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Negotiating with the Medical Board for Stipulated Order

I recently posted about my proposed stipulated order from the Washington Medical Commission. In it they wanted to impose a $1,000 fine, have me take another professional course, along with a few other conditions. This was the proposed punishment imposed in response to my medical license suspension in Oregon.

Once I received this proposed stipulated order I contacted the Washington Medical Commission (WA’s medical board) and asked for a few modifications. I even offered to surrender my medical license in order to get out from under the proposed stipulated orders.

Within 2 weeks I got a phone call from the attorney from the Washington Medical Commission and she was incredibly courteous. She acknowledged receiving my letter and agreed to make some modifications so that I could keep my medical license in Washington. Before she was going to write it up she wanted to run it by me and then forward it to me to sign.

 

Revised Stipulated Order

The medical board refers to this as the STID – Stipulation to Informal Disposition. This is simply referred to as a ‘stipulation’ which initially was a ‘proposed stipulation’. After the attorney and I talked on the phone and I agreed to the revisions, she sent out the document for me to sign over email. I signed it and emailed it right back because it was incredibly fair.

The STID isn’t final, this stipulation must still be accepted by the Washington Medical Commission. It’s quite unlikely that they wouldn’t accept it since the medical board attorney obviously knows what will and won’t be accepted.

The revised stipulation changed from the original to the following. The most important thing, obviously, is that I didn’t have a medical license suspension. Everything else on this list is very palatable even by a potential employer. It’s the license suspension which is a death sentence.

  • $100 fine (compared to the initial $1,000)
  • write a research paper on ethics (no change to this)
  • take a compliance course put on by the Washington medical board (no change to this)
  • acceptance of my PACE professional boundary course (instead of having to take a new one)
  • appear before the medical board (no change to this)

 

Next Steps

Overall I’m quite happy that I get to keep my medical license in Washington. Unfortunately, I still am not in an employable position because my professional record will always include the 30-day Oregon license suspension.

But I feel a new sense of commitment to the state of Washington. I want to see patients for them if for no other reason than to repay their leniency. I don’t know how I can accomplish that yet but we’ll see.

The important thing here is that I didn’t have my license suspended (again) and I don’t have anything otherwise derogatory. The terms of the stipulated order are fair and not prohibitive in any way. Shit, maybe I’ll move to Washington.

But I want to wait and see how things go down with California. I have an amazing opportunity with Oscar Health right now which is the kind of company I always wanted to work for. If things go favorably in Cali then I can continue with this company. And when they expand to Washington I’ll be the first to see patients there.

This revised stipulation will be presented before the Washington Medical Commission members during their next meeting. It will likely get accepted and that’s when I’ll get the final documents which I have to sign. After that, everything will go into effect and I will work with a representative from the medical board to make sure I comply fully.

 

Practicing in Washington

I’ve thought about moving to Washington for a long time. Property prices are lower and I don’t mind the cold or rainy weather. There are numerous little towns where I could set up a small practice.

There is no state income tax there. And the state is rather business friendly from what others have told me. It might be a great place to settle down. Though I love Portland it’s not like I would die if I wasn’t here.

If I decided to work in Washington my ideal practice would be a DPC with some telemedicine. I could live in Spain for most of the year and have a PA or NP run the DPC clinic in my absence. I could do all the virtual visits from Spain and because of the time difference I could take the late-night calls.

3 replies on “Negotiating with the Medical Board for Stipulated Order”

It’s great to hear that there are some states giving docs a fair shake, and your positive attitude is amazing. I had thought Oregon was a reasonable state, but your experience was horrific.

Is it really true that any history of a license suspension kills the possibility of future employment? That’s terrible. If you served it and moved on, what’s the biggie?

That’s what’s weird- everyone says that Oregon is very easy on their physicians. I suspect that I really pissed them off because I didn’t give the investigator the person’s name right away. I didn’t do it because I didn’t think that I legally should at the time until I talked to my lawyer who’s like “dude! give them the name and give it NOW!”
Here is the rub on a license suspension. It’s really rare for a physician’s license to be suspended unless you did something truly fucked up. We’re talking an actual bad outcome and then lying and trying to deceive or covering up or completely not cooperating. I have colleagues who prescribed to ex-wives, who’ve had DUI’s, who’ve had major domestic violence cases with arrests, who have slept with patients – none of these resulted in a license suspension. Some were probations, some were reprimands, etc. A suspension sends the signal that you are a dangerous physician and you should be taken out of circulation for 30 days to protect the public and so that you can go through an intensive process of rehabilitation.
So yea, after a suspension it’s gonna be really tough to get a new job. I have since applied for a few gigs and I haven’t even gotten a reply back which is not at all how my previous job applications were. In fact, I’ve held a fuck-ton of jobs if you look through this website and I’ve only not gotten 1 job in all the applications I’ve sent out – it was a DMV job to review medical records and their reasoning was that I lived too far to go down and review charts at that DMV. Now I submit an application and I never hear back. Not even a reply.
Unfortunately this also means that I can’t be the front-facing physician for my consulting clients because they can’t have a doctor with my record be their representative.

Your optimism and creativity vis a vis your career are inspiring. I still can’t believe the thing with Oregon is non-negotiable. So unjust.

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