Jo Ann Whitaker, M.D., Surrenders
Florida Medical License

Stephen Barrett, M.D.


In 2006, the Florida Department of Health charged Jo Ann Whitaker, M.D. with practicing improperly by advertising for and operating an unlicensed laboratory that was testing people for Lyme disease. Her facility, called the Bowen Research & Training Institute, obtained a license to do blood testing in 2001 but relinquished it in 2002. The administrative complaint (shown below) charged that she had continued to offer testing. In 2007, Whitaker settled the charges by permanently relinquishing her Florida medical license.


STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH,

PETITIONER,

v.

JO ANN WHITAKER M.D.

RESPONDENT.


 

 

CASE NO. 2003-26295

ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT

COMES NOW, Petitioner, Department of Health, by and through its undersigned counsel, and files this Administrative Complaint before the · Board of Medicine against the Respondent, Jo Ann Whitaker, M.D., and in support thereof alleges:

1. Petitioner is the state department charged with regulating the practice of medicine pursuant to Section 20.43, Florida Statutes; Chapter 456, Florida Statutes; and Chapter 458, Florida Statutes.

2. At all times material to this Complaint Respondent was a licensed physician within the State of Florida, having been issued license number ME 5174.

3. Respondent's last known address is 1200 South Pinellas Avenue, Units 11 and 12, Tarpon Springs, Florida 34689.

4. At all times relevant to this· complaint, Respondent was President and Director of Research for Bowen Testing & Training Institute, Inc. (''Bowen'') in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

5. At all times relevant to this complaint, Respondent, in her role as President and Director of Research for Bowen, either performed or supervised the performance by others of laboratory testing intended to determine the presence of Lyme disease in blood samples.

6. On or about April 17, 2001, Bowen was licensed by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration[ [AHCA] to operate a clinical laboratory specializing in Hematology.

7. Under Section 483.091, Florida Statutes (2002), "A person may not conduct, maintain, or operate a clinical laboratory in this state, except a laboratory that is exempt under s. 483.031, unless the clinical laboratory has obtained a license from [AHCA]."

8. Section 483.031, Florida Statutes (2002), provides an exception to the licensure requirement described in paragraph seven (7) above, only if a clinical laboratory is "operated and maintained exclusively for research and teaching purposes that do not involve patient or public health service."

9. On or about March 19, 2002, Respondent, in her role as Bowen's President and Director of Research, voluntarily relinquished Bowen's license to operate as a clinical laboratory.

10. On or about June 24, 2003, Respondent, in her role as President and Director of Research for Bowen, either conducted or supervised others conducting diagnostic clinical laboratory testing for Patient B.T. or his physician, David Perlmutter, M.D., which was not done exclusively for research and teaching purposes and which involved patient health service, in violation of Section 483.091, Florida Statutes (2002).

11. On or about February 4, 2004, Respondent, in her role as President and Director of Research for Bowen, either conducted or supervised others conducting diagnostic clinical laboratory testing for Patient W.S. or her physician, a Dr. Weiss, which was not done exclusively for research and teaching purposes and which involved patient health service, in violation of Section 483.091, Florida Statutes (2003).

12. Bowen maintains an internet website that can be accessed by the public without restriction, located on or about June 14, 2006 at http://www.bowen.org. On or about June 14, 2006, the message posted at this URL read as follows:

The second project that we do at our facility is a test (Q-RiBb - (Quantitative Rapid Identification of Borrelia Burgdorferi) for Lyme disease. This test is used by the physician/practitioner along with the clinical symptoms to determine if the patient truly has Lyme disease. . . . Patients pro-actively seeking an answer to their continued symptoms and suffering eventually learn about the Bowen Q-RiBb test. A positive result with the Bowen test helps these people finally get a proper diagnosis and get properly treated for Lyme disease and co-infections.

13. On or about June 14, 2006, Respondent identified herself on Bowen's website as its President and Director of Research, at URL http://www.bowen.org/site/whitaker.html.

14. Section 458.331(1)(v), Florida Statutes, provides that practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities the licensee knows, or has reason to know, the licensee is not competent to perform is grounds for discipline by the Board of Medicine.

15. Respondent, in her role as President and Director of Research at Bowen, practiced or offered to practice beyond the scope permitted by law in one or more of the following ways:

a). On or about June 24, 2003 by either conducting or supervising others conducting diagnostic clinical laboratory testing for Patient B.T. or his physician, David Perlmutter, M.D., which was not done exclusively for research and teaching purposes and which involved patient health service, in violation of Section 483.091, Florida Statutes (2002)

b). On or about February 4, 2004, by either conducting or supervising others conducting diagnostic clinical laboratory testing for Patient W.S. or her physician, a Dr. Weiss, which was not done exclusively for research and teaching purposes and which involved patient health service, in violation of Section 483.091, Florida Statutes (2003)

c). On or about June 14, 2006, by advertising and/or offering to perform diagnostic clinical laboratory testing services to patients and/or doctors which are not exclusively for research and teaching purposes and which involve patient health service, beyond the scope permitted under Section 483.091, Florida Statutes (2006).

17. Based on the foregoing, Respondent has violated Section 458.331(l)(v), Florida Statutes. WHEREFORE, the Petitioner respectfully requests that the Board of Medicine enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties: permanent revocation or suspension of Respondent's license, restriction of practice, imposition of an administrative fine, issuance of a reprimand, placement of the Respondent on probation, corrective action, refund of fees billed or collected, remedial education and/or any other relief that the Board deems appropriate.

SIGNED this 22nd day of September 2006.
Rony Francois, M.D., M.S.P.H, Ph.D.
Secretary, Department of Health ·

_______________________
Don Freeman
Assistant General Counsel
DOH-Prosecution Services Unit
4052 Bald Cypress Way-Bin C65
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3265
Florida Bar # 736171
(850) 414-8126
(850) 414-1989 fax PCP:

September 22, 2006
PCP Members: Ashkar, Bearison, and Beebe

Filed 9-25-06

This page was posted on May 26, 2016.

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