District Attorney Dan Dow announces settlement with medical doctor for the unlawful supervision of the nurse practitioner who called herself “Dr. Sarah”
Author: District Attorney
1/31/2024 2:06:57 PM
Dr. Anika Moore agrees to pay $25,000 in penalties related to allegations of unlawful supervision of Nurse Practitioner Sarah Erny. Ms. Erny opened an independent medical office in Arroyo Grande and prescribed hundreds of controlled substance medications without Dr. Moore’s knowledge over two years.
District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that the District Attorney’s Office, Special Prosecution Unit has settled 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.
During the investigation, Dr. Moore stated that she agreed to become Ms. 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 Ms. Erny, but only skimmed the contents and returned it to Ms. Erny. Over the next two years, Dr. Moore stated that she would make herself available to answer Ms. Erny’s questions. Dr. Moore was not paid for these services. Dr. Moore stated that she was led to believe that Ms. Erny was working in a clinical setting with other physicians. As a result, she was not aware that Ms. Erny had opened an independent medical office and did not collaborate with Ms. Erny on the standardized procedures or evaluate Ms. Erny’s performance. Finally, Dr. Moore was unaware that Ms. 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.
Here is a copy of the Civil Complaint. Here is a copy of Final Civil Judgement.
Our consumer protection team is committed to protecting the public from unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent or deceptive business practices. Consumer protection cases can be pursued in either criminal or civil court. Examples of such cases include contractor’s fraud, false or misleading advertising, and “bait and switch” scams. The unit also aims to increase public awareness of consumer issues through presentations to local groups when called upon.
For more information about the consumer protection laws or to report suspected violations contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs Consumer Assistance Line toll-free at (800) 952-5210 or visit their website at www.dca.ca.gov/. Hearing-impaired persons may call TTY (800) 326-229.
To report a consumer complaint directly to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, you may submit a complaint form, found here:
CONSUMER COMPLAINT FORM ENGLISH
CONSUMER COMPLAINT FORM SPANISH
Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.