Posing as a doctor is not only illegal in all fifty United States but has become a danger in some States. The easiest case in point is New York State law section 6512 which is nearly verbatim the statutes arranged in other States. First the definition of practice of medicine:
The practice of the profession of medicine is defined as diagnosing, treating, operating or prescribing for any human disease, pain, injury, deformity or physical condition.
And then the actual law that prohibit
s falsely practicing medicine:
1. Anyone not authorized to practice under this title who practices or offers to practice or holds himself out as being able to practice in any profession in which a license is a prerequisite to the practice of the acts, or who practices any profession as an exempt person during the time when his professional license is suspended, revoked or annulled, or who aids or abets an unlicensed person to practice a profession, or who fraudulently sells, files, furnishes, obtains, or who attempts fraudulently to sell, file, furnish or obtain any diploma, license, record or permit purporting to authorize the practice of a profession, shall be guilty of a class E felony.
Federal codes also touch on the issue with regards to requirements to practice medicine thus creating situations where aliens (Martian or otherwise) may be qualified to practice medicine in the U.S. but not possess the proper credentials. The U.S. Code, Sec. 1182 Inadmissible aliens, grandfathered in physicians prior to January 9th, 1978.
An alien who is a graduate of a medical school not accredited by a body or bodies approved for the purpose by the Secretary of Education (regardless of whether such school of medicine is in the United States) and who is coming to the United States principally to perform services as a member of the medical profession is inadmissible, unless the alien (i) has passed parts I and II of the National Board of Medical Examiners Examination (or an equivalent examination as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services) and (ii) is competent in oral and written English.
Problems arise in courts, however, regarding the application of said law when it is unclear as to which portions of the medical process require licensure. In the Indiana case Elizabeth Stryczek vs. The Methodist Hospitals Inc., the courts upheld that communication of x-ray results was not a job that requires licensure though the act of reading the x-rays and forming an opinion did require the license as such. Many States have faced similar cases. Administrative duties also, according to the D.C. Court of Appeals, fall outside the realm of positions requiring licensure of a physician. In Morris v. District of Columbia Board of Medicine the appeals court declared the Vice President and Medical Director of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the National Capitol Area is not required to be a licensed physician to retain this administrative position (D.C. Ct. App. Oct. 9, 1997).
Further problems arise as doctors, and facsimiles thereof, give medical advice via the Internet. This practice violates first and foremost the State statutes regarding State licensing for medical practice in said State. Furthermore, it is unknown as to whether the person giving the advice is licensed in medicine in the “patient’s” State or even licensed at all.
Overall each of the States in the Union, inclusive of the District of Columbia, have statutes of similarity regarding practicing medicine without a license. This issue continues to take new shapes and forms and will require further State involvement to recognize each of these 21st century issues. Federal involvement currently does not impose many thoughts into this matter but may need to find their way into the stream to properly control the outflow of dangerous medical practices.
And yes… the bee is guilty of practicing medicine without a license in all fifty States.
Al Westcott’s letter of complaint to the New York Board of Health
Brian Monnich’s essay: Bringing Order to Cybermedicine: Applying the Corporate Practice of Medical Doctrine to Tame the Wild Wild Web
Elizabeth Stryczek vs. The Methodist Hospitals Inc. case summary
New York and Indiana State codes and statutes
8 USC Sec. 1182
Morris v. District of Columbia Board of Medicine, D.C. Ct. App. Oct. 9, 1997