News Briefs

Missouri physician contests Iowa’s ‘moral character’ basis for license denial

By: - June 19, 2023 5:00 pm

A Missouri physician is taking the Iowa Board of Medicine to court over its refusal to give him a license due to his moral character. (Photo illustration via Canva; logo courtesy of the Iowa Board of Medicine)

A Missouri physician is taking the Iowa Board of Medicine to court over its alleged decision to refuse him a license to practice in Iowa due to his moral character.

The lawsuit seeks judicial review of a June 8 decision by the board to deny Dr. Brett Snodgrass of Hazelwood a permanent medical license in Iowa. Snodgrass alleges the decision, which has yet to be made public by the board, includes “multiple factual inaccuracies.”

According to Snodgrass’ petition, filed last week in Polk County District Court, the dispute over his licensure involves questions pertaining to his moral character, which he argues have caused him to undergo “costly psychological testing” to address the board’s concerns.

The petition claims that in March 2022 Snodgrass informed the board that his moral character was above the median for all physicians “despite his humble belief that only God is truly good.” In his petition, Snodgrass argues that his certification in Iowa as a nurse aide “attests to the trust given to him” by the state to care for patients.

Snodgrass is not listed among physicians licensed to practice in Missouri, according to data available from the Division of Professional Registration.

The petition indicates Snodgrass was asked by the board to submit to two evaluations – an Acumen Assessment that would measure his suitability for licensure, and a clinical competency test. The Acumen Assessment, Snodgrass claims, drew unspecified conclusions based on “conflicting statements” and “quasi-scientific methods,” and the board’s order for such an assessment provided the clinical competency testers with “prejudicial information” that has made a clinical competency test impossible.

Court records indicate that in July 2018, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation denied Snodgrass a medical license, arguing that he lacked the moral character to work as a physician and surgeon in that state. Snodgrass then sued the department, challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ “good moral character” requirement. The lawsuit was dismissed by an order of the court, and the dismissal was later upheld on appeal.

The issues that gave rise to concerns about Snodgrass’ moral character appear to be detailed in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri licensing records that date back to 2013, but none of those documents were publicly accessible on Monday.

The Iowa Board of Medicine has yet to respond to Snodgrass’ petition for judicial review. Snodgrass declined to comment on the matter, telling the Iowa Capital Dispatch, “It’s nothing newsworthy.”

This article was initially published by the Iowa Capital Dispatch. Rudi Keller of the Missouri Independent contributed to this report.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Clark Kauffman is deputy editor of the Iowa Capital Dispatch. He has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.