Health

Iowa Board of Medicine to reconsider vote to reinstate executive director

No explanation has been given on Mark Bowden's administrative leave or added meeting

By Friday afternoon, the Iowa Board of Medicine apparently was reconsidering a decision it had made earlier that morning to reinstate Mark Bowden as its executive director.

After discussing the matter in closed sessions and away from the public view Friday morning, the board voted unanimously to allow Bowden to return to the board’s top administrative role, which he had held since 2008.

Bowden, who had been on administrative leave for about a month, was reinstated by board members with a vote of 6-0, with three members absent and with no further discussion.

However, the board members were reconsidering that decision by Friday afternoon and planning to hold a closed meeting Monday to finalize the matter. The Iowa Board of Medicine released an agenda with only one item up for consideration — on “the employment status of the board’s executive director.”

Portions of the meeting, which will begin at 7:30 a.m. Monday, may be held in closed session, according to the agenda. If the board intends to take final action, members will vote in open session.

Calls to the Board of Medicine in regard to the Monday meeting were not immediately returned.

In the public session before Friday morning’s vote, Bowden called the pending decision to possibly terminate his role “unfair beyond belief” as it had been done without explanation and without an opportunity for him to address or rectify any issue.

“If I thought I conducted myself in a manner that warranted termination, I would certainly admit it today,” he said before the board members voted Friday. “I do not intend to dignify your offer that I submit a resignation in lieu of termination.”

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Bowden, a longtime former editor of The Gazette, was paid more than $114,000 in fiscal 2017 as the Board of Medicine’s executive director, state records show.

Officials have offered no explanation as to why Bowden initially was placed on administrative leave, but have cited personnel matters and a pending litigation as the reason for this closed door discussion.

Before moving to go into closed session on Thursday, Board Board chairman Kyle Ulveling, of Carroll, cited provisions of the Iowa Code that allows a state board to vote to close a meeting to the public “to discuss the appointment, hiring, performance or discharge of an individual” in situations where it is “necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to the reputation of the individual whose appointment, hiring, performance or discharge is under consideration.”

The law also allows meetings to be closed to discuss “strategy with counsel for matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where disclosure would likely prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation,” he said.

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.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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