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Medical Board Allows Mississippi Doctor to Continue House Calls to the Poor

April 16, 2015

Jackson—After a meeting today with the Executive Director of the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure, Dr. Frazier Landrum, the 89-year old doctor and World War II and Korean War veteran who provides house calls and low-cost medical care to the poor, will continue to practice medicine.

Dr. Landrum is the only medical doctor in the small town of Edwards, Mississippi. Dr. Landrum says that he has seen first hand what happens to families in his community—the poorest in the state—when the bread-winner cannot go to work because he or she is sick: they risk homelessness and losing their jobs altogether. “If I don’t help these people, they won’t be able to get medical care at all, and they could lose their jobs or their home. I can’t let that happen,” says Dr. Landrum.

Dr. Landrum provides general medical care for free or at a very low cost to sick people who cannot otherwise afford it—sometimes traveling as far as 50 miles to see two or three patients a day. He sees patients in their homes, or even in a car, if they don’t have a home or a private place to meet.

Even though making house calls does not violate state law, several months ago, an investigator with the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure demanded that Dr. Landrum stop seeing patients and surrender his medical license. When he refused, the Board began an inquiry into Dr. Landrum’s practice.

Today’s meeting was the culmination of that inquiry; and it ended with a resolution that works for everyone: Dr. Landrum can continue his practice and the Board recommended he take a refresher course in medical record keeping—an issue that was raised in today’s meeting as a potential concern when making house calls.

“Everything went well with the Board today; and most important, Dr. Landrum will be able to go back to what’s important—helping patients,” said Christina Sandefur, an attorney with the Goldwater Institute, who was representing Dr. Landrum. “We are pleased that Dr. Landrum got a fair opportunity to talk with the Board about his practice and that the meeting was constructive and pleasant for everyone.”

Residents of Edwards are remodeling the town’s old Post Office at no cost to Dr. Landrum so he will have a formal office to store his records, hang his license, and potentially see patients who may be able to come into an office. A local contractor in Edwards, Carl Vriessen of Preferred Remodeling Services, and a local talk radio station, WYAB 103.9 FM, spearheaded the remodeling effort. Delta Technical College’s David Newell donated all the electrical work. This help, along with contributions from members of the community, made the new office possible. To finish the project, there is still a need for an air-conditioning unit. Anyone who would like to help Dr. Landrum’s office get completed can call Carl Vriessen at (601) 529-6912.

More than 80,000 patients, medical professionals, community members, and supporters from around the world have signed an online petition in support of Dr. Landrum.

The Goldwater Institute and local attorney Andy Taggert, a founding partner at Taggart, Rimes & Graham, worked together to represent Dr. Landrum to ensure that the Board of Medical Licensure’s investigation process was transparent and to give doctors like Dr. Landrum a full and fair opportunity to address the Board’s concerns.

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