Seattle Pain Clinic - medical director suspended, clinics closed

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Washington State Medical Commission has suspended the Medical Director of Seattle Pain Centers, Frank D. Li, for alleged violations of the Uniform Disciplinary Act and for violation of the Washington State Pain Rules.

The action impacts eight clinics throughout Washington including one in North Seattle on the campus of Northwest Hospital.

Charges say Dr. Li consistently provided treatment that was an extreme departure from the standard of care, exposing patients of Seattle Pain Centers to risks of harm for opioid addiction, diversion, and overdose.

The Medical Commission alleges Dr. Li specifically sought Medicaid-enrolled patients with the intent to bill the maximum allowable amount by requiring unnecessary testing and procedures. Further, charges state, he intentionally employed recently graduated clinicians with little-to-no experience in pain management and that Li maintained unacceptable levels of oversight and management necessary to fulfill the duties of a medical director of a safe practice.

The most serious charges involved failing to appropriately respond to clearly demonstrated patient risk behaviors documented in medical records; and as medical director, failing to investigate reports of patient deaths or hospitalizations attributed to treatment received at Seattle Pain Centers.

The Medical Commission has opened investigations on all medical doctors and physician assistants practicing at the Seattle Pain Centers based on concerns of poor practice standards in place throughout the Seattle Pain Center organization.

The Department of Health urges patients of the Seattle Pain Centers to contact their health insurance company and primary care provider as soon as possible to try to minimize disruptions in their care. The Medical Commission has additional information for patients (PDF) of Seattle Pain Centers.


Nanook July 19, 2016 at 5:37 AM  

As someone who suffers from chronic neuropathy pain, I find these sort of actions by the Department of Health reprehensible. I can't get effective treatment from Group Health and now they are closing down options.

seattlenative42 July 20, 2016 at 11:36 AM  

I believe the state only cares that he double billed them, they don't care about the patients that died they care about the money, I have been a patient since Obama care raised my insurance from $250 to $750 so I was forced to get on Medicare and no Drs want to accept Medicare anymore and forget Medicaid they can't get good drs to see them at all! We get subpart medical care at best and I believe this is their way to increase patient suicide by preventing these people from the only care they could get! The state creates an atmosphere of great for drs to help patients in pain and yes out of 25,000 patients you will have some with addiction problems etc but I would bet this percentage of patient deaths is lower than the average for patient with the problems these patients faced. These beurocrats without medical degrees or pain management educations sit in their offices and act as God or at the least doctor's and regulate doctor care which is in my opinion compatible with the witch hunts in Salem. This whole idea of some uneducated gov official being involved in patient care is Ludacris! Most patients don't abuse their meds and don't become heroin addicts, government needs to stay out of medical care!

Carol Johanson August 26, 2016 at 4:01 PM  

I have suffered fr chronic pain since my early 20s. I am now 47. I've had both good ,caring docs,and horrible abusive docs through out the years . The meds I must take are addicting . I do not abuse my methadone . I do best when my Dr. Gives me adequate relief and a week or so of tablets in case of emergency . Part of coping with chronic pain involves anxiety and depression ,worrying about having no pain management definitely adds to both the anxiety and depression . I want to ,and need to function as close to normal and healthy as possible. I run a home business and am a single mom to two young men . I need and deserve consistent care . To me I liken this issue to taking away everyone's driving privileges,because some percentage of people will drink and drive . I should not be punished because someone else abused their medications . It's so incredibly difficult to live in pain ,poverty and isolation . I beg that we aren't lumped into addiction and reckless prescribing also.

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