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Doctor with 'inappropriate practices' still working in Belmond
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Doctor with 'inappropriate practices' still working in Belmond

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A doctor who surrendered his license in another state and whose evaluation by that state’s board found deficits in knowledge, reasoning and judgment is now practicing family medicine in Belmond, and is affiliated with an Iowa Specialty hospital there.

Dr. Dennis Colby is listed as a family medicine physician at the Belmond Clinic at Iowa Specialty Hospital - Belmond. Colby holds an Iowa license to practice medicine and has, without facing any disciplinary action, since July of 1980.

Dennis Colby

Dennis Colby

In January of this year, Colby surrendered his license to practice medicine in Minnesota, after the state Board of Medical Practice received numerous complaints against him.

Among the complaints:

In October of 2017, Colby informed the board that he was under investigation by another state. That was in Wisconsin, and was for failing to keep up on his continuing education requirements. He retained his license, which is still valid.

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In December 2018, the board heard a complaint that Colby’s prescription practices of antibiotics and controlled substances “were dangerous.”

In January 2019, a complaint surfaced that alleged Colby violated federal transportation regulations as a certified medical examiner for 15 patients. He was evaluated for risk by his employer in 12 separate cases, according to board documents.

After Colby acknowledged to the board during a November 2019 meeting that there were areas of his work that needed improvement, he was given a skills evaluation, the results of which found knowledge, reasoning, judgment, documentation and communication deficits, according to board documents.

In its order the board indicates that Colby’s practices merited further disciplinary action, after which Colby agreed to surrender his Minnesota license in exchange for the board closing its investigation. Should he ever re-apply in Minnesota, the board reserves the right to re-open its investigation.

Iowa Specialty Hospital - Belmond general counsel Reagan Swisher said via email that Colby had undergone the credentialing process, including background check, license and exclusion information among other criteria, before he was hired.

Swisher also said he couldn’t address how common a practice it is to employ doctors who’ve surrendered their licenses in another state.

MercyOne North Iowa spokesperson Stephanie Duckert said it is extremely rare, but the decision to employ a doctor would be dependent on why the license was surrendered. Colby’s affiliation with MercyOne ended in 2011, she said via email.

“We use a nation-wide service, PreCheck, to perform background checks prior to appointing any credentialed physicians, providers or staff,” Duckert said. “We verify education, training, licensure, hospital affiliations, work history and obtain peer references.”

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