory information, excessive fines, and harassment through unreasonable, prolonged investigations.

“The system of administrative law is quasi-judicial and has very little accountability to the people it seeks to control or protect,” she states.

Lawyers with integrity face similar unconstitutional governance.

If a lawyer who defended innocent people against powerful entities loses his battle with the state licensing authority, politically persecuted or wrongfully charged persons can expect great difficulty in finding an honest attorney to represent them, Dr. Page states. “Similarly, patients experience increasing difficulty finding physicians who are more concerned about the patient’s welfare rather than approval by hospital administrators or pharmaceutical companies.”

So far, efforts to reform licensure boards and restore constitutional rights to citizens have met with resistance at many levels of government, Dr. Page writes.

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.

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