After Minnesota medical board acts, Iowa files charges against surgeon

The Iowa Board of Medicine is giving an emergency physician a second shot at complying with a 2019 order to have her professional competency evaluated. (Photo via Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners)

The Iowa Board of Medicine has filed a statement of charges against a Belmond surgeon accused in another state of dangerous prescribing practices.

The Iowa board has not publicly disclosed any patient-care allegations against Dr. Dennis E. Colby, a 66-year-old physician and surgeon who has practiced at the Belmond Medical Center. The board is alleging only that Colby has been disciplined by another state’s licensing board.

The Iowa board has not publicly identified the state where that action was taken, or the reasons for that disciplinary action. Details of Colby’s alleged conduct have only been given to Colby as part of a confidential “Statement of Matters Asserted.”

However, public records from the Minnesota Board Medical Practice indicate that upon Colby’s 2017 license renewal in that state, he notified the board there of an investigation being conducted by another state licensing board.

According to the Minnesota board, it received complaints in December 2018 that Colby’s prescribing practices related to antibiotics and controlled substances were dangerous.

In January 2019, the Minnesota board received a complaint that Colby “violated federal transportation regulations as a certified medical examiner for 15 patients.” The complaint also alleged Colby was evaluated for risk by his employer in 12 patient cases.

The Minnesota board investigated and now says that investigation revealed concerns with Colby’s patient care, documentation and prescribing.

In November 2019, after Colby allegedly admitted he needed to improve some areas of his practice, he underwent a clinical skills evaluation that revealed deficits in knowledge, reasoning, judgment, documentation and communication, the Minnesota board alleges.

In January, Colby agreed to voluntarily surrender his license to practice medicine and surgery in that state. Colby remains authorized to practice in Iowa.

Clark Kauffman
Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman 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.