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Withdrawing Your State Medical License

It’s not easy getting rid of a state medical license. Here are some options if you choose to change states or get rid of a license.

The medical board letters are relentless. Each medical board seems to come up with something new and finds a reason to contact me. CA and OR are taking the lead on this. WA has been rather predictable.

I received yet another letter from the OR medical board because they didn’t receive my certified letter in which I notified them of my CA medical board hearing. The letter is still in transit, going on 15 days.

I had my fill with the OR medical board so I reached out to my OR lawyer. He has a big case-load and passed me on to one of his colleagues who called me the same day. I wanted to discuss how I can get out from under the OR medical board. It turns out, it’s not as easy as I thought.

Much like a marriage, it takes an application to enter it but you’re fucked if you try to exit it. The options for your medical license are to:

  • inactivation
  • withdrawal
  • lapsing

Medical License Terminology

I guess this is a good thing to learn if you are planning on handling your own medical board stuff or if you want to better communicate with your attorney. Let’s talk about medical license terminology.

Only the medical board can ‘suspend’ or ‘terminate’ your medical license. You can ‘withdraw’ your medical license. And either of you can suggest and agree to ‘inactivate’ your medical license.

Once your medical license comes up for renewal, you can choose to let it lapse or renew it, of course.

Renewing Your Medical License After an Investigation

You know what I learned after talking to my attorney the other day? If I choose to renew my medical license with OR I would have to list every single thing I dealt with over these past 2 years all over again.

I would have to talk about the investigations by CA and WA. I would have to list every employer who terminated me. I would have to list all of my work experiences, etc. That’s a nightmare just to think through all of that and list them.

If I leave anything out then the medical board can claim that I was being deceitful.

1. Inactivating Your State Medical License

My lawyer and I discussed the option of inactivating my medical license in Oregon, which is no small feat. I have to fill out an application and answer a whole set of questions and I would still be under the watchful eye of the board and would still have to report everything to them in regards to the other medical boards.

Even when I inactivate the license, I have to continue to pay for it, though it’s a lower fee. And because it would be in an inactive status, letting it lapse would no longer be an option. Odd, but that’s my attorney said.

2. Withdrawing Your State Medical License

When you withdraw your medical license, if you are still under investigation by any other state then the Oregon Medical Board could use the wording:

Licensee withdrew medical license during active investigation.

Withdrawing is easy but once you withdraw from a particular state, it will be very tough to reapply for that state medical license. Especially if you’ve had a history of an investigation in the past.

Withdrawing the license isn’t too hard, you petition to have it withdrawn. I believe she mentioned that there is a fee for that. And if you have any active patients under you or any medical charts then you have to account for all of that.

3. Letting Your State Medical License Lapse

My final option is to just wait for approximately another year when my medical license will come up for renewal.

The problem with this option is that I would continue to have to deal with the OR medical board until then. The idea of that was incredibly exhausting to me, until…. I made an executive decision.

Practicing Medicine in Oregon

I’m done. I’m spent. I can’t deal with the Oregon Medical Board anymore. I raise my white undies in defeat. After this last letter from them I’m certain that I no longer want to practice medicine in the state of Oregon.

My attorney urged me to make sure that I don’t want to practice there ever again before making my decision. I would rather squat on some cacti than deal with the Oregon Medical Board or see patients in a state where I’m treated like this as a physician.

Paying Money to the State

I don’t want to pay a licensing fees to Oregon. My dollars are my way of casting a vote. I’m appalled by the way in which they have handled my disciplinary process. It doesn’t sit well with me. Punish me but don’t fucking torture me. Also, let it go! Get over it, move on to the next victim!

Nor do I want to pay income taxes from my medical work to the state of Oregon. Yes, I know, I’m acting like a brat. Instead of complaining and whining, I have the opportunity to take action and vote with them tax dollar.

I don’t need the income from the practice of medicine in OR. I don’t need to practice in OR. I don’t need to live in OR. So why wouldn’t I take my business somewhere else?

Time Until the License Lapses

I have decided that I will hire this attorney from now until my medical license naturally lapses in Oregon. When it comes up for renewal we will be ready for me to exit strategically.

During this time I’ll sic her on the medical board and we’re gonna hound them the way they have hounded me. We’ll send them monthly updates. We’ll request monthly audits to make sure my license doesn’t somehow mysteriously end up in an active investigation again.

Once we’re closer to the date when my medical license expires, we’ll submit a convincing dossier and make sure that I get out from under the Oregon Medical Board once and for all.

