The Iowa Board of Medicine has named one of its staff members as the interim head of the organization following the unexplained departure of its former executive director.
Kent Nebel, director of legal affairs of the Iowa Board of Medicine, was named interim executive director of the state medical board during a brief meeting with no public discussion Thursday morning.
Board members voters voted unanimously — with two members absent — to instate Nebel.
Nebel, who has been the board’s legal adviser for nearly 20 years, will serve as interim while the board conducts a nationwide search for a permanent executive director.
The board’s previous executive director, Mark Bowden, retired at the end of last July — the same day he was reinstated to the position by board members — following a back and forth scenario that has not been explained by officials.
Bowden, a longtime former editor of The Gazette, was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons for about a month before the board gathered to discuss his status in predominantly closed sessions on July 26. The next morning, the board unanimously voted to reinstate him to his former position but indicated later that afternoon a desire to reconsider the action.
Bowden submitted his retirement letter to the board that day.
“I want to thank you for your confidence in my ability to continue administering the agency where I have served honorably for the past 10 years,” Bowden wrote. “Unfortunately, over the past eight months I have been hindered in my work by what I perceive are substantial deficiencies in service and a lack of adequate support from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Administrative Services.
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“The grossly unfair way in which I was treated by the personnel staff of these departments and state counsel during the past months broke the trust and confidence I need to effectively lead and administer the agency. Consequently, I am retiring from state service.”
As the Board of Medicine’s executive director, Bowden was paid more than $114,000 during fiscal year 2017, state records show.
The Iowa Board of Medicine, an executive branch agency within the Iowa Department of Public Health, has the authority to regulate the practice of medicine and surgery, acupuncture and genetic counseling, with duties that include licensing physicians and taking disciplinary action to fine or suspend licensed practitioners if they are found to have provided substandard care or violated ethics.
Gazette Des Moines bureau reporter Rod Boshart contributed to this article.
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