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AAOS Now

Published 3/1/2007

Professional Compliance Report

In February 2007, the AAOS Board of Directors voted to take professional compliance actions against two fellows under the provisions of Paragraph 8.3.b of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Bylaws. This provision requires the AAOS to certify to the Board of Directors, if known, “the loss, restriction on or limitation of any right associated with the practice of medicine in any state or Canadian province of any Fellow or Member.”

The following is a summary of the reasons for these professional compliance actions:

Merrimon W. Baker, MD
Cleveland, Texas

On November 28, 2006, the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners (TSBME) temporarily suspended the medical license of Merrimon W. Baker, MD. The temporary suspension is indefinite and remains in effect until the TSBME takes further action. This action follows a four-year history of TSBME actions that includes an agreed order restricting Dr. Baker’s license due to prescribing non-therapeutic drugs to two patients and a separate agreed order restricting Dr. Baker from performing or being present at any spine surgery after the TSBME found his treatment of six patients to be below the standard of care. The AAOS Board of Directors voted to suspend Dr. Baker’s Fellowship for a period of time equivalent to the TSBME’s suspension of his medical license.

Robert D. Bernauer, MD
Lake Charles, La.

On May 15, 2006, the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) restricted the medical license of Robert D. Bernauer, MD, to a clinical (non-surgical) practice. In addition, Dr. Bernauer may not perform surgery except in the role of assistant surgeon. This action resulted from an LSBME investigation of Dr. Bernauer following notification of the settlement of several medical malpractice claims. During the LSBME investigation, Dr. Bernauer stated his intention to retire from surgical practice and to maintain only a clinical (non-surgical)practice of orthopaedics. The AAOS Board of Directors voted to expel Dr. Bernauer from the AAOS.

Fellows and members who learn of state licensure actions may forward the information to Pamela Winkler, manager of member services, AAOS, 6300 N. River Rd, Rosemont, IL 60018-4262 or winkler@aaos.org.