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Board passes on crafting conflict rules

Some state lawmakers have pressed Nevada’s Board of Medical Examiners to develop a conflict of interest policy in the wake of concerns about the hepatitis C outbreak.

But at its Friday meeting, instead of developing such a policy, the board decided it best to ensure that board members understand Nevada’s law that addresses conflicts of interest while in public office.

“I think it’s already in statute,” said Dr. Daniel McBride during a discussion about whether to create a policy.

That law, which falls under NRS 281A.020, reads “a public officer or employee must commit himself to avoid conflicts between his private interests and those of the general public whom he serves.”

The idea of developing a conflict of interest policy is in large part due to questions raised by state lawmakers about the board’s reaction to the hepatitis C outbreak.

During a discussion about the outbreak by the Legislative Committee on Health Care earlier this year, lawmakers asked the medical board’s executive director, Tony Clark, if it had a policy.

Clark said the medical board “got beat up,” when lawmakers learned it did not have a conflicts of interest policy.

“It was one of those situations where you had to be there,” he told the board Friday.

During Friday’s meeting, members also agreed to launch a new Web site and to include information about doctors’ malpractice history that it removed in 2004.

Currently, the board’s Web site lists the names of doctors, practice addresses, and any disciplinary actions.

The new Web site will include that same information as well as malpractice cases that ended in settlement, award or judgment. For now, only cases involving at least $5,000 will be posted.

Cases that are dismissed or that are currently under investigation will not be included on the Web site.

The Web site will include physician license numbers, board certifications and their education and training.

The board did not say when the new Web site would be launched.

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