Rowe tells New Times he is aware that it's illegal for a homeopath to perform breast augmentations and tummy tucks in Arizona without an M.D. or D.O. license. He also confirms that "it's against the law for a doctor who isn't an M.D. in Arizona to advertise himself as an M.D."

So why didn't either issue come up in January, when Schmerler was before the board?

"We are only allowed to focus, as a board, on the complaint. We're limited in what we can explore outside of the initial complaint," Rowe says. But he adds that the board could open its own complaint, if it wanted. He says he's not sure why it didn't.

Dr. Gary Page
Dr. Gary Page

Details


If Arizona lawmakers did disband its homeopathic board, it wouldn't be the first time that's happened in this country. In 1957, the state of Maryland disbanded its 80-year-old homeopathic board amidst controversy surrounding the doctors it was licensing. Other states have followed suit, forcing homeopaths to get licensed with the conventional board.

Some of Arizona's lawmakers say they have higher hopes for the largest homeopathic board in the nation. Despite last year's less-than-favorable audit, the state Senate voted last month to continue the board for two years.

The Senate also passed another omnibus bill that addresses a few of the problems highlighted in the audit. Both bills are expected to pass the House this month. But they don't plug the biggest loophole.

Barbara Leff, a Republican from Paradise Valley, and Paula Aboud, a Tucson Democrat, are members of the Senate Health Committee. Leff did not return calls for this story, but Aboud says she knows about the audit and that she and Leff sponsored amendments to the omnibus bill that would affect the homeopathic board. One amendment touches more on the concerns of activist doctors than the concerns of the audit.

One new clause in the bill confirms the board's power to license doctors who've been kicked out of other states.

Aboud — who has sought treatment from homeopaths — says she's concerned about that very problem.

"If you're doing classical homeopathy, which is merely a spiritual practice of working on the level of the spirit or the body, there are not too many ways a person can be harmed," Aboud tells New Times.

"But this homeopathic board is allowing a homeopathic doctor to do surgery and acupuncture and treatments that do harm the public."

The bill passed by the Senate in March and pending in the House as of press time does take a step toward closing the loophole. It would require doctors who've been revoked to wait five years before applying for their homeopathic license. That doesn't stop doctors from applying months or weeks before their licenses are revoked in their home state.

Dr. Charles Crosby, the Florida sex addict, illustrates why the new legislation wouldn't close the loophole. The intent behind the new line is that a doctor like Crosby couldn't apply for a homeopathic license until five years after he lost his Florida license.

But Crosby didn't apply for his homeopathic license after Florida suspended him. He applied for it two months before they suspended him.

In all states, doctors know when a medical board is investigating them. If doctors think they may lose their conventional licenses, they can secure an Arizona homeopathic license during the months of investigation in their home state.

Then, if their conventional license is stripped, they retain a homeopathic license. The bill that passed the Senate would not stop shrewd doctors from walking through the loophole. It still would allow them to keep a homeopathic license, even if they were stripped of the M.D. or D.O. license two months later — as Crosby was.

Conventional medical boards across the country rubber-stamp revocations. For example, when Dr. Gary Page surrendered his Utah license, California automatically revoked his license there.

Arizona's homeopathic board, however, doesn't have to follow suit.

The new legislation wouldn't affect the homeopathic board's ability to ignore revocations in other states — or even here in Arizona.

In fact, the proposed fixes would have let every single one of the problem doctors in this story into Arizona, though it would have delayed one doctor for two years.

If the House passes a bill that doesn't close the loophole, the governor could still veto it. Governor Janet Napolitano's spokeswoman, Jeanine L'Ecuyer, says she's surprised to hear the homeopathic board has licensed convicted felons.

"The governor has a general policy of not commenting on legislation until it's before her for her signature or veto," L'Ecuyer says. "But what you've described is of tremendous concern. We will begin the process of working with the board to see what's going on because public safety is paramount to the governor."

Dr. Kathleen Fry is one homeopath who doesn't think the new legislation would do enough. Fry is also an M.D. in good standing with the Arizona Medical Board. She testified before the Senate Health Committee in February that the homeopathic board is broken.

"I ask you not to continue this corrupt system because more people may end up maimed or dead." Fry said, then referring to Page's patient.

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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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