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Irland v. Iowa Board of Medicine

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

MARK B. IRLAND, M.D., Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
IOWA BOARD OF MEDICINE, Defendant-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Arthur E. Gamble, Judge.

         Mark Irland, M.D., appeals from the dismissal of his petition for judicial review.

          David L. Brown and Tyler R. Smith of Hansen, McClintock & Riley, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Jordan G. Esbrook, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Heard by Vogel, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Danilson, S.J. [*]

          DANILSON, Senior Judge.

         Mark Irland, M.D., appeals from the dismissal of his petition for judicial review, contending the district court erred in concluding it was without authority to review the Confidential Letter of Warning issued to him by the Iowa Board of Medicine. Finding no error, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         Irland received a "Confidential Letter of Warning" from the Board indicating its "serious concerns" with respect to his treatment of a patient. After detailing its concerns regarding such treatment and noting the revocation of Irland's clinical privileges at a particular hospital, the Board's letter stated, in pertinent part:

The Board advises that you carefully review your treatment of [the patient] and take appropriate steps to avoid similar concerns in the future. The Board also advises that you submit a paper to the Board describing what you have learned from this matter. Please submit the paper to [the Board's legal director, at a specified address] within sixty (60) days . . . .
The Board also noted that you are not practicing medicine at this time. Therefore, the Board has chosen not to initiate further action in this matter at this time. However, the Board advises that you provide it written notice at least sixty (60) days prior to returning to the practice of medicine. If you choose to return to the practice of medicine, the Board will take appropriate action, including but not limited to, issuing an order requiring you to complete a comprehensive clinical competency evaluation, to ensure that you are able to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety. . . .
Pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 272C, this CONFIDENTIAL LETTER OF WARNING does not constitute a formal disciplinary action, nor is it a public record. It is a private communication between you and the Board . . .
This CONFIDENTIAL LETTER OF WARNING concludes the Board's investigation of this case. The Board reserves the right to review and reconsider this matter should it be deemed appropriate.

         Irland filed a petition for judicial review of the Board's letter of warning. The Board filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Iowa Code section 272C.3(1)(d) (2017), which provides: "Notwithstanding the provisions of [Iowa Code chapter] 17A, a determination by a licensing board . . . that an investigation should be closed without initiating a ...


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