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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Oregon Doctors Could Soon Lose Their Licenses for ‘Microaggressions’ Under Proposed Medical Board Rule

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Peter Hasson(Free Beacon)

“America is the land of opportunity.” “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” “America is a melting pot.” Those are examples of harmful “microaggressions,” according to Columbia professor Derald Wing Sue, lauded by Oregon’s state government as a “microaggressions expert.”

Now, under a soon-to-be-finalized ethics rule from the Oregon Medical Board, doctors who commit “microaggressions” risk losing their medical licenses.

Under Oregon law, doctors who fail to report “unprofessional conduct” from themselves or a colleague within 10 business days can face severe penalties, including loss of license. The state’s medical board is in the process of shoehorning “microaggressions”—innocently intentioned behaviors interpreted by women or minorities to be subliminal communications of bias—into its definition of “unprofessional conduct,” according to the proposed rule, which the board unveiled in April.

The rule, which has thus far flown under the media radar, expands that definition to include “discrimination through unfair treatment characterized by implicit and explicit bias, including microaggressions, or indirect or subtle behaviors that reflect negative attitudes or beliefs about a non-majority group.” Discrimination, the rule states, is defined as “differences in the quality of healthcare delivered that is not due to access-related factors or clinical needs, preferences, and appropriateness or intervention.”

The proposed crackdown on microaggressions, a concept that germinated at elite Ivy League universities and has since spread to the legal and medical fields, marks the latest example of medical institutions infusing left-wing cultural trends into their work.

At the University of California, Los Angeles medical school, for example, a mandatory “health equity” class taught future doctors that weight loss is a “hopeless endeavor” and featured a guest speaker who led students in chants of “Free, Free Palestine” and demanded they bow to “mama earth,” the Washington Free Beacon reported. UCLA launched a probe into the class in April.

For Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a former University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine associate dean who leads the anti-woke medical group Do No Harm, Oregon’s bid to make microaggressions a potential career-ending offense will have a chilling effect on doctors.

“Physicians need to be able to speak frankly and honestly with their patients,” said Goldfarb, the father of Free Beacon chairman Michael Goldfarb. “If they believe that they can be sanctioned because they deliver bad news or make a comment that the patient misinterprets, this will lead to a chilling effect on speech and ultimately lead to deterioration in the patient-physician relationship.”

Such a deterioration means “going down a path that will lead to even further declines in the quality of delivered health care,” Goldfarb added. “I cannot imagine that the physicians in Oregon will be able to tolerate such a ridiculous proposal.”

Oregon Medical Board policy analyst Elizabeth Ross said the board will consider permanently adopting the proposed microaggression rule during a July 11 meeting. The proposal says that rule “may favorably impact racial equity by making discrimination a ground for discipline for OMB licensees” and could prompt “additional board investigations” given the creation of a “new ground for ‘unprofessional conduct.'”

Still, Ross downplayed the rule’s potential effect, saying the board “does not expect this rule to change the way physicians, PAs, or acupuncturists practice because discrimination in the practice of medicine/acupuncture is already considered unethical and prohibited by federal laws and facility bylaws.”

“The board reviews complaints when they are received, and each complaint is reviewed for its unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis,” Ross told the Free Beacon. “If a complaint asserted microaggressions, the Board would review the evidence and facts gathered to determine whether the physician, PA, or acupuncturist was unprofessional in their practice of medicine/acupuncture.”

It’s unclear how exactly the board would define a microaggression or review a microaggression-related complaint—the proposed rule does not provide examples. Oregon’s government has, however, pointed to examples of microaggressions before.

In its 2021 “DEI Action Plan,” for example, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services said posing the question, “How did you get your job?” to a minority constitutes a “racial microaggression.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s “Social Equity Foundations” series, meanwhile, cites Sue, the Columbia professor, as a “well-known scholar on microaggressions” and a “microaggression effort.” The series adopts Sue’s three categories of microaggressions: “microassault,” “microinsult,” and “microinvalidation.” It also lists the statement, “Everyone can succeed if they just work hard enough!” as an example of a microaggression.

Sue’s book, Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation, is considered one of the definitive texts in microaggression scholarship. One microaggression example listed in the book is the statement, “There is only one race, the human race.”

The adoption of the Oregon Medical Board’s microaggression rule would fulfill a goal identified in the board’s own “DEI Action Plan.” That plan, released in 2023, calls to add “a new definition for unprofessional conduct that includes ‘discrimination in the practice of medicine/acupuncture.'” It goes on to list disciplinary statutes that deal with “grounds for suspending, revoking or refusing to grant license, registration, or certification.”

The Oregon statute under which microaggressions would now be penalized defines “unprofessional conduct” as things like “willful performance of any surgical or medical treatment which is contrary to acceptable medical standards” and “willful and repeated ordering or performance of unnecessary laboratory tests or radiologic studies.” Other examples of “unprofessional conduct” include possessing child pornography and masturbating in front of patients.

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