This case was investigated by the California DCA Health Quality Investigation Unit and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Bureau of Investigation
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY – On January 31, 2024, The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office announced that it has settled a case with Dr. Anika Moore. The settlement was related to an earlier settlement action by the District Attorney’s Office with Nurse Practitioner Sarah Erny who identified herself to patients as “Doctor Sarah” despite not being a physician. Here is a link to the previous settlement press release: District Attorney Dan Dow Announces Settlement with Arroyo Grande Nurse for Unlawfully Advertising Herself as “Doctor”
California law requires supervising physicians and the nurses they supervise to enter into a written collaboration agreement that defines their specific roles and duties in treating patients. The agreement is to specify whether medications can be prescribed and must list each medication that is classified as a controlled substance. The supervising physician is required to routinely evaluate the standardized procedures and to evaluate the nurse’s performance.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, during the investigation, Dr. Moore stated that she agreed to become Erny’s supervising physician in 2018. At the time, Dr. Moore lived in Massachusetts, practicing obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Moore received the collaboration agreement from Erny, but only skimmed the contents and returned it to Erny. Over the next two years, Dr. Moore stated that she would make herself available to answer Erny’s questions. Dr. Moore was not paid for these services. Dr. Moore stated that she was led to believe that Erny was working in a clinical setting with other physicians. As a result, she was not aware that Erny had opened an independent medical office and did not collaborate with Erny on the standardized procedures or evaluate Erny’s performance. Finally, Dr. Moore was unaware that Erny was prescribing controlled substances such as testosterone, a Schedule III substance, to both female and male patients.
“As a supervising physician, Dr. Moore accepted a professional commitment to collaborate and supervise Nurse Practitioner Erny,” said Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth. “Our office seeks to ensure that every physician that consents to supervise a nurse, will comply with California requirements, and take great care to routinely evaluate whether the terms of the agreement are being met and to evaluate the nurse’s performance to ensure best patient care.”
While Dr. Moore does not admit liability, the stipulated civil judgment requires Dr. Moore to pay civil penalties totaling $25,000 and to follow California law and regulations when entering into any future supervisory relationships with a California registered nurse.
This case was investigated by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Health Quality Investigation Unit and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Kenneth Jorgensen assigned to the District Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit.