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Emailing My Medical Boards

As a physician, I’m both a patient and a doctor. I’m both a healthcare consumer, as represented by my state medical board, and I deliver healthcare and am therefore regulated by them.

So I decided to send out 2 different emails from 2 different accounts to my respective medical boards. One email as a consumer inquiring about wanting to file a complaint against my doctor, the other as a physician asking about providing access in locations which have the lowest physician penetration.

Before getting baptised by my 2017 medical board investigation I assumed the medical board was there to protect me; that they were on my side and wanted the best for me and my patients. The results of this experiment have been doubly enlightening.

Email #1

I am a patient in CA/OR/WA and I had a recent interaction with my physician which may have been of concern; I’m not sure. I wanted to know whom I can talk to about this matter to get a better sense of the situation.

If you have any resources to point me to or if there is someone I can call, that would be great.

Email #2

I am a physician licensed in CA/OR/WA and I have plenty of bandwidth to see more patients either for free or at very low cost or in a traditional manner. I wanted to reach out to the medical board to find out about which neighborhoods in my state have the highest need and focus my attention on those areas.

If you have any resources you could point me to or if there is someone I can call, that would be great.

24 Hours Later

I received an email reply from WA and CA addressed to me as a patient with a link on how to file a complaint about my physician. There was also some generic information provided in the email.

Nobody asked to speak to me, though a phone number was provided.

3 Days Later

I received an email reply from OR addressed to me as a patient with a link of where I could file a patient complaint against my provider. Quite similar to the above email.

30 Days Later

It’s been 31 days and I haven’t gotten any replies from my medical boards about where patients have the highest need of access. [Scratching my head… then my ass…]

Now, if I predicted this outcome, I would have been labeled as yet another jaded physician. I supposed I’m glad that I’m so well protected as a healthcare consumer.

As a physician, I’m wondering what the fuck happened to my field of medicine. I’m offering to see patients for free … to my medical board … to whom I pay money for my privileged license!

I’m also wondering, what does consumer protection really mean? A way for the patient to vent by filing a quick online complaint and still feel as though they have no control over their healthcare? Or for them to be truly represented by a government sanctioned group and ensure they have adequate access?

Community Health Centers

In my email barrage, I also reached out to:

  • Community Health Centers
  • department of health for each state
  • non-profit medical groups
  • rural health groups
  • HPSA sites

All the replies I received were a runaround of one sort or another. My spiel was simple: I have my own telemedicine platform and can start seeing patient for free today and I have my own malpractice insurance.

The most common group I was referred to was a telemedicine interest group in each state. These are quasi-non-profit-for-profit groups which certainly play a role in telemedicine awareness, but it’s hardly their responsibility to represent the patients in their state.

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