State indefinitely suspends Washougal practitioner’s medical license

Washington Medical Commission investigation concluded physician assistant Scott Miller pushed unfounded COVID treatments, verbally abused hospital staff

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Scott Miller (left), a physician assistant and founder of Washougal Family Pediatrics in Washougal, speaks at the Camas School Board meeting on Aug. 23, 2021, in opposition to a state mandate requiring students and school staff to wear face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screenshot by Kelly Moyer/Post-Record)

The Washington Medical Commission has issued its final order regarding a Washougal physician assistant (PA) accused of promoting unfounded COVID-19 treatments and verbally harassing medical professionals treating hospitalized COVID patients.

The Commission’s order indefinitely suspends the PA license of Scott C. Miller, founder of the Miller Family Pediatrics clinic in Washougal. 

The final order, which followed a five-day hearing before a panel of medical experts in August 2022, concluded Miller had “committed unprofessional conduct,” violating six sections of a Washington state law regulating health professionals. 

The decision concludes the Commission’s investigation into Miller’s behavior during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. 

In August 2021, the Washington Medical Commission — the state commission charged with ensuring physicians and physician assistants provide quality health care — said it had received more than a dozen complaints involving Miller, including one complaint, lodged on Nov. 23, 2020, that said Miller was “endangering lives” by promoting anti-mask rhetoric on social media sites and sharing a barrage of antiquated or false information regarding COVID,” and had opened an investigation into the slew of complaints referencing Miller’s alleged unprofessional conduct.

Three months before the Commission announced its investigation, on May 10, 2021, Miller showed up to a Camas School Board meeting where he refused to wear a face covering in violation of public health rules, identified himself as the owner of “a pediatric practice in Washougal,” railed against mask mandates and verbally harassed elected officials over their efforts to prevent COVID from spreading to Camas students, teachers and staff members. 

I don’t know a single person who’s died … I’ve treated 350 COVID patients. Do you know there’s treatment?” Miller said during the May 10, 2021, Camas School Board meeting. “I treat people every day. I had 90 COVID patients come into my clinic last month (and) treated all of them. Ivermectin cures. Vitamin D, vitamin C, it actually cures, if anybody (cares) to look at the data.” 

Miller told the school board that he and his wife did not allow their children to wear masks at school or while traveling.

I will not allow them to wear a mask. I didn’t allow them to wear a mask when we went to the airport and got on a plane. I guess some of us know the science on that,” Miller said during the May 10, 2021, school board meeting. 

Four days after that school board meeting, according to the Washington Medical Commission, the first of five patients noted in the Commission’s report, “Patient A,” a 39-year-old man, sought Miller’s help for symptoms related to COVID, including congestion, fatigue, a headache and a cough.
The Commission’s investigation showed Miller prescribed the man ivermectin and other prescription medications, as well as a variety of vitamins and supplements without actually meeting with Patient A. 

“Prior to prescribing ivermectin, (Miller) failed to verify Patient A’s self-reported COVID-positive test and to perform a physical exam of Patient A,” the Commission noted in its report. “(And he) calculated dosage solely based on Patient A’s reported weight without any clinical data to support the dosage as therapeutic.” 

The Commission’s report includes information about other patients who sought Miller’s help during bouts with COVID, including “Patient B,” a man who arrived at a local hospital’s emergency department on Sept. 1, 2021, with “acute respiratory failure” following more than a week of COVID symptoms. 

Patient B, who had not received a COVID vaccination, was “unresponsive with unreadable stats” when medics arrived at his house, according to the Commission’s report. Despite being told he was “at serious risk of harm … and would likely not survive if he was discharged,” the man declined intubation, left the hospital against medical advice and then sought Miller’s help. 

The Commission’s report stated that Miller prescribed Patient B a course of ivermectin “for treating head lice” on Sept. 4, 2021. Later that day, the patient’s wife called 911 to have an ambulance take him back to the hospital due to “respiratory distress.” 

On Sept. 10, 2021, according to the Commission’s report, “Patient C,” went on a YouTube show and said her “doctor,” identified as Miller, had treated over 900 COVID patients — including herself and her husband, “Patient B” — with ivermectin. 

The Commission said this woman, along with Miller, called the hospital where her husband, Patient B, had been admitted, sedated and intubated and “asked them to administer vitamins and ivermectin.”

“In multiple instances during phone calls (with hospital staff, Miller) demanded to speak with the physician who was monitoring the hospital’s intensive care unit,” the Commission noted. “When told the physician was not available because they were monitoring care for Patient B as well as 23 other (intensive care) patients, Miller’s conduct turned abusive and inappropriate.” 

