It's a little easier to get a D.O. license. If you have lost your D.O. license elsewhere, or you're a convicted felon, you are eligible to apply — but given recent history, it is unlikely Arizona's D.O. board will let you through. An M.D. cannot apply for a D.O. license, or vice versa. The rules for M.D.s and D.O.s are similar in other states.

In order to apply for a homeopathic license in Arizona, you must be either an M.D. or a D.O. in good standing in Arizona or another state. If you have lost a license elsewhere in the past, that's okay. If you are a convicted felon, you're still free to apply. And most significant: Once you are a homeopath, if you lose the license that got you in the door in the first place, you're fine. It doesn't affect your homeopathic license.

(Homeopaths in Arizona aren't even required by law to practice homeopathic medicine. That's a far cry from Connecticut, where the homeopathic license is good for homeopathic treatment and little else.)

Dr. Gabriel Cousens
Dr. Gabriel Cousens
Click the image above to see a detail of documents from the Florida Department of Health that show Dr. Charles Crosby had a problem before the Arizona homeopathic board licensed him.
Click the image above to see a detail of documents from the Florida Department of Health that show Dr. Charles Crosby had a problem before the Arizona homeopathic board licensed him.

Details

Doctors who've committed felonies or have had their licenses revoked in other states need only to listen to a couple audio CDs about homeopathy before applying for a homeopathic license in Arizona. (One $880 correspondence course is actually taught by board president Dr. Todd Rowe.)

A homeopathic license in Arizona costs $975, almost twice as much as a conventional M.D. license ($500). Since a conventional license allows doctors to practice classic homeopathy, there are only two reasons to pay more for the homeopathic license: because you're banned from getting a conventional license or because you want to experiment with treatments the conventional board doesn't allow.

The homeopathic board also fails to discipline the doctors it has already licensed. That's one finding from — amazingly — the first audit of the homeopathic board done since 1985. The report was released in August 2007 by Arizona's Auditor General.

"The Board appears to allow conduct that the other two Arizona physician regulatory boards have determined is unsafe or unprofessional," the auditor general reports.

Auditors concluded there may no longer be a need for the board, which was created in 1981 at the behest of alternative doctors, because many alternative procedures are now allowed with conventional licenses. They also found the board has:

• Sometimes waited for more than a year to look into complaints against doctors.

• Licensed homeopathic doctors who weren't competent in homeopathy.

• Licensed a revoked Arizona D.O. who failed the homeopathy exam three times.

• Dismissed complaints against doctors without considering the accusations.

• Allowed doctors to practice medicine far beyond the scope of homeopathy.

• Failed to explain the difference between an M.D. and an M.D.h. to the public.

Copies of the August 2007 audit were delivered to the 12 state senators and representatives who sit on the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

And yet, legislation currently being considered by the state House of Representatives would rubber-stamp the homeopathic board for two more years. Another bill attempts to clean up the board, but it fails to plug the loophole that lets doctors with revoked licenses into Arizona. In fact, the second bill solidifies the board's power to license doctors who have had their licenses revoked.

Current homeopathic board members say they are addressing the concerns listed in the audit. But recent board decisions indicate otherwise.

New Times researched the licensing history of all 107 homeopathic physicians in the state and reviewed hundreds of pages of board records. Among the findings:

• One-fourth of Arizona's homeopaths have lost their conventional M.D. or D.O. licenses.

• The homeopathic board has licensed at least five convicted felons, whose crimes range from tax fraud to mail fraud. Four are now practicing. The other is on parole.

• The board dismissed a complaint against a homeopath after a patient died. Although a county medical examiner determined that the homeopath caused the death, the board ruled that the procedure did not violate the rules of homeopathy.

• One-fourth of the homeopaths licensed in Arizona don't live or practice in Arizona. Some practice with their Arizona M.D.h. in states where their M.D. license has been revoked. That is illegal in some states and legal in others.

• Other state medical boards pay professional investigators to study complaints against doctors. The homeopathic board uses volunteer alternative doctors to investigate their colleagues.

• Some doctors use their Arizona homeopathic licenses to perform face lifts, breast augmentations, liposuctions, and other surgeries that homeopaths aren't allowed to perform.

• Doctors who claim an interest in homeopathy need little training in the field to get an Arizona license.

Anna Prassa was a public member of the homeopathic board from 2000 to 2006. She says the board is flawed beyond repair.

"There's a reason why another state revokes a doctor's license," Prassa says. "For that to happen — and then they can waltz right into our state and get a license — that's a problem. It's a crime."

DR. GARY PAGE

In 2004, Dr. Gary Page, a dermatologist and M.D. from Utah, sent an application to the Arizona Medical Board. The Arizona Medical Board sent Page's application right back. Because his Utah license had been surrendered for Internet prescribing (and his California license revoked, as a result), Page wasn't eligible by law to apply for an M.D. license in Arizona.

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11 comments
Mrs. Arpaio
Mrs. Arpaio

I wish Joe Arpaio would make an appointment with one of these "doctors", heck I will even pay the bill.

kingarthurusa
kingarthurusa

I stayed at Cousens's place. It was cold,and not a place to fast or in my opinion to stay. A few people complained. I went there after reading his book sand meeting Cousens to write about positive points on the place Go to tripadvisor The disillusioned do not complain because of their shame and embarrassment. The locals called it the bush of death. They told me the story of the unfortunate Charles Levy. Now the the Phoenix Times have published it, the facts are true.A Spiritual welcome can cost money as well as health. People can be vulnerable when ill and certain health centers can easily pray on the weak.

