Hot off the press with yet another tip from social media, our latest noctor to enter the spotlight is Diane Lynn Alvarez, a Virginia-licensed (license #0024175726) family nurse practitioner (FNP) who owns "Now Care MD Urgent & Primary Care Center" (formerly "Online MD Urgent Care") in Henrico, Virginia.
Pick any innocent bystander off the street, and chances are he/she would reasonably expect to find a physician at a medical clinic called "Now Care MD". But alas, false advertising is everywhere in 2023, and midlevel nurse practitioners who are equal parts mischievous and misleading are opening up fly-by-night "clinics" masquerading as doctor's offices faster than the spread of pancreatic cancer, and almost faster than the ability of the authors at MidlevelWTF to keep up. This is especially true in states that give midlevel nurse practitioners full practice authority, i.e. the ability to go rogue and practice independently without physician supervision; Virginia in particular allows NPs "with the equivalent of 5 years of clinical experience to apply for the autonomous practice designation on their licenses which enables them to practice without a practice agreement". Clinical experience in what exactly, is anyone's guess. If you're a naive and innocent newborn baby who is still willing to give Ms. Alvarez the benefit of the doubt as to why she named her company "Now Care MD" and not "Now Care NP", well, we'll just let these Google reviews speak for themselves:
Even the most naive and innocent newborn members of the general public can tell how classy and professional of an establishment that NP-owned "Now Care MD" must be after perusing this lovely flyer. While there's no pictures of physicians to be found, Ms. Alvarez is gracious enough to share with us not one, but TWO pictures of her. Of course, one appears to be a very high-quality (/s) photoshopping of her head (is the duck-lipped glamor headshot from her Tinder profile or something?) onto the body of someone wearing a white coat. Indeed, white coats seem to be all the rage these days among literally everyone except for actual fucking physicians.
Even more interesting are the numerous typos and formatting errors. We seriously wonder if Ms. Alvarez ever learned how to use apostrophes properly, when and how to capitalize words, and how to correctly format mailing addresses. "Henrico Va, 23228"? "We treat our patient's like family"? Did Ms. Alvarez pass second grade before going on to nurse practitioner school?
Given the fact that "Now Care MD" also advertises Botox and other cosmetic products