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Miss. doctors could lose their license for spreading COVID-19 misinformation

Local doctor explains the policy and what qualifies as misinformation
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Losing their license to practice medicine – that’s the penalty doctors could face for spreading false information about COVID-19.

Dr. Mark Horne from South Central Regional Medical Center is the past president of the Mississippi State Medical Association. He says it’s not a new policy to revoke a medical license if a doctor is harming patients with misinformation.

“A physician who is licensed by the State of Mississippi to practice medicine is always required to not mislead, to not misdirect, to give good advice. That’s always been a requirement,” explains Horne.

He says this policy applies to any disease or patient appointment. The recent campaign related to COVID-19 is a reminder of the policy.

“And this is a reminder given that there’s been a lot of misinformation spread by a variety of sources. Various boards, including the Mississippi Board of Licensure, has just reminded their licensees of their responsibilities,” Horne says.

Horne says as we learn more about COVID-19, doctors have a responsibility to look at each of their patients carefully to give them the best individual care.

If patients or colleagues believe a doctor is harming patients with false information, they can learn how to submit a statement to the licensure board here. The Mississippi State Licensure Board does livestream all meetings and has videos of past meetings. You can find the schedule and links to past meetings here.

Horne says the policy most applies to large sweeping false statements.

“For instance, if I were to go out and tell all my patients that I thought they should never get vaccinated, that they should only take unapproved medication, that they should never take approved medications for any disease, much less covid-19, I might have to go to the board of medical licensure and explain to them why I was so far off of the beaten path,” explains Horne.

Horne says the malpractice rule has been in place for as long as he has been seeing patients, and he doesn’t think this is a scare tactic or something dedicated doctors have to worry about.

“I’m never anxious because I always try to do the right thing. Keep doing the right thing, do what’s best for your patients, practice science-based medicine, and then I think everybody’s going to be fine,” he says.

You can read the official board COVID Medical Misinformation Policy here.

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