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Heckuva job? Bush Administration vaunted bogus credentials for birth control czar, records show

By Lindsay Beyerstein and Larisa Alexandrovna  Posted by Diane Sweet (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 3 pages)   1 comment
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Medical Directorship was part time or volunteer post, group says

The former head of the federal agency overseeing family planning programs misled the public about his qualifications and background, a RAW STORY investigation has found.

Appointed by President George W. Bush in late 2006 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Eric J. Keroack resigned unexpectedly in March of this year after Massachusetts officials launched a formal investigation into allegations of Medicaid fraud during his tenure in private practice.

Medicaid is a state-federal health program for the poor.

Although as an appointee he quickly became mired in controversy over his opposition to birth control, abortion and comprehensive sex education, newly obtained documents show that from the start Dr. Keroack was far from qualified to head the federal women's health program.

As Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs, Dr. Keroack was responsible for a $283 million budget and charged with running a federal agency overseeing women's health issues such as screening for cervical and breast cancer, contraception planning, pregnancy counseling and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. However, a RAW STORY investigation has found that Keroack either misled the Bush administration about his background or was appointed regardless of his record and with little vetting.

HHS officials repeatedly cited Keroack's long tenure in private practice as one of his key qualifications, along with his highly publicized role as medical director for a chain of Christian pregnancy centers.

According to the Washington Post, "Eric Keroack, a nationally known advocate of abstinence until marriage, served for more than a decade as medical director for A Woman's Concern, a Massachusetts nonprofit group that discourages abortion and does not distribute information promoting birth control. But HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson said yesterday that most of Keroack's professional time had been devoted to his private practice of 20 years, not the group."

Documents and interviews with Keroack's associates, however, show that the post of medical director was merely a part-time or volunteer job. Keroack's claims of an extensive private practice also appear dubious.

Administration vaunted bogus credentials

Records from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine show that Dr. Keroack did not finish his residency in obstetrics and gynecology until 1993. This means he could not possibly have practiced obstetrics for 20 years.

In addition, according to the Post, Dr. Keroack's board certification as an OBGYN, which would have been good for ten years, had lapsed in 2005, a full year before his appointment. As a result, Keroack's tenure in private practice as a board-certified OB-GYN at the time of his appointment could have been no more than 10 years.

Documents obtained by RAW STORY suggest that Keroack may have been in practice even less time.

When Dr. Keroack took stewardship of Population Affairs in 2006, Massachusetts' medical licensing board had already spent roughly a year reviewing a complaint that he had violated ethical norms by prescribing medications for people who weren't his patients, had practiced outside of his area of specialty and had attempted to defraud the insurance system.

Massachusetts medical board spokesman Randal Aims said late last week that when a complaint is filed against a physician, the doctor is allowed to respond in writing. In Keroack's Sept. 18, 2005 response, in which he defended himself against the allegation that he was not qualified to provide counseling, he indicated that he had not been in practice for "over 5-years."

"As you might expect, the fact that it has been over 5-years [sic] since I took a leave from my direct practice of clinical medicine in the North Shore area has made the location of some of the individual single session C.M.E. lectures quite difficult," he wrote. "I confess to being less than perfect when it comes to long-term personal record keeping."

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