The Herald Bulletin

December 26, 2013

Editorial: Licensing board actions indicate need for change

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Dr. Frank Campbell has been a respected physician in Madison County. He came out of retirement in 2007 to assist at the Madison County Community Health Center, where he became chief medical officer.

Co-workers appreciated his expertise and medical knowledge. Indeed, Campbell recently received an honorary degree by Anderson University.

But he is in the midst of a state hearing over his medical license. Among concerns by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, he allegedly allowed assistants to use prescription pads pre-signed by him. They were used to prescribe controlled substances when Campbell was not around, and that violates federal law.

Recently, as Campbell sat at a licensing board hearing in Indianapolis, he occasionally put his head in his hands. He looked weary. This is no way for a treasured community servant to approach the end of his career.

Such similar hearings were not a commendable footnote to the careers of Dr. James Hartenbach, Dr. Perrin Dobyns or physician assistants Matthew Taylor and Reagan Taylor. All of them but Dobyns, who ran afoul of the law for a road rage incident in Kentucky, went through hearings as a result of their work at the health center.

The Taylors used prescriptions pre-signed by Campbell. Hartenbach, who had a history of problems with co-workers, had argued with Campbell two weeks before being terminated from his job; the demeanor went against earlier requirements by the licensing board.

Although individual violations of state law deserve disciplinary action, the events collectively point to a dysfunctional community health center. The center, 1547 Ohio Ave., has satellite facilities in Alexandria and Elwood, all serving under-insured and uninsured residents in the area. The clients are folks who often have nowhere else to turn for medical needs; they require trustworthy care that follows legal guidelines.

Over the years, the role this vital health care organization plays in our community has become less clear to those observing from the outside.

This editorial board has already called for the resignation of health center CEO Anthony J. Malone, who also has given years of dedication to serving the needy. But a series of recent licensing board actions indicate a change in culture at the clinic is needed.

Campbellā€™s hearing continues next month.

But the time has come for the health center to revise its approach in providing medical care for its needy clients. Patients should receive individualized medical care by physicians following state and federal laws.

Scott Underwood, who serves on The Herald Bulletin editorial board, is a volunteer board member for the Madison County Community Health Center. He was not involved in the editorial board discussion and the writing of this editorial.

In summary The time has come for the Community Health Center to revise its approach in providing medical care for its needy clients.