A former Walla Walla surgeon charged with unprofessional conduct has been placed on a restricted license to practice medicine by Washington state health authorities, pending further disciplinary action.

Dr. Jason Dreyer practiced at Providence St. Mary Medical Center from August 2014 to January 2017. Authorization of investigation into that time period dates back at least to 2019, according to Department of Health records.

Dreyer’s treatment of seven patients, ranging in age from 34 to 66, during those years was considered in the action taken by the state’s Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in March 2021.

Officials alleged that the surgeon exaggerated what procedures were needed for multiple patients to justify extensive spine surgeries. In several cases, imaging showed those operations occurred without clear medical indications.

Medical records showed Dreyer overstated his treatments and inadequately charted his work, using a “cut and paste template language” in patients’ charts, according to DOH investigators. Multiple patients underwent unnecessary spine surgeries, sometimes multiple spinal surgeries, placing them at risk of harm, charging documents showed.

At that time, Dreyer was deemed a threat to public health and safety and restricted from practicing medicine pending more board review.

On April 2, Dreyer denied the allegations against him, and on April 16, health officials met to consider submitted evidence.

In their findings, board members said that based on the total evidence, they allege Dreyer’s conduct does continue to, “more likely than not,” pose an immediate threat to the public’s health and safety, that his surgeries were performed below the standard of medical care, without clear medical need and for financial gain.

The board again alleged Dreyer had shown a pattern of misrepresenting and overstating the need for surgery on patients.

To address those issues, officials have restricted Dreyer’s license to practice as an osteopathic physician and surgeon. He is prohibited from providing spine surgery unless each proposed case is vetted by two separate, board-certified neurosurgeons.

At least one of those providers must work elsewhere from where Dreyer practices and have no financial ties to that institution.

Dreyer continues to be listed as a provider at Rockwood MultiCare Neurosurgery and Spine in Spokane, located in the Deaconess Medical Office Building.

Approval for spine surgeries proposed by Dreyer have to include a review of patient records, including chart and imaging information, the Department of Health said in its findings.

Compliance with the order dated April 26 can be monitored via unannounced audits and visits.

Sheila Hagar can be reached at sheilahagar@wwub.com or 526-8322.

Sheila Hagar has written for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin since 1998. Sheila covers health, social services and city government in Milton-Freewater, Athena and Weston in the Walla Walla Valley.