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Commission Resolves Charges against Frank D. Li in Seattle Pain Centers Matter

OLYMPIA -- The Washington Medical Commission (WMC) accepted a negotiated settlement with King County physician Frank Li (MD00049251), the former medical director of Seattle Pain Centers, now known as Anesis Pain Management. Li, whose license to practice medicine has remained suspended since July 2016, was the subject of both state and federal inquiries into his clinical and business practices. After receiving the suspension from the WMC, Li chose to abruptly close all locations of Seattle Pain Centers across the state, leaving many patients without care.

The Agreed Order (Order) contains numerous restrictions applying to Li’s practice, employment, and business arrangements. The timeframe of the restrictions ranges from 10 years to permanent. In the interest of transparency the requirements are summarized in part below. The full text of the order can be found here:

Suspension: 12 months from the date of the Order.

Permanent Restrictions:

  • Can only prescribe controlled substances for acute pain in up to seven day quantities with no refills. 
  • Must check the Prescription Monitoring Program for all patients before prescribing controlled substances.
  • Cannot hire or direct anyone to prescribe opioids for his patients.

Ten Year Restrictions: 

  • Probation. Li must fully comply with the Order and his treatments must meet standard of care.
  • Restricted from practicing as a pain management consulting physician.
  • Restricted from acting as a medical director.
  • Restricted from owning, operating, managing, or supervising or any pain management practice.
  • Restricted from having a majority interest in any type of testing lab.
  • Restricted from referring patients for lab work in which he has a financial interest.
  • Restricted from employing, overseeing, or directing any other medical providers.
  • If practicing the specialty of anesthesia and a limited scope of interventional pain management, Li must follow the requirements detailed by the Order.
  • Report any adverse event to WMC, including death, infection, or unanticipated hospitalization. 

Other Conditions

  • Submit to practice reviews by WMC or its designee.
  • Personally appear before the WMC to demonstrate compliance with the order.
  • Prior to applying for license reinstatement, complete a prescribed ethics course.
  • Competency assessment performed by WMC designee within 60 days of reinstatement. Li must follow all recommendation of the evaluator.
  • The WMC must pre-approve all practice sites.
  • Pre-approval from a WMC approved physician reviewer for any interventional or anesthetic procedures. Banned from any procedures that are not medically necessary.
  • Arrange with a physician with hospital privileges to admit any patients after any procedures. The arrangement must be in writing and submitted to a WMC Compliance Officer.
  • Take and pass a prescribing course within 12 months of the Order, write a paper on learnings, and discuss with Commissioners at a personal appearance. Li must also present the paper and course learnings to a peer group.

Li must pay all costs associated with the Order and obey all state, federal, and local laws for the duration of the Order. He may not request WMC modify the Order for five years and may not request the WMC terminate the Order for 10 years. The Order resolves only the charges against Li by the WMC and does not address any future or pending federal issues, matters with other state entities, or civil litigation.

The Washington Medical Commission promotes patient safety and enhances the integrity of the medical profession through licensing, rule-making, discipline, and education.