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Chiropractor sues state to clear her name

A Happy Valley chiropractor sued the state last week to have professional misconduct allegations against her removed from a state agency website.

by: EMPOWERED HEALTH - Kim JamesonDr. Kim Jameson, who operates the EmPOWERed Health chiropractic clinic in Clackamas, fought back against what she calls an unjust action by the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

Since early last year, the board has posted on its website a list of professional misconduct charges against the Happy Valley chiropractor. However, Jameson says the board has deemed “confidential” — and not for public viewing — a judge’s decision that exonerated Jameson of those charges.

State Board Executive Director Dave McTeague said the agency voted unanimously on Thursday to make that judgment public this week.

On July 17, Jameson, with her attorney, Conrad E. Yunker, filed a claim in Marion County Circuit Court to have the proposed order by a state administrative law judge unsealed and made public. The judge, who is not named in the lawsuit, allegedly issued his findings in April following a 12-day state hearing that occurred from Oct. 23 to Nov. 16, 2012.

Court papers filed aim to make it clear the judge found the charges against Jameson were not proved and were based on the testimony of an unreliable witness, a disgruntled former employee whom Jameson fired in August 2011. According to Yunker, the judge used the word “perjury” to describe the witness’ statements under oath.

In a portion of the sealed written judgment revealed by Yunker in the lawsuit, the case began as a single call to the board by a person misled by a dishonest employee of Appellant Jameson.

“Unfortunately for appellant, that complaint began an investigation that coalesced into a perfect storm of misinformation, misunderstanding, overreaching, and outright perjury all aimed at convincing the Board that Appellant was guilty of serious professional and ethical violations,” the unnamed judge is quoted as having written.

“The judge’s decision clears my name,” Jameson said. “How can it be OK to have the charges against me publicized but not the finding that the charges are untrue? All I want is to get this behind me so I can concentrate on treating my patients.”

Yunker said the 12-day hearing was painful for his client and expensive for her and taxpayers.

“But now that the outcome benefits my client, it’s not right for the state to keep it a secret,” he said. “Dr. Jameson deserves to have the truth come out.”

Yunker, a Salem lawyer, estimates the extended hearing cost the state $75,000. He said a simple, preliminary investigation could have yielded the same finding — that the state’s chief witness was making things up.

Jameson was notified by the board on March 30, 2011, of accusations against her, ranging from fraud to unprofessional touching. Jameson readily acknowledged a minor record-keeping discrepancy as the only substantive claim. Citing a misunderstanding based on her previous practice in California, she claimed she has changed her record-keeping practices to follow Oregon requirements. McTeague noted that the chiropractic board will require Jameson to take continuing-education courses as part of a reprimand for the error.

Jameson argued that dealing with the stressful ordeal of false charges has cost her personally and professionally. She says she’s lost income since the charges were made public. At least two insurance companies have used the board’s publicly posted charges as an excuse for dropping coverage for clients who seek reimbursement for Jameson’s chiropractic services.

Jameson earned her doctorate degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic-West in San Jose, Calif., in March 1995. She practiced 14 years in California before moving to Oregon in 2009.

Jameson acknowledged the difficulty of removing charges, comparing the damage already done to a bell.

“I can’t unring this bell, but let’s ring a new bell that says all is clear,” she said.