BOULDER, Colo. - A Boulder clinic has people with no Colorado medical license perform minor surgery and prescribe medications, a CALL7 hidden-camera investigation found.
NatureMed Clinic is owned by Stephen and Kelly Parcell, but they are naturopathic practitioners and not licensed in Colorado as medical doctors. State law allows a licensed doctor to delegate some of their practice to unlicensed people, but the unlicensed practitioners must perform the procedures under the doctor’s supervision.
Dr. Fran Mason is a state licensed physician and is listed as a doctor on NatureMed’s website. Former employees say Mason delegates the medical services to the Parcells but was rarely at the clinic.
“She came back and forth once in a while, but mostly she was staying in Idaho then,” said Jessica, a former employee who asked her last name not be used. “They did everything unsupervised -- run IVs, preformed minor surgeries and prescribed any prescription, even controlled substances like, Vicodin, testosterone. Whatever they thought the patients needed.”
State law doesn’t specify how close the supervision must be and our undercover cameras show Kelly Parcell telling a producer that she regularly does a procedure to put hormones pellets in the skin through an incision.
“I’ve placed pellets 50 times,” she said.
Marschall S. Smith, program director of the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, said the state law is not clear on exactly what counts as supervision.
“That’s not yet been defined in rule and statue,” Smith said.
But Smith said what is clear in the rules is that non-licensed individuals cannot prescribe drugs. CALL7 Investigators found Stephen Parcell prescribing a regulated drug to a 7News producer.
The prescription for the hormone, Progesterone, shows Parcell’s name, but according to the pharmacist, had Mason’s Drug Enforcement Administration prescribing number.
“Progesterone is a treatment for migraines so we might want to start with that,” Stephen Parcell says on our hidden camera.
Video obtained by CALL7 Investigators also showed dozens of prescriptions pads presigned by Dr. Mason. Smith said that is against state law.
“They can't delegate it to someone else to take a presigned script pad, write out scripts for me. That's a violation of the Colorado medical practice,” he said.
“If your name’s on it, wouldn’t that prove you are practicing unlicensed?” Ferrugia asked.
“It would be very strong proof that you are holding yourself out and trying to practice medicine without a license and that is not permitted in Colorado,” Smith said.
Mason originally scheduled an interview but then canceled. Ferrugia caught up with her outside the clinic. She said she knew nothing about the prescribing or the pads.
“Do you allow the Parcells to write prescriptions under your name?” Ferrugia asked.
“No sir,” Mason said.
“Do you see this?” Ferrugia asked. “It says Dr. Stephen Parcell and that's under your D.E.A. number.”
“I am not responsible for (that),” she said.
“In the state of Colorado, you cannot delegate prescription drug authority,” Ferrugia said.
“I never delegate prescription drug authority,” Mason said. “I am the only doctor who can prescribe prescription drugs in my practice.”
“Then why is Stephen Parcell's name on this under your (number)?” Ferrugia asked.
“I have no knowledge of that,” she said. “I have absolutely no knowledge of that. I honestly don't."
Smith said the state will investigate what CALL7 Investigators found.
“These issues and concerns you are raising are things the board would be interested in looking at,” he said.
The Parcells declined comment.