Four California doctors under investigation for issuing bogus vaccine exemptions to kids for ‘food allergies and mental health issues’
- Two Sacramento doctors have been sued for exempting children for food allergies and mental health issues
- Two Santa Rosa doctors are also under investigation for dubious exemptions
- The investigations come as California attempts to tighten its vaccine rules
Four California doctors are being investigated for issuing bogus vaccine exemptions.
It comes amid the biggest national outbreak of measles since 1992, prompting states – including California – to start tightening their rules on who can skip shots.
Two Sacramento doctors have been sued and two Santa Rosa doctors are under investigation for exempting children on dubious grounds, California Healthline reports.
Many of them charge patients around $100 each for the signed letter that declares their child does not need the disease-preventing shots recommended by health officials to prevent childhood deaths and to protect people with compromised immune systems who could die from mild infections.
One of the doctors under investigation is Dr Kelly Sutton, who offers a $97 program (pictured) for parents as a guide to get medical vaccine exemptions
California has some of the strictest rules on vaccines in the country, brought in after a 2014 measles scare.
Whereas some states allow religious or philosophical exemptions, Californians are only allowed to skip shots if they have a medical condition that would mean vaccines could harm their health.
But, curiously, vaccine exemptions have slowly crept up in recent years.
Last month, health officials tabled a motion for even tighter rules: any doctors who issue more than five exemptions need to put their verdicts past a state health official first.
As that bill makes its way through the chambers, officials are zeroing in on doctors accused of trying to play the system.
One pediatrician, Dr Robert Sears in Southern California, has been reprimanded for issuing bogus exemptions, then being caught issuing more even while on probation.
Now, California Healthline has reported four more doctors under investigation.
One of the doctors sued by the state is Dr Kelly Sutton in Sacramento, who offers a $97 ‘program‘ to parents who want exemptions for their child(ren), training them how to dodge the rules.
In one case described by California Healthline, Dr Sutton issued a child a ‘lifelong medical exemption from all vaccines,’ for reasons that the family’s other doctor, Dr Wendy Cerny at Kaiser Permanente, couldn’t understand.
That same child’s family demanded the same exemptions for their other two children from Dr Cerny, who refused, at which point the family returned to Dr Sutton.
Dr Cerny issued a complaint to the state health department, raising concerns that Dr Sutton ‘and perhaps her colleague’ were ‘making easy money on these exemptions that are not based on true medical need.’
They said they felt Dr Sutton’s actions put others ‘at risk for contracting and spreading serious infectious diseases.’
Another doctor, Dr Michael Allen, a holistic physician in Golden River, issued exemptions for kids on the grounds of food allergies and a family history of mental health issues, according to the complaint.
Meanwhile, Dr Ron Kennedy, who runs an anti-aging clinic, has been ordered to explain numerous exemptions he’s written for children, as has Dr Kenneth Stoller, another physician in Santa Rosa.