SandyB
SandyB

SandyB says: Being from where the doctor used to live in Incline Village, Nevada and coming across this article makes my stomach turn.Apparently Arizona's Board of Medical Examiners can't even use a computer. A simple google on just the name ELLIOTT SCHMERLER would bring up enough information to ban him from having a license for any kind of 'practice'.In Incline here, he mamed so many of his patients by doing invasive surgeries of which he is not even legally trained to do. There are several eyebrow lift mistakes with huge scars and many of his patients died or almost died because of his malpractice. Elliott Schmerler WAS a family practitioner. He went to a couple of conferences where they sold the laser cosmetic surgery machines and bought one. Then he brought in Dr Morton Reza Mazaheri,http://www.healthgrades.com/di...(who did Betty Fords face in Palm Springs) and used Dr Mzaheri's CA license number to perform invasive surgeries. They both committed negligence on many, many patients- together and separately. Mr Schmerler had 6 counts of malpractice, 6 counts of tax fraud and 6 counts of moral turpitude on his patients, all at once in 2001. It was in our Bonanza paper.It's very easy to google their history. They have both lost their licenses. Mr Schmerler lost all 4 of his licenses and any reciprocity in other states, according to the articles written by staff that attended his senticing to prison in Federal Court in Reno Oct 31, 2002.

If you need more info on this guy, contact archives in both the 'Reno Gazette' and Incline newspaper the 'Bonanza', or just simply google Elliott Schmerler and scroll through the many pages of convictions and court appearances.

Citizen Deux
Citizen Deux

Interesting and powerful article. As a state which permits all manner of "alternaitve" practices and beliefs, this is one whihc has the power (and has) to harm the public. There is no need for a separate board to regulate homeopathic doctors. Setting aside the unproven science behind the pseudo-religious homeopathy itself, there are too many other aspects left to potentially dangerous, untrained individuals to practice on an unsuspecting public.

Many consumers do not realize that complementary and alternative medicine is often in that category because there is no science to support its efficacy! It is understandable for people to seek out treatment to provide relief from chronic ills, untreatable by conventional medicine, but it is the responsibility of the state to make sure those "secondary" paths are not fraught with peril from fraudulent practicioners.

I think you did not go far enough in this article.

Marcy
Marcy

Homopathetic "doctors" are one big step below chiroquacks on the big scale of medicine.

You might as well visit a witch doctor.

Lauren
Lauren

I'm not going to argue your statement about those doctors you mentioned becoming Homeopathic doctors in Arizona because I have no facts. Speaking of facts, however, your "impression" of homeopathy is completely incorrect. Homeopathic medicine does not believe in injecting people with pollen, etc. It's disappointing that you didn't do your research on it before writing the article. Get your facts straight!

AZ Mom
AZ Mom

No one condones professional misconduct by doctors but I agree with #1, it is long overdue to cover the professional misconduct by lawyers, prosecutorial misconduct by prosecutors in the County Attorney's office and others who in law enforcement, legal, judicial and prison systems, who destroy lives, families and children with reckless abandon and they do it without a conscience or even looking back -- as they "move on" to the next political career move! We want to hear about these stories and ruined lives.

selly
selly

Seems the medicine and technology are becoming more and more advanced. Not sure if any doctor can cure HIV or AIDS. I heard that bisexuals or gays are easily infected with that. But I have some bisexual friends on the site BiLoves, they told me they haven't been like that since there are some experts like Beth to guide them about that.

HOW ABOUT THE LAWYERS NEXT?
HOW ABOUT THE LAWYERS NEXT?

This article brings to mind --- Do us a public service with a series on lawyers and the damage they have done to thousands of lives and families, women and children. Lawyers destroy lives, too, by not doing their job, as more and more people get thrown into Arizona prisons or are coerced into pleas, losing their right to vote and have a voice, or get a job. The "Pew Prison Report - 1 in 100 adults in Prison", people sitting in jails and prisons in harsh and inhumane conditions. A blind eye is turned on this destruction of life and harm to our society. All those sitting in prison had lawyers.

It's time the lawyers were held to the same standards as a doctor or nurse, and not protected by immunity and Bar associations that do nothing. At least the medical boards take immediate action.

Now that you are exposing the medical professionals for their failures. We hope you do an in depth series on the damage the lawyers, both prosecutors and defense, have caused to the thousands of destroyed lives, families, women, children and the future of our society, as they "move on" to become our judges, elected officials and legislators, writing policies that affect us all.

Those living in the State of Arizona are currently paying a huge price in both in human misery and tax dollars for the damage of a broken legal system that no one is trying to fix. Lawyers here just keep collecting the huge fees, with no accountability. No insurance coverage for the people. Lawyers, with many bar complaints, are still seen in the courtrooms, year after year, still destroying lives. This a serious issue that needs to have sunlight shine harshly on the bad lawyers destroying lives daily. Let's hear those stories!

 
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