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AAD members vote to remove board member


 

Members of the American Academy of Dermatology have voted to remove a board member for launching an organization that offered board certification to physician assistants (PAs).

Dr. Scott M. Dinehart

Dr. Scott M. Dinehart

Of 6,467 votes cast, 97% favored removal of Scott M. Dinehart, MD, from his position on the American Academy of Dermatology/Association board of directors, which met the two-thirds threshold required for board removal. The vote follows a unanimous decision by the AAD/A board to present AAD members with a resolution to dismiss Dr. Dinehart for his involvement with the American Board of Dermatology Physician Assistants (ABDPA), an organization that planned to offer board certification to PAs who work with dermatologists. Dr. Dinehart’s association with the group violated his fiduciary duties to the AAD/A and represented a conflict of interest, according to the AAD/A board.

In an interview with Dermatology News, Dr. Dinehart said it was an honor and privilege to serve on the board, and that he was disappointed by those who chose to rescind his election. Most people who study the issue will realize the recent events were precipitated by a turf battle between dermatologists and dermatology PAs, he added.

“I want to emphasize my record of service to dermatology not only in Arkansas but also across the United States and internationally,” Dr. Dinehart said in the interview. “I have always been committed to doing what is best for patients and our specialty and will continue to do so. In addition to providing direct patient care, I am a tireless educator, willing to teach all health professionals whether they are medical students, physician assistants, residents, family doctors, or other physician specialists. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to serve you and look forward to continuing to express my vision for excellence in dermatology as I move forward in my career.”

In a statement to members, AAD/A Secretary Treasurer Marta Van Beek, MD, said the issue has been a difficult matter for the AAD/A to address, but that the voting results clearly represent the will of members.

“I want to thank the members for their thoughtful participation in the process and their continued engagement with the AAD/A as we return our focus to the important work that we are undertaking on behalf of our specialty and our patients,” Dr. Van Beek, professor of dermatology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, said in the statement.

The ABDPA was formed legally at the end of September and announced its official launch on Oct. 7. The new organization immediately drew criticism from dermatologists and triggered an online petition that denounced the group and called for Dr Dinehart’s removal from the AAD/A board. The petition, started by an anonymous dermatologist, states Dr. Dinehart’s concurrent relationships with the AAD and the ABDPA represent a major conflict of interest. As of Oct. 31, the petition had collected 4,200 signatures.

Dr. George J. Hruza

Dr. George J. Hruza

AAD President George J. Hruza, MD, said that Dr. Dinehart’s action to incorporate and organize the for-profit entity ABDPA LLC was in direct contradiction to the AAD’s Truth in Advertising and Professional Disclosure policy that states that practitioners should not advertise that they are board certified unless they are certified by an American Board of Medical Specialties or American Osteopathic Association medical board. The for-profit venture would enable PAs to advertise themselves as board certified, Dr. Hruza said in a previous interview with Dermatology News. He added that the group was “set up to potentially mislead patients into thinking that physician assistants with this certification would have training and experience equivalent to an ABD-certified dermatologist.

In a letter to AAD members, Dr. Dinehart however, said the ABDPA was intended to improve patient care by establishing certain educational, training, and professional standards for the growing number of PAs in dermatology. That mission was not in conflict with AAD’s values, but rather, the ABDPA would have furthered AAD’s purpose “to promote the highest standards in allied health professionals and services as they relate to dermatology,” according to Dr. Dinehart. He called the removal vote a drastic measure and contended that his actions did not justify dismissal from the AAD/A board.

After learning of the board’s concerns, Dr. Dinehart discontinued his relationship with the ABDPA and ended its operations.

Members voted on Dr. Dinehart’s position from Oct. 21 to Oct. 29. The seat vacated by the recall election will be filled through the AAD/A’s annual election, which opens Saturday, March 21, 2020, according to the AAD/A. The successful candidate will be selected to start their term immediately and fill the vacated seat until the close of the 2022 AAD/A Annual Meeting.

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