Scott Jensen, M.D., is a family physician who has practiced medicine for nearly 40 years and served as a Minnesota State Senator from 2017 to 2021. Jensen ran unsuccessfully against Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) in 2022. In the last three years, Jensen has had to defend his medical license five times before the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice against complaints that were eventually rejected, most recently on January 30. Jensen was a vocal critic of COVID-19 death reporting guidelines, financial incentives to hospitals for diagnosing COVID-19, and putting patients on ventilators.
Health Care News: Can you give us some background on your medical career and how did you end up getting into politics?
Jensen: I grew up in a small town in southern Minnesota, was valedictorian, went to the University of Minnesota, and took a roundabout way to become a physician. I first went to dental school, then the seminary, then medicine. My wife is a veterinarian, I’m a family doc. Our two daughters are physicians, and my son is a lawyer. Twenty years ago, I opened my own clinic and now we have two, (with) seven providers, and one of my daughters practices with me.
In 2015, someone asked me if I wanted to run for state senate. I was flattered and said, “no thank you.” But we talked to more folks, thought more about it, and decided to make a run for it. I ended up getting more votes than any other Republican senator in the state of Minnesota in the 2016 election and I served for four years.
Health Care News: What had been your experience in the legislature, which coincided with the start of the pandemic in 2020?
Jensen: I had no idea that I’d be playing a role as a whistleblower. I was alerted to the death certificates because I got a notification, as a doctor, telling me if I thought COVID was a contributing cause of death, to use it as the cause of death. I thought this was wrong because it may not be the precipitating event to someone’s demise. We had never done this before.
It would also corrupt the data because it creates the impression, for example, that heart disease was dropping because now a large percentage of the deaths were being attributed to COVID.
I made a comment about the death reporting on a news program and then it got picked up nationally. I also started looking into the CARES Act, and did some checking, started calling hospitals and asking what they were getting for various diagnoses—standard pneumonia, pneumonia with COVID, and COVID pneumonia on a ventilator—and reported the numbers, $5,000, $13,500, $39,000. I never felt like I was doing anything renegade, but the information just kept getting picked up.
Health Care News: This seems to coincide with the attacks on your medical license.
Jensen: Two months after speaking publicly about the COVID reporting policies, I was informed my medical license was being investigated, for the first time in my career.
They told me two allegations were submitted alleging I was promoting conspiracy theories and providing reckless medical advice. Apparently, I compared influenza to COVID, which even Fauci was doing. I responded, and a month later I was told the allegations had been dismissed.
A month later, I was informed of another investigation. Same thing. There was a third investigation, and this time, they didn’t even bother contacting me. I just got a letter informing me the Board dismissed the allegations. There was a fourth investigation and a fifth one. By this time, I made the decision to run for governor because I was so frustrated with what the country was doing and Minnesota with the lockdowns.
The fifth time, my response wasn’t good enough and they asked for patient charts. I got the charts, redacted them, and sent them in. I got a letter in January 2022 saying they received the data and then that was it. For the next 12 months, there was no communication.
Normally they would take care of this in a few months. I emailed them and said I hadn’t heard anything and wondered if I was going to get myself in more hot water if I treat with ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine or recommended Vitamin D, quercetin, anything. The Board said it had no standard of care but if there was another complaint, they’d investigate.
We finished up the campaign for governor and lost in November, but two months passed and low and behold, the fifth complaint was resurrected. The board told me there were more allegations. So now, I’m facing the sixth investigation. This time they wanted a face-to-face conference. I realized I needed a lawyer. We had a hearing for 90 minutes. The board dismissed all the allegations, and I was gratified.
Health Care News: How did this weigh on you professionally and financially, and do you think this will be the last of it?
Jensen: It’s been a tremendous amount of time. I tabulated it and it is probably 2,000 over the last three years. It cost me time away from patients, and now I have legal fees.
I think they’ll come back. I will probably now have to have a lawyer working with me on a regular basis. … Activists are weaponizing regulatory agencies to control the narrative. If this could happen to me, it could happen to anyone with a license. I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had a Marcus Welby kind of career and for me to be investigated six times simply because I questioned public policies that didn’t work, is astounding.