Another Front in the Van Boven War

Bill requires Texas Medical Board to clear doctor’s name

The long-raging dispute between Dr. Robert Van Boven and the Texas Medical Board took another legislative turn late in session, as the House enacted a TMB-related bill that should benefit the Lakeway neurologist.

Dr. Robert Van Boven (Photo by John Anderson)

HB 1504, now on the governor’s desk, would require the TMB to remove from its official records statements of disciplinary actions or accusations filed against a doctor, if those actions have been shown to be baseless – exactly the situation concerning Van Boven. Since he was exonerated of alleged violations by the State Office of Administrative Hearings in 2017, Van Boven has been legally pressing the TMB (without success) to remove or “void” the allegations from listing on the National Practitioner Data Bank, the federal register of disciplinary actions against physicians.

Van Boven had hoped that HB 602, including that requirement, would accomplish the job – it passed favorably out of the Public Health Committee, but died in Calendars. But HB 1504, an omnibus bill on TMB matters, includes similar provisions, including a requirement that, if a complaint against a doctor has been shown to be “baseless, unfounded, or not supported by sufficient evidence,” the TMB must remove the allegations from the doctor’s agency profile. And in a colloquy on the House floor with the bill’s author (Rep. Chris Paddie), Rep. Bill Zedler elicited a statement concerning the intent of HB 1504. Paddie first confirmed the TMB obligation to remove the original complaint from the TMB’s physician profile. Zedler then asked if that circumstance additionally obligates the TMB to issue a void (or removal) order with the NPDB.

“It is my understanding,” replied Paddie, “that … current statute says that they will give that notification or, as it is properly termed, a void order. So they should absolutely do what the statute requires them to do today.”

The TMB’s refusal to issue a void order in the case of Dr. Van Boven is one aspect of Van Boven’s current lawsuit against TMB personnel who have thus far refused to follow the law – instead appealing to the Third Court of Appeals. In the Public Health Committee hearing on HB 602, Rep. Eddie Lucio III told the TMB staff witnesses, "It's as if a prosecutor, after the judge or jury finds you innocent, says, 'But I'm still going to find you guilty.’”

On May 22, Van Boven’s attorney David Tuckfield wrote the assistant attorneys general representing the TMB, imploring them once again to remove the baseless allegations from the doctor’s TMB profile and to notify the NPDB accordingly. Remarked Van Boven about the TMB’s intransigence, "It's an Alice in Wonderland situation," he said. "An exercise in Orwellian doublespeak.”


For the full story, see austinchronicle.com/robert-van-boven.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Robert Van Boven, Texas Medical Board, 86th Texas Legislature

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