CAVE SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A doctor’s license was suspended after accusations he conducted inappropriate medical exams on patients and is back to practicing at his Northwest Arkansas clinic.
As described by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE), “an endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of hormone-related diseases and conditions.”
The first complaint filed against Maass was back in 2007. The patient said she was seen by the doctor in August of that year when he worked at Lowell Medical Center. She wrote that Maass examined and humiliated her as he grabbed her breasts. She also made note that her breast exam was never documented.
Days later she filed a police report with the Lowell Police Department, but her claims were considered to be ‘unfounded’ by the department. After the medical board reviewed her complaint, it was determined it did not rise to the level of “gross negligence or ignorant malpractice” which is required for disciplinary action to be taken under the Arkansas medical practices act.
“This should have stopped 15 years ago,” said the woman who most recently came forward with complaints against Dr. Maass.
She saw him for thyroid issues at his practice in Cave Springs in March 2021 and felt that the exam he conducted on her was very inappropriate.
“The way I was treated and given an exam, the way in which it was done should have never happened.” She continued, “it was gut-wrenching, disgusting.”
Because this was the first time she was seen by an endocrinologist, she took her concerns about what happened during her exam to a Northwest Arkansas Facebook group. To her surprise, many other women said they’d experienced the same thing at the hands of the same doctor.
“There were quite a few women that messaged me stating that this also happened to them and they would mention the endocrinologist’s name and they would tell me you don’t even have to tell me his name. I already know who it is,” she said.
Through that Facebook group, the woman connected with at least two other women who claimed to be Maass’ victims. The three women decided to take their complaints to the state medical board.
One woman wrote that she had seen Dr. Maass in March 2011, when he worked in the endocrinology department at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. She had recently suffered a miscarriage and needed to check on her thyroid levels. She said he, “fondled my breast, took my nipple and ran it through his fingers, and then did a slight twist of my nipple.”
Another described her August 2010 appointment experience with Maass in her complaint. She wrote that he flipped down her tube top sundress, along with her strapless bra, and squeezed both her breasts.
With three new complaints in front of medical board members in August 2021, Dr. Maass’ medical license was suspended. The board found “the acts of Adam James Maass… exhibits an ongoing danger to the public in his continued practice of medicine.”
Not long after he was suspended, another three women came forward with complaints against Maass. These new complaints were reminiscent of the first four already formally filed.
At the time, Dr. Maass was in a six-week treatment program at a Professional Renewal Center. The center is, “dedicated to the assessment, treatment, education, rehabilitation, and research of high accountability professionals.”
He appeared before the medical board in December 2021.
“There’s a lot of noise about this around Northwest Arkansas,” said board member Dr. Bryan Hyatt, a Northwest Arkansas-based psychiatrist.
Dr. Maass explained to board members why the exams he conducted may have been misinterpreted as inappropriate by patients. “I think there’s a degree with which no matter what I would’ve explained to them, it was outside of what their expectations were.”
Board members pushed back at Maass. Dr. Sylvia Simon, the board’s chair, questioned whether the exams in question were even medically necessary.
“In most cases, when we reviewed these charts [there’s] no documentation that those exams occurred either and if they were medically appropriate exams and then you do not include the results of that exam then to us as peers reviewing that, it makes us wonder why you did an exam that you didn’t think you needed to document results of,” Dr. Simon said.
Dr. Simon went on to say another concern for her was the fact that there was no witness for the exams Maass conducted. “I can’t imagine being reported to the police for a potential assault and then getting in trouble again later for the same issue with no chaperone. “
In response, Dr. Maass said, “all the patients that I would see were offered chaperones for exams.” He continued, “my medical assistants over the last 12 years have been males and so in that space, there were definitely times with which I was rushing and getting through the cases and explaining the situation as far as the need for the exam and the patients felt comfortable with me doing the exam.”
“The important issue here really was that though his contact with female patients may have been inappropriate, it was not for sexual gratification. It was a result of a lack of boundaries and inexperience and lack of sensitivity some sort of naïve personality characteristics,” said Dr. Bradley Diner, medical director for the Arkansas Medical Foundation.
Dr. Maass entered into a 5-year monitoring contract with the medical foundation that said he must provide a physical examination consent form to be signed by all new and existing patients, meet with a mentor who provides monthly reports to the medical board, take part in continued education, submit to quarterly polygraphs, among other requirements.
Despite two board members voting against, Maass’ medical license was reinstated and he was allowed to once again practice. As part of his consent agreement with the medical board, Maass must follow the monitoring contract, and continue his rehabilitation through PRC.
“We felt we were done wrong in the way his license was given back,” an accuser said.
In addition to filing complaints with the medical board, several of the women who claim they were victimized by Maass have also taken their complaints to local police. Three of the seven are still within the statute of limitations.
Both the Johnson and Cave Springs Police Departments confirmed they have active investigations into Dr. Maass that have been turned over to Washington and Benton County prosecutors for further review.