Kansas Board of Healing Arts Has Authority to Investigate Physician’s Conduct Occurring in Missouri

Physicians who practice medicine in multiple states may be subject to investigation and discipline for conduct occurring outside of Kansas.  The Kansas Supreme Court conferred jurisdiction to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to investigate physicians and potentially discipline Kansas physicians for conduct outside of Kansas. As an experienced professional licensing attorney in Kansas and Missouri, Danielle Sanger, Esq., is well versed with defending physicians facing discipline.

The Kansas Board of Healing Arts has jurisdiction to sanction a physician’s license despite the actionable conduct occurring in another state.  In Ryser v. State of Kansas et als., 284 P. 3d 337 (Kansas 2012), the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the Kansas Board of Healing Arts (“Board”) has the jurisdiction, or the legal authority, to regulate the practice of medicine even if the questioned conduct occurred in another state. In so ruling, the Kansas Supreme Court indicated that the Board has “broad authority to regulate the practice of medicine.”   As part of that authority, the Board “shall undertake investigations regarding its authority to regulate medical practice in Kansas under the “Healing Arts Act (‘the Act’).”  

At the time the litigation commenced, Carol Ann Ryser, M.D., was licensed to practice medicine in both Kansas and Missouri. The Board issued a subpoena for medical records for a patient of Dr. Ryser’s pursuant to its subpoena authority conferred under the Act after Dr. Ryser was sued for malpractice in Missouri. Dr. Ryser moved to quash the subpoena. Dr. Ryser argued that the Act did not grant the Board jurisdiction to investigate claims of malpractice that occurred in Missouri. Dr. Ryser sued in the district court to quash the subpoena and the district court denied her motion. Dr. Ryser appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.

The Kansas Supreme Court upheld the district court’s ruling ordering the subpoena to issue. In ruling against Dr. Ryser, the Court was forced to decide whether the Board possessed jurisdiction over the matter. The Court considered what authority the Act conferred to the Board to investigate. Under the Act, the Board has the duty to investigate matters involving competency, unprofessional conduct, or “any other matter which may result in disciplinary action against a licensee.”  While Dr. Ryser admitted she was licensed to practice medicine in Kansas (because she was in fact licensed in Kansas), she argued that she was not practicing under the Act because the alleged incident occurred while she was treating the patient in Missouri.

The Court thoroughly examined the term “licensee” as it applies to the Act.  The Act itself fails to define what it means to practice under the Act. The Court examined other terms and definitions of other terms within the Act to assist with the interpretation of what it means to “practice.” Consequently, the Court turned to the definition of “healing arts.” The definition of “healing arts” under the Act includes numerous practices and treatments but also without “limitation to the practice of medicine and surgery.”

The Court next turned to the Act’s definition of the “practice of medicine and surgery” to further explicate the meaning of “practice.” The Court was persuaded that “persons deemed to be engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery” are individuals who hold themselves out to the public as physicians or surgeons.  Because the Act, by its own terms, fails to include a geographical limitation upon the practice of medicine, the Court concluded the Board may investigate actions occurring in another state.

Physicians Facing Discipline Must Hire a Zealous Advocate

Danielle Sanger, Esq., has fought to protect the livelihood of Kansas and Missouri physicians facing discipline.  Kansas Professional Licensing Defense Lawyer Danielle Sanger is a zealous advocate who will fight to defend you against allegations of misconduct in the practice of medicine. Call attorney Sanger today at 785-979-4353 for your free consultation.