By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
10:06 PM EDT, June 14, 2013
A state panel restored the license of the doctor who is medical director of a group of abortion clinics accused by state regulators of putting women's health at risk, while the licenses of two other physicians who worked at the clinics remain suspended.
The Maryland Board of Physicians this week reinstated the license of Dr. Mansour G. Panah of Associates in OB/GYN Care, saying that evidence he presented at a hearing showed that he poses "no imminent danger to public health or safety." The board, however, upheld the suspension of Dr. Michael A. Basco, another physician who worked with the same practice.
A hearing scheduled for a third suspended physician, Dr. Iris E. Dominy, did not occur, said Christine A. Farrelly, deputy director of the physicians board. She denied wrongdoing through her attorney.
The state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene suspended the licenses of four clinics run by Associates in OB/GYN Care in May. The clinics in Baltimore, Cheverly, Frederick and Silver Spring cannot perform surgical abortions without the licenses.
The licenses of the doctors were suspended subsequently, citing the clinics' violations of the state's new abortion regulations.
According to an order posted on the board's website, documentation and other evidence that Panah presented "significantly changed the board's preliminary findings."
However, the board concluded that Basco had not provided ample evidence to show his practice does not put the public's health and safety in danger. He now can request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Basco told investigators that it was protocol for clinic staff to administer a drug that induces abortions to patients who are at least 11 weeks pregnant, even if a doctor hadn't evaluated the patient or if a doctor wasn't on site, according to board filings.
In a statement, Bridget Wilson, a spokeswoman for Associates in OB/GYN Care, said, "We are glad to hear that the correct decision was made and that Dr. Panah's license was reinstated."
Richard Bardos, an attorney for Panah and Associates in OB/GYN Care, said the practice of having staff administer the inducement drug regardless of whether patients had been evaluated by a doctor "was not the practice or policy of all of the clinics."
Basco's attorney, Robert Levin, declined to comment Friday.
In board filings, investigators said Dominy practiced "in an environment in which unlicensed/untrained office staff were allowed to perform ultrasounds, evaluate fetal gestational age, and provide medications to patients to promote abortions."
Kevin Dunne, one of Dominy's attorneys, said the doctor was a contract employee for the facility and that she was "painted with a broad brush" based on what others allegedly did.
"She never saw anything wrong," he said. "She never ordered the administration of medicine when she wasn't present."
Dunne said he expects Dominy to have a hearing before the board next month.
"Dr. Dominy is a good physician," he said. "We intend to get her license back."
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