A Seattle doctor is in danger of losing his DEA registration. Dr. Frank D. Li, medical director for Seattle Pain Centers, is currently under investigation by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Li is facing several allegations that include violating laws related to safe prescription of opioids and fraudulent Medicaid billing. Additionally, the deaths of several patients under his care from 2010-2015, are under investigation.
If Li’s registration is revoked, he would no longer have the authority to dispense controlled substances. Li currently has a temporary ban placed against him by the Washington state Medical Commission. In addition, five physician assistants have also lost their ability to practice under Li’s authority.
Patients of the eight clinics under the supervision of Li are panicking at the news. Kimberly Reiten of Kent is one of the patients in jeopardy of losing her prescription for opiates. “I am freaking out,” said Reiten, who has been taking hydromorphone and methadone for five years due to chronic pain.
In addition to the license suspension, Li’s core-provider agreement with The Washington State Health Care Authority has been terminated. The Medicaid healthcare system will no longer make payments for clinic visits effective immediately.
Health officials in the state of Washington are preparing for the effects of the partial shut-down of the eight clinics servicing an estimated 25,000 patients. They are encouraging other health professionals to provide assistance to patients who have a credible need for pain management.
Li and his attorney have 20 days to answer to the charges made by the state. Li’s lawyer, Mark Bartlett believes the decision made erroneously. “We have every confidence that the decision will be reversed after a full hearing,” he said. The state will have 14 days from Li’s request to hold a hearing. Li has been a licensed physician since 1999 in California and in Washington since 2008.