At one point, the Commission stated, Miller told a nurse working with Patient B: “We know what you’re doing. Well, not you. You’re a pawn. But you know what’s happening. I want you to carry this guilt because this is disgusting.” 

Three patients — including “Patient B” — that sought care from Miller and were advised to go against the hospital’s COVID treatment protocols later died from COVID complications.

The Commission said Miller made threatening statements to physicians and hospital staff on the phone as well as online. 

In September 2021, Miller wrote on a Facebook post addressed “to Legacy Salmon Creek hospital system providers that haven’t suckled from the teeth of evil”: “I KNOW you. I know your (doctors’) names. I have spoken to you … Your names will be well known very soon so our community knows who is responsible for these crimes against humanity.” 

The Washougal physician assistant also accused local doctors of murdering a 33-year-old woman who needed to be intubated after suffering respiratory distress due to COVID “because, I don’t know, (their) insurance had been maxed out and so they needed to make room for another victim.”

Several times, Miller referred to ivermectin – a drug research has shown is not useful in treating COVID or in preventing COVID hospitalizations — as “a cure” and “a miracle.”

The Commission strongly disagreed. 

(Miller) denies committing any unprofessional conduct in his treatment of or advocacy for Patients A through F … on several occasions (Miller) provided contradictory statements in explaining his actions. He denied prescribing ivermectin to patients for treatment of COVID-19. (During the August 2022) hearing, (he) explained he did write ivermectin prescriptions for the treatment of head lice, even though none of his patients complained of or suffered from condition in prescription form for ‘head lice,’” the Commission noted in its report. “He did this to ensure the prescriptions would be filled by the pharmacy.”

Miller’s actions and his public statements undermined his credibility during the August 2022 hearing over his license suspension, the Commission said. 

“Rather than acting as a go-between for these patients and their families, (Miller) consistently contradicted the diagnoses and treatments of specialists and hospitalists in those fields for those patients,” the Commission added. “Without examining the patients, and without the training to question the treatment providers, (Miller’s) treatment recommendations are suspect. These actions further undermine his credibility here.”

Washougal practitioner failed to disclose California investigation

The Commission also noted that Miller had “misrepresented” himself in 2013 when he applied for his Washington state physician assistant license. ,

The application Miller filled out on Sept. 19, 2013, asked: “To the best of your knowledge are you the subject of an investigation by any licensing board?” 

Miller marked “no” to that question despite the fact that the board overseeing California’s health practitioners — where Miller worked before moving to Washougal — had alerted him in August 2012, that he was the subject of an investigation in that state.

On March 14, 2014, the California Physician Assistant Board issued a citation order finding Miller had been “providing medical care without supervising physician authorization; writing drug orders for controlled substances without conducting physical examinations and without supervising physician authorization; and failing to document and maintain medical records for patients.”

The California board canceled Miller’s PA license in 2020, and recently noted that the cancellation was due to Miller’s failure to renew his PA license by a certain date, and was not connected to the March 2014 citation.

Commission finds Miller ‘created confusion and discord regarding safe treatment of COVID-19’

The Commission’s report noted that, during the height of the pandemic, after “questions arose regarding prescription and efficacy of the off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients,” the company that produced ivermectin, Merck & Co., Inc., advising clinicians that the drug “has no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19, no meaningful evidence for clinical activity or clinical efficacy in patients with COVID-19, and a lack of safety data in the clinical studies that have been conducted with COVID-19 patients.” 

Nevertheless, thanks to misinformation circulating on mostly right-wing social media sites as well as on Fox News, “some members of the public became convinced that COVID could be treated using ivermectin and once convinced that ivermectin was a cure for COVID-19, they sought out any practitioner who would prescribe ivermectin to them for  that purpose,” the Commission’s report noted. 

Miller was one such practitioner, according to the Commission’s report. 

“Despite the CDC and FDA treatment guidance, and the Merck Company recommendations regarding the use of ivermectin, (Miller) chose to prescribe the off-label use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19 patients. He reached this decision through his own research,” the Commission noted. “He became a proponent of prescribing ivermectin as a frontline treatment for COVID-19, along with vitamins and some steroid medications. In prescribing ivermectin, (Miller) failed to appropriately record the off-label use of the medication, and he did not include the appropriate record-keeping requirements in doing so.” 

The Commission used the Camas School Board meeting as an example of Miller’s failure to “dispense accurate information” about COVID treatments. 

