June 2020 I decided to take down my blog, my podcast, and my YouTube channel. Now, a year later, I’ve decided to start writing again. No more running away from the medical boards.
Trouble with a Telemedicien Company
I was happily working for a large telemedicine company out of the UK which was moving to the US. I hired their local physicians, trained their incoming doctors, and created a QA process for seeing patients.
They got wind of me speaking about medicine publicly and expressed their disapproval. A few days later they asked me to not mention my affiliation with them on LinkedIn.
A few days later, they called me up and said that I had to appear virtually before their ethics committee. Apparently I had done something wrong with a patient visit.
They had recorded the audio visit with the patient – not sure with whose permission, not mine and not the patient’s. In it they found that I didn’t verify the patient’s location and she happened to be in a different state.
I found this out myself at the end of the visit. In fact, I did ask the patient about their location, they lied and said they were in California. At the end of the visit, when I was about to prescribe her, she mentioned that she’s traveling for the weekend to a nearby state. At that point I told her that I couldn’t help her since she was out-of-state.
Potential HPI Leak
That matter got resolved but they were now worried about me not being board certified with ABFM – at that time I was only certified with NBPAS.
The next week I get another call that they needed me to not pick up any more shifts because of a potential HPI leak. That’s when the fear set in – as if I had to once again try to escape the medical boards.
They claimed that in one of my podcasts I had revealed sensitive patient information. They told me which one and I took it down right away out of respect but I knew I hadn’t “leaked” any protected health inforation.
In that podcast episode I discussed a virtual visit with a pediatric patient and how the interaction with the parent highlighted some of the problems with traditional western medicine.
I never mentioned which telemedicine platform, I changed the patient’s age, the chief complaints, and the entire nature of the visit, and even the timeframe when I saw the patient.
This company didn’t care – they said that they considered it a violation of HIPAA which they had to report.
Fearing the Medical Board
My experience with the state medical boards was so fresh in my head that I couldn’t deal with them again. I decided to take everything down.
I was making good money from my online courses and good money from consulting. It just wasn’t worth it to deal with the medical boards again.
The funny thing is that nothing came of it. I’m sure they ran the case by their attorney who couldn’t confirm that it was an HPI leak. That’s why they never terminated me – they likely didn’t have enough reason to do so.
Having Faith in the Universe
My personal style has often been to trust the universe and not try to control my life too much. I know for a fact that most of my actions don’t have the result I think they’ll have. I’m not in control and that’s liberating.
I love writing – this is my first real post since canning my site. That’s what I’ll keep doing. But at that time my journey was to take down the site – that’s okay.
I won’t tell myself that I lost all my telemedicine income or my income from this site. It just happened the way it did and that’s all I can say about it.
The state medical boards are trying to do what they think is best for patients. I can’t blame them. And I have to do what I think is best for me and my patients. If you practice medicine in the US there is no escaping the medical boards.
A lot has happened since I last wrote. I’ll catch you guys up slowly. For now, I want to drive home the point that it doesn’t help you to keep running from the medical boards. It’s better to be prepared should you even have to deal with them.
For now, I’ll keep writing and this time it’s under my own name, Mohammad Ashori MD.
I changed my YouTube channel to just rock climbing. And my podcast is under my own name as well.
6 replies on “Running From the Medical Boards”
Dr. Mo, It is SO good to have you back! Thank you so much for re-starting your blog. You’re work has been a major inspiration to me personally. Cheers – Dr. E
Glad to hear it and thank you for reading my stuff.
Great to have you back Dr. Mo!
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your podcasts about living in Spain, and I watched your YouTube video when you and your partner were walking through the forests in Portland.
You seemed so happy and at peace. I was truly sad when your website originally went down! You are one of the few physician voices out there that I feel like I really relate to on a spiritual level simply because of your philosophy on things like control, letting things go, adapting to the ebb and flow of life.
I wish you continued success so that you can be a role model for me. My current plans are to stay in the US because there are certain opportunities here that I cannot pursue elsewhere.
Please continue to be a voice for physician nomads because there are medical students out there like me that are rooting for you!
Such kind words, thank you. You know, just these past few months that I spent in the US I started thinking what a wonderful place the US is to be a nomad in. I was living in Glassell Park which is a neighborhood in Los Angeles and before that were back in beautiful Portland. I didn’t expect to like that neighborhood that much, I thought I was just over LA. It goes to show you how great it is to just try out the different areas of our own country. It doesn’t even have to be another state, just another nearby city can be a great experience.
Right, as for the website, at that time I was really worried because of all the issues I had with the state medical boards and employers who were reading my content. Now, for some reason, I’m less worried. I also happened to stumble on an old backup of my site which I was able to restore which was my sign that I should resume what I love doing. Thank you for following and thank you for posting a comment, it’s really helpful to read. Take care.
Good to have you back Dr Mo!
I’ve missed your writing. You are the best physician writer in all of the blogosphere. You tell it like it is.
I’ve always thought the initial medical board complaint by the Kaiser nurse was terrible! It should never have happened. Good to hear you’re doing well.
Thank you kindly, Heather, for such kind words. I guess things will happen as they will, and as physicians, we’ll get accused, we’ll get sued, and we’ll deal with personal hardships. Finding something in healthcare we love enough to keep fighting for is genuinely worthwhile.