The board's Kimberley Kirchmeyer says the abolishment of the program may work in patients' favor, since physicians will now be promptly and temporarily pulled from practice, she says, while the board reviews incidents if they test positive for drug use or if they are caught violating the law where it affects their work.
A hearing date has been set for April for the accusation against West; Minasian hopes that by encouraging patients to go public with their complaints and to pressure the board to post as much information about doctors as possible, patients will be safer in the long run. "When you file a complaint, your hope is that [the doctor] will be disciplined," says Minasian. "And all disciplines are public record."
Dr. West performed Tina Minasian's surgery while he was enrolled in the state medical board's secretive program for doctors with substance-abuse problems.