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News / Health / Clark County Health

State health officials suspend license of Vancouver doctor

Mental or physical condition impairing abilities alleged

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian Health Reporter
Published: April 5, 2018, 8:48pm

State health officials have immediately suspended the license of a Clark County physician, alleging she is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety due to a mental or physical condition.

The state Department of Health’s Medical Quality Assurance Commission announced Thursday it had suspended the license of Dr. Melissa Freeman. The state charging documents indicate Freeman was asked to schedule an evaluation for impairment and address noncompliance of her monitoring agreement. She declined.

As a result, the state commission took action against Freeman’s license, determining she posed an immediate threat to the public health and safety if her license remained unrestricted. Freeman, 40, cannot practice as a physician in Washington until the charges are resolved. She has 20 days to respond to the charges and request a hearing.

It’s unclear if Freeman was practicing prior to the suspension. She previously worked at The Vancouver Clinic but resigned earlier this year, said spokeswoman Chastell Ely.

According to the state charging documents, Freeman’s employer, who is not identified, referred Freeman to the Washington Physicians Health Program in July 2017. The program’s mission, according to its website, is to “facilitate the rehabilitation of health care practitioners who have physical or mental conditions that could compromise public safety and to monitor their recovery.”

Her employer voiced concerns about Freeman’s patient engagement and ability to provide appropriate patient care, including not listening to patients, rushing appointments, blowing off complaints and not following up appropriately, according to the charging documents.

Freeman was evaluated in August 2017 and received a diagnosis, which is not disclosed in the documents. She agreed to enter a two-year monitoring agreement with the Washington Physicians Health Program.

She remained in compliance with the terms of the monitoring until early January, when she abruptly quit her job. Freeman was vague in explaining her resignation, saying she wanted to “sprinkle love over the world like glitter,” and was unable to elaborate on specific future plans, according to the documents.

The program reported that Freeman’s decision-making, insight and judgment appeared impaired and asked her to schedule an appointment for an evaluation. Freeman responded via email, stating her intent to stop participating in the program. The email was “unprofessional, contained profane language and the tone was threatening,” according to the charging documents.

The program’s clinical staff told the Medical Quality Assurance Commission on Jan. 18 it was unable to endorse her ability to practice medicine. On March 29, the medical commission summarily suspended Freeman’s license, pending further disciplinary proceedings.

Freeman has been licensed as a physician and surgeon in Washington since March 2014. She is board certified in neurology.

Columbian Health Reporter