Minnesota Board of Medical Practice Investigating Republican Senator for Speaking Out on COVID-19

Republican State Senator Scott Jensen is under investigation for his commentary on the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a practicing physician, revealed Sunday that anonymous complaints were filed against him with the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for his public comments on the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the most important videos I’ve made and one of the hardest,” Jensen said in a video posted to Facebook. “Less than a week ago, I was notified by the Board of Medical Practice in Minnesota that I was being investigated because of public statements I had made.”

Jensen said the Board of Medical Practice is investigating two allegations against him, including the spread of misinformation and providing Minnesotans with reckless advice by comparing COVID-19 to the flu.

The Republican senator faced backlash in April when he said that a CDC guidance granted doctors the authority to include “suspected or likely” cases of COVID-19 on death certificates.

Jensen said the document, which was sent to him by the Minnesota Department of Health, indicated that he could include a diagnosis of COVID-19 on death certificates even if there were no official lab results confirming the diagnosis.

“When I got this letter I was ticked. Quite frankly, I leaned into the comfort and wisdom of my family to let them talk me off the cliff. But doggone it, if this can happen to me, my view is it could happen to everybody,” Jensen said in the video.

Jensen has been a family doctor for almost 40 years and was named the Minnesota Family Physician of the Year in 2016. The complaints filed against him were made anonymously.

“A couple people complained and I don’t get to know who those people are. I don’t know if they’re routinely in a political camp, if they’re activists,” he said. “I don’t get to know anything. I checked.”

Jensen was “stunned” when he was first notified of the complaints about a week ago, but said he “should’ve seen it coming.”

“I saw the threats on social media. I’ve seen them for the last two or three months,” he said. “They didn’t agree with me, they didn’t like it that I was trying to provide some context for the flu, for COVID-19.”

Jensen said he “could be disciplined” by the Board of Medical Practice, but didn’t elaborate on what that might look like.

“I don’t know what to tell you. I just know this is wrong. We’re in a bad place,” he continued.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-East Gull Lake) said he supports Jensen and “his medical expertise on COVID because he has proven to be right.”

USA Today fact-checked and verified Sen. Jensen’s claim that federal payments were greater if patients were confirmed to have COVID,” Gazelka said in a press release. “We are looking into whether or not the board is compelled to investigate every complaint or if they are choosing to investigate Dr. Jensen. It’s also concerning there are two separate complaints, raising questions about coordination. Legislators should not have to fear regulators based on their speech. If the bureaucratic state can silence speech through investigations, we have very dark times ahead for our democracy.”

– – –

Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.
Photo “Scott Jensen” by Scott Jensen.