Saving an Ophthalmologist's Practice and Telemedicine Company's Business

We represented a national telemedicine company and a California cornea surgeon in a Medical Board of California investigation.

The telemedicine company does business in 39 states.  They contract with ophthalmologists and provide them with a software platform for the physicians to perform a limited eye examination for the purpose of renewing contact lens prescriptions.

The medical board investigation was led by the deputy attorney general and focused on whether the telemedicine exam was within the standard of care for ophthalmologists.  They also examined whether the physician was aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of medicine by contracting with the telemedicine company under a management services agreement, which, it was alleged, violated the prohibition against the corporate practice of medicine.

The investigation resulted in a referral by the Medical Board of California to the attorney general’s office for the purpose of filing an accusation against the doctor, as well as a civil action against the telemedicine company.  We assembled a cadre of prominent ophthalmologists who used the software and attested to its medical efficacy and its compliance with the standard of care as being equivalent to an in-person examination.  We obtained the support of two national organizations for ophthalmologists to support the client and the telemedicine company.  The support went beyond the Medical Board of California and was addressed as well to the attorney general of California and the governor emphasizing that the convenience and economy of providing such examinations in a state which has an acute shortage of physicians advanced public health in California.

The attorney general declined to file an accusation and the Medical Board of California, through its executive director, closed its investigation.


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