Donald Patrick, executive director of the Texas Medical Board, will retire on August 28, according to a Board press release issued this morning. Patrick has held the position since 2001. The retirement date marks his 70th birthday.
The Board has formed a search committee to find a replacement, according to the release, which states: “If the committee has not found a replacement by the time Dr. Patrick retires, TMB’s Director of Enforcement Mari Robinson will serve as Interim Executive Director until a new Executive Director is hired.”
Patrick stepped in on the heels of intense media scrutiny that criticized the Board’s inefficient disciplinary process. While some believe the Board has improved its practices, the Arizona-based Association of American Physicians and Surgeons sued the Board last December for an allegedly cozy relationship with insurance companies and a biased complaint system that targets doctors the Board doesn’t like.
The Association’s members include Ron Paul; a Dallas doctor accused of injecting his patients with jet fuel; and Houston’s own Steven Hotze, who believes that all disease can be cured with prayer. The Association also publishes a journal with articles by doctors who believe that AIDS is not caused by a virus and is not contagious, and that Satanic instructions on an “American Stonehenge” in Georgia prove that AIDS is a “population control” program sponsored by either the U.N., the U.S. government, Lucifer, or some kick-ass combo of the three.
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From the TMB release: Dr. Patrick joined the agency in September, 2001. During his nearly seven years with TMB, he oversaw a reorganization of the licensure application process, increasing efficiency and reducing the time for licensing a qualified physician in Texas. After a series of news articles revealed lax prosecution of disciplinary cases, followed by legislative action giving TMB additional staff, resources and powers, Dr. Patrick and agency staff improved the enforcement functions of the agency, increasing the number of board orders issued each year while reducing the time it takes to resolve cases. Most recently, TMB issued a rule allowing minor administrative violations to be fast-tracked and treated like traffic violations, further reducing the amount of agency time and resources spent in minor cases, allowing it to focus on more egregious standard of care and behavioral issues. Dr. Patrick graduated from Baylor College of Medicine in 1962 and trained in neurosurgery at Baylor and the University of Washington. He served in the U.S. Army as the Chief of Neurosurgery at the 24th Evacuation Hospital, Long Binh Vietnam, which, during his tour of duty in 1967-68, was the busiest neurosurgical trauma hospital in the world. He received a Bronze Star Medal for his work there. Dr. Patrick began his practice as a neurosurgeon in Austin in 1969 and has been the Chief of Staff at both Brackenridge Hospital and The Rehabilitation Hospital of Austin (now Health South). He served as an on-call neurosurgeon at Brackenridge Hospital Emergency Department for 23 years. Dr. Patrick was the Chief of Surgery at Round Rock Medical Center at the time of his appointment as TMB Executive Director. He received a law degree from U.T. Austin in 1996. He is married to Dr. Carolyn Biebas, an anesthesiologist. – Craig Malisow