A former physician who married his 15-year-old stepdaughter and had his medical license suspended multiple times is now going to be part of a rural health task force in Texas.
Rick Ray Redalen has had his medical license revoked or suspended in three states, but he’s still found his way into healthcare leadership thanks to Texas Republicans, specifically Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller.
It turns out Redalen isn’t just a disgraced doctor who married his underage stepdaughter; he’s also a Miller campaign donor.
In Iowa, Rick Ray Redalen’s medical license was first suspended when he was convicted of perjury in a case involving his marriage to his 15-year-old former stepdaughter. The license was later revoked for good for failure to report a malpractice suit, medical board records show.
Redalen, who calls himself “the Maverick Doctor,” said he was introduced to Miller several years ago by Todd M. Smith, a lobbyist who has reported making hundreds of thousands of dollars from Redalen’s company and is Miller’s longtime political strategist.
Redalen, who donated heavily to Miller’s campaign months before his appointment, said he has used the unpaid task force position to advocate for expanded access to telemedicine — a service offered by one of his companies. Redalen said he never expected any favors in exchange for his contributions to Miller.
That’s a whole bunch of conflicts of interest all in one. Redalen, however, dismissed those claims, saying most people “aren’t interested in that.” He and Miller are just focused on improving “health care in rural Texas and among rural Texans.”
Improving health care typically doesn’t mean less access to an in-person doctor. And there’s plenty of reason to believe his motives are based on self-promotion and profit, considering one of his companies promotes telemedicine.
Redalen said his No. 1 priority on the task force is “making telemedicine easier.” Through telemedicine, patients can consult with and get diagnosed by doctors or nurses through video on their phones or computers.
Although the Legislature last year passed a law expanding access to those services, Redalen said it came with so many restrictions that it won’t change the industry in a significant way.
Redalen said the changes he wants to make in Texas “probably wouldn’t help” his business, but an ethics watchdog disagrees. Craig McDonald, direct of Texans for Public Justice, believes this looks “like a pay-to-play situation.”
“The good doctor — through Todd Smith, a lobbyist and a Sid Miller confidant — has given a lot of money to get a position on this advisory board to promote his own private company’s agenda,” McDonald said. “The whole tele-doc industry is mostly for-profit, and it has an economic piece in changing the policy on the extent to which we allow telemedicine to come into Texas.”
Only time will tell if Redalen and/or Miller are conflicted here, but the situation doesn’t look good. And regardless of the potential issues regarding business profits, Redalen was a bad choice given his reputation and past felony crimes.
(Screenshot via YouTube)