“(His) statements clearly show that he was holding himself out as a medical professional and not as a private citizen. In that capacity, (Miller’s) duty as a physician assistant required him to dispense accurate information about COVID-19 precautions and management. The duty to provide accurate information in public forums included explaining the medical precautions and management of COVID-19 … the use of masking and social distancing during the pandemic to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the Commission noted. “It did not include … making statements that using ivermectin was a cure for COVID–19, nor by disparaging the medical community’s attempts to limit the spread of COVID-19 through masking and social distancing.” 

The Washougal practitioner “failed both to dispense accurate precaution and management information regarding the treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as creating disinformation and discord regarding appropriate management of the pandemic by his statements,” the Commission stated in its report. 

The Commission concluded that, “based on the totality of  the evidence … (Miller’s) conduct did lower the standing of the physician assistant profession in the eyes of the public,” and said the Washougal practitioner’s “difference of opinion on the proper treatment of COVID-19 — given that he failed to follow the standard of care for the off-label use of ivermectin — also raised a reasonable concern that (he) used his status in the medical community to advocate a treatment approach that might  harm the public.”

Additionally, the Commission stated, Miller’s “abusive and improper behavior toward other members of  the medical community acted to lower the standing of the medical profession in the eyes of the public and acted to disrupt the therapeutic alliance between the treating physicians and nurses for patients.”

Miller presented testimony from Vancouver doctor Rick Jackson, who has been listed on state documents as the physician overseeing Miller’s practice, and from several local residents, including former Clark County Councilor David Madore. Madore, of Vancouver, is a frequent financial backer of right-wing candidates who injected several thousands of dollars into Camas’ city council and mayoral races during the 2021 primary and general elections.

Miller also presented his own testimony and testimony from Jeremy Batten, Melissa Gunderson, Brad Chun, Elinka Dalhover and Amanda Elaine Engleking, as well as expert testimony from Dr. Steven Katsis and Dr. Lee Merritt during the Aug. 8-12 hearing before the state medical commission.

Following the hearing, the Commission concluded that Miller had failed to abide by the oath all health care practitioners take when they enter the medical field. 

“When presenting themselves in their professional role, health care providers hold a critical and grave responsibility to dispense accurate information about COVID-19 precautions and management,” the Commission noted in its report. “(Miller’s) failure to dispense accurate information … breaches the oath health care providers take, that is, ‘first, do no harm.’”

Commission outlines steps for having license reinstated

Miller has filed a petition asking for a superior court review of the Commission’s final order. 

In the Commission’s final order, there is a path outlined that Miller could take to someday regain his physician assistant license. 

Before applying for reinstatement of his PA license, Miller would have to “undergo a multidisciplinary forensic assessment by Acumen Assessments to determine if he is fit to return to practice as a physician assistant,” and “provide proof of attendance and unconditional pass from ProBE program offered by Center for Personalized Education for Physicians.”

If the Commission were to reinstate Miller’s PA license, the Washougal practitioner would be subject to oversight for at least 36 months; be required to make appearances before the Commission annually; and allow a Commission representative to make unannounced visits to his practice to interview Miller and his staff and to “copy records regarding his ongoing care of patients.

Miller would be required to pay all costs associated with the testing, training and compliance portions of this path toward getting his license reinstated.

If Miller were to have his license reinstated, any failure to comply with the various terms and conditions could result in a complete revocation of his PA license. the Commission noted.

Miller continues to fundraise online 

On his Miller Family Pediatrics website, Miller claims the “attacks” against him “have been brought on by a small handful of people that have no ties to our medical practice, and by pharmacies and hospitals that have a zero tolerance policy on family members asking that I help them advocate for loved ones that have been admitted and written off in our current system of dismissiveness and neglect.

Miller’s supporters have established an online fundraiser on GiveSendGo, a Christian crowdsourcing site accused of providing “a safe haven for right-wing extremists” who have been kicked off of other crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe or Patreon. 

The GiveSendGo fundraiser has requested monthly donations and has a goal of raising $75,000 for Miller. 

As of Dec. 20, the site had collected $10,645 for Miller, including a recent $100 donation from an anonymous donor who claimed to also be a physician assistant and said they “have seen the truth about COVID … and all the (government) lies about vaccines, treatments, etc.”
“I’m sorry you are being persecuted like so many others,” the donor told Miller, adding that “the truth is coming out” and that Miller should “trust in the Lord to reveal this evil tyranny among us.” 

Editor’s Note: This article was edited on Jan. 2, 2023, to correct a reporting error. The California Physician Assistant Board did not suspend, but rather, canceled Miller’s PA license in 2020. The Board recently noted that this cancellation was due to Miller’s failure to renew his PA license by a certain date, and was not connected to the March 2014 citation. The Post-Record strives for accuracy and regrets the error.