‘Dr. Alexander’ legislation headed to Snyder

The Senate Judiciary Committee watches a Target 8 investigation into a Muskegon doctor's abortion clinic. (April 30, 2013)

GRAND RAPIDS — Legislation to protect patients from potentially dangerous doctors — which was drafted in response to a Target 8 investigation into a former Muskegon abortion doctor — is headed to the governor for final approval.

The state Senate on Thursday passed four bills meant to improve transparency at the state Board of Medicine. The bills had already passed the state House, so they now head to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for his signature.

Target 8 reported last year that the then-chairman of the Board of Medicine had dismissed allegations of botched abortions — without investigation — against Dr. Robert Alexander.

That chairman, Dr. George Shade, was Alexander’s former mentor and had helped him get his medical license back years ago after Alexander had spent time in prison for selling illegal prescriptions.

Dr. Robert Alexander outside the Detroit STD clinic where he had been working. (Feb. 12, 2014)
(Dr. Robert Alexander outside the Detroit STD clinic where he had been working. Feb. 12, 2014)

The investigation prompted legislation by state Sens. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) and Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge).

Among the changes required by the bills:

  • Three Board of Medicine members must review allegations against doctors, instead of just the board chair. Board members must also disclose possible conflicts of interest.
  • Board members would no longer be able to testify as paid expert witnesses in malpractice suits over allegations that may later reach the board.
  • The state would automatically revoke the license of a health care professional found guilty of criminal sexual conduct against a patient under their care.

Alexander is facing new state charges of incompetence and negligence over conditions at the Muskegon clinic, which was shut down by the city in late 2012.

Target 8 recently found him working at a taxpayer-funded STD clinic in Detroit. He resigned the next day.

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