The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has considerable power to issue sanctions against healthcare providers under Michigan law. Once LARA files an administrative complaint against an individual healthcare provider, it is unusual for LARA to dismiss such a complaint without administering a sanction. Therefore, Rhoades McKee attorney, Douglas Vanden Berge, was pleased when he recently persuaded LARA to dismiss an administrative complaint with no sanction of any kind, resulting in a full and complete exoneration of his physician client.

This case involved a physician who had gone above and beyond the call of duty during the early days of the COVID pandemic to help various patients obtain care when hospitals were full and often dangerous places to be. At that time, it was difficult for patients to see their doctors, and there was not yet any FDA-approved treatment for COVID-19.

LARA alleged this physician did not provide appropriate care or proper follow-up for several patients who had called this physician seeking urgent care visits. These patients did not want to go to the hospital and did not require emergency medical care. Rhoades McKee and Mr. Vanden Berge were able to show through a strong expert review and a compelling presentation of facts relating to each patient, that the physician provided reasonable and appropriate care for these patients based on what was known at the time regarding treating COVID, and further that the standard of care did not require any of these patients to be hospitalized. The Assistant Attorney General and Board Conferee on this case were persuaded by the above-described strong and compelling presentation of the evidence and expert report. Accordingly, they recommended a complete dismissal to the Disciplinary Subcommittee (DSC). The DSC agreed with such a recommendation and issued an order dismissing the case with no sanction, thereby completely exonerating the respondent physician. As with other complete dismissals that have been obtained by Rhoades McKee attorney Douglas Vanden Berge, he was delighted to obtain this just and well-deserved outcome on behalf of his physician client.

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