A Kansas doctor scrutinized for referring young patients for late-term abortions remains barred from practicing medicine after a state board declared Friday that her inadequate record-keeping justified the revocation of her license.
The State Board of Healing Arts stripped Ann Kristin Neuhaus of her license to provide charity care in 2012, finding she had performed substandard mental health exams in 2003 for 11 patients ages 10 to 18 before referring them to the late George Tiller’s clinic in Wichita.
Neuhaus challenged the findings earlier this year. A Shawnee County District Court judge agreed Neuhaus had kept inadequate records but nonetheless ordered the board to reconsider its decision.
Board members concluded that the record-keeping issues were serious enough that Neuhaus shouldn’t be allowed to practice medicine.
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Neuhaus, from Nortonville, about 30 miles north of Lawrence, wants her full medical license back. She’s expected to challenge the board’s latest decision in court.
In 2003, state law restricted late-term abortions, and Tiller’s clinic needed a second opinion in each case that a patient’s physical or mental health would be seriously and permanently harmed if her pregnancy continued. Neuhaus provided that second opinion.
Legislators tightened the law in 2011 so that it no longer contains a mental health exception.
Abortion opponents have criticized Neuhaus for years, and the board’s case was prompted by a 2006 complaint from an official with the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who appoints the medical board’s members, is a strong opponent of abortion.
Attorneys for a board disciplinary panel noted in a filing in November that Neuhaus was sanctioned in 1999 and 2001 for keeping inadequate records. The attorneys also wrote that poor record-keeping harms patients by denying important information to doctors treating them later.
Neuhaus testified during a disciplinary hearing that she left some information out of her records to protect patients’ privacy. But the board concluded in 2012 that her records lacked pertinent information and in several cases were “wholly inadequate.”
Tiller was among a few doctors in the U.S. known to terminate pregnancies in their last months. A man professing strong anti-abortion views shot Tiller to death in May 2009 in the foyer of the doctor’s Wichita church at the start of a Sunday service.