Oversight on my Part

I thought all of this was bad. Somehow my closed medical board investigation with Oregon has been reopened. Meaning, I am still under active investigation according to them.

One downside to managing your own medical board investigation is that you might overlook something. When I contacted this attorney, the first thing she asked me was why my Oregon medical license still shows up as an active investigation.

Uh…. heh?

I already signed a stipulated order with Oregon. I already served my 30-day license suspension and paid my $5,000 fine. I took the professionalism course and I was no longer under investigation a year ago. My case was closed.

Somehow, some way, my medical license went back into active investigation status. These are the little things you might overlook that can cause a lot of trouble later.

So, now the attorney has to first deal with this before we can proceed forward. Unbelievable. It truly is mind-numbing.

8 replies on “Withdrawing Your State Medical License”

It sucks to hear, that they reopened your file again. What do you think is the reason for this?

We suspect it’s an error. They also have me listed as practicing medicine in Texas – much like Utah, I’ve never been to Texas. Needing a lawyer to navigate my own career in medicine … that’s the nature of practicing medicine in the US. But, we do make an insane salary so I’m okay with this and wouldn’t complain if I still wanted the income. For all the bullshit we deal with as physicians, there are others who are putting their legal skills to good use. For example, this Bill is being introduced which has bipartisan support for expanding telehealth to rural areas in the US. I wouldn’t clap because this Bill is about 15 years late but still, progress is progress. And one day women will have the same right in the US as men. Blacks and other minorities, not quite, maybe another few decades for that.

Thats strange that they put so much effort and capacities into this, since the government would profit more from a working physician than from get 5000$ fines here and there.

It’s an inefficient bureaucracy. The medical boar is a small administrative unit of the government with a tiny budget. They can’t perform random audits of physicians. So they wait for complaints to come to them. They believe that their job is best done when they have the most number of and the harshest kinds of punishment for licensees. In fact, each state medical board has to get an independent audit every 3 years and I’ve read the audit reports. That’s exactly what’s commented on, whether enough doctors were walloped by the medical board. The medical board is far too obtuse to understand that taking even 1 physician out of the cog will cause a massive shift in such a consumer driven healthcare market. In fact, I’m a walking billboard for the medical board proving that they are doing their job. They are protecting the public and they are protecting the innocent patients who are at the whim of us rogue doctors. Mind you, I am 100% guilty and admit the mistakes I made. But I’m still waiting for someone to pat me on my back for helping a patient who didn’t have access to an EKG get her EKG. The irony is that my state medical board has written in their bylaws that above all, first and foremost, the patient must be placed ahead of all other decisions… maybe they mean the patient’s pocketbook, I’m not sure.
But a bigger point is that in a country where the healthcare system is this chaotic, there are a ton of ways to make money. You can take a doctor’s medical license away, ruin his reputation, and he’ll go on to earn $10,000/month through other means. Other doctors go on to sell supplements, open their own Medicaid factories, aesthetic practices. The toughest thing is to not give up. Whether you’re getting fucked by a medical board or whether you just don’t care to practice mainstream medicine, there is some niche out there for you that can help you pivot horizontally and still either create value for yourself or for patients, or both.

Hey, do you know if Kaiser has a medical marijuana program? Or did you work somewhere else?

Dr. Mo,

With my previous telemedicine employer, I have multiple state medical licenses. However I am now moving forward as an independent contractor responsible for maintaining my own licenses. Due to the cost, I do not intend to renew several of them.
What is the best route to “drop” a license?
Do I simply not renew when the time comes?
I do not have any pending citations from any of these boards.

If you have the resources, hire a lawyer in each state who can help you navigate that – it’s nuanced because each state has their own rules. Otherwise, if you gonna tackle it yourself, email the particular medical board and ask them what their protocol is for you to withdraw your medical license. Some will let you do it if you are in good standing. Others will have your jump through some hoops. I don’t recommend letting it lapse and not renewing – if something happens in the meantime then you’ll have to deal with a medical license which wasn’t even earning you any many. You are placing yourself under the oversight of a medical board committee who has the power to investigate you and fine you and regulate you, I would only do so if you’re earning money from that state. If nothing else, be sure to place your medical license in an inactive state until the renewal date comes up, and then do not renew. You still want to make sure that you obtain a concise letter that your license is fully closed with that state. There is a weird grace period and even if your license is inactivated or cancelled by you, if you do get a malpractice claim or medical board investigation, your inactive/cancelled license’s medical board can still open an investigation on you.

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