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Derges asks Republican colleagues to help her bills

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Although she has been removed from the House Republican Caucus, Rep. Tricia Derges implored her fellow GOP members to shepherd her bills through the legislature. 

Derges has been stripped of her committee assignments, removed from the House Republican Caucus, and asked to resign by the speaker after she was federally indicted earlier this month for an alleged stem cell treatment scheme. Derges has nine bills that have all been second read but not referred to a committee. 

“I would love to see these bills sent to committees and presented. I believe they are very important and worthwhile bills,” Derges said in an email to House Republicans this week and shared with The Missouri Times. “If you would like to co-sponsor any of them, are able to encourage them to go to committee or if you would be interested in carrying any of these bills, please let me know.” 

“I think you will find that the majority of my bills focus on the underserved and for ways to provide ongoing healthcare to our underserved areas,” she continued, noting she believes the legislation to be bipartisan. 

As of Thursday morning, Al Watkins, the attorney who represents Derges, did not yet know if Derges had received a response. Springfield-based attorney Stacie Bilyeu is no longer representing Derges, she said. 

The embattled state representative was charged with 20 counts ranging from wire fraud to making false statements to federal agents. Derges is licensed as an assistant physician — not a physician — and operates Ozark Valley Medical clinics in Branson, Ozark, and Springfield. She was first elected to serve as a Republican state representative for HD 140 in 2020.

She pleaded not guilty, and in multiple Facebook posts, Derges maintained her innocence.

Derges filed multiple bills this year pertaining to assistant physicians. HB 550 would allow an assistant physician to become a licensed general practitioner if he or she has completed 60 months of post-graduate, full-time active collaborative practice and Step 3 of the Medical Licensing Examination. HB 916 would give assistant physicians the ability to prescribe Schedule II amphetamine or methylphenidate. HB 584 would allow for license reciprocity for health care professionals. It also would allow oversight bodies to grant licenses through reciprocity to those under investigation or disciplinary action or who has a pending complaint. 

The indictment alleged Derges wrote electronic prescriptions for oxycodone and Adderall and transmitted the drugs over the internet without having conducted in-person medical evaluations.

Derges also allegedly obtained amniotic fluid and falsely claimed it contained “mesenchymal stem cells” during a seminar and in personal consultations. The amniotic fluid did not, however, contain any stem cells. Derges allegedly administered the amniotic fluid to patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, and tissue damage, among other ailments.

The indictment said Derges charged patients more than $191,000 in all for the amniotic fluid.

Additionally, Derges faces two charges of making false statements to federal agents during the investigation in May 2020 regarding the use of the amniotic fluid and whether it included stem cells.

“Our leadership team and the members of our caucus strongly believe Rep. Derges should resign her seat to focus on her family and her legal issues,” House Speaker Rob Vescovo, Majority Floor Leader Dean Plocher, and Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann previously said in a joint statement.