It blames medical legend Jonathan Wright, MD, for its own misconduct. Action Alert!
In April we told you about the battle that integrative physician and natural health pioneer Jonathan Wright, MD, has been facing in Washington. The state’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC) finally issued its ruling last week.
In short, Dr. Wright’s license will be suspended for ninety days (effective mid-June). Following that suspension, he will be on probation for thirty months. He must pay a $7,500 fine; he must appear before MQAC annually to report on any new NDs or MDs his clinic has hired; and—absurdly, to our mind—he must submit a paper to the Commission describing the importance of proper licensure!
Dr. Wright will definitely be appealing this ruling. The appeal will be to a “real court” in Washington State not an administrative agency. As you know, administrative agencies are the prosecution, judge, and jury all in one entity. “Real” courts are not!
MQAC, of course, has unlimited legal resources. Doctors, especially integrative doctors, are not generally rich. They use this fact to try to bully beleaguered integrative doctors in the state, most of whom they have attacked, into settling on MQAC’s terms. You can help by donating to Dr. Wright’s legal defense fund.
Here’s the background on the case, which you may recall from our earlier article. Dr. Wright’s Tahoma Clinic had hired a medical doctor who had been licensed outside Washington State, under the condition that he apply for a Washington medical license. He did so, and the doctor’s Washington license was listed as “pending” on the MQAC website. During this period, Dr. Wright followed the legal advice he had received and monitored him closely as required by Washington law. Suddenly, MQAC charged Dr. Wright with “aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine” because the doctor’s out-of-state license had been revoked.
At least four MQAC staff members admitted during the hearing they knew from the beginning that the doctor’s out-of-state license had been revoked and that he could therefore not be licensed in Washington, but never put that information on the MQAC website (which continued to describe the physician’s Washington license as “pending”) or told Dr. Wright about it. It is MQAC that is culpable of “aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine,” not Dr. Wright!
While much of the hearing held last March centered on allowing this doctor to work at the clinic, MQAC also charged that Dr. Wright had been “non-cooperative” because he redacted private patient information when he gave MQAC the records of patients the physician had seen. These two allegations formed the basis of MQAC’s complaint.
However, when MQAQ finally handed down its decision, the Commission did not sanction Dr. Wright for either alleged violation. Instead, they found him guilty of a new infraction, which had never even been raised in MQAC’s charging documents: failure to follow a vague statute that governs the practice of an out-of-state doctor whose license is pending. And what do these rules say? The statute says the out-of-state doctor must not solicit nor take on patients in his own name, and must not open his own office. The thing is, Dr. Wright followed this statute to the letter. So in effect MQAQ has sanctioned him for a charge they didn’t make in the first place, and which he is completely innocent of.
Why did MQAC change direction like this? We can only guess. But one possibility is that it recognized its own culpability in leaving the doctor’s name on its license pending list, when it knew that the doctor had lost his license in another state and therefore could not be licensed in Washington. So it just adopted another, completely spurious charge.
And why, by the way, did MQAC leave the doctor on its license pending list and not tell Dr Wright what it knew? Again, we can only speculate. But given MQAC’s history of harassing Dr. Wright on spurious grounds (the last complaint before this one was over his phone system!), one can only wonder if there was a deliberate attempt to entrap Dr. Wright. If so, it has backfired. It is MQAC that has entrapped itself, as we hope the courts will realize. We aren’t lawyers, but we wonder if MQAC has not engaged in criminal behavior.
This is a sad day for Washington State, which is usually considered a progressive place open to alternative ways of thinking such as integrative medicine. Who would want to live in a state with a governing agency like MQAC?
Dr. Wright is a champion of natural medicine. He has developed innovative and successful natural therapies utilizing food, supplements, and lifestyle changes for a host of maladies that conventional medicine cannot cure. Now he needs your help. Please give to the Dr. Jonathan Wright Legal Defense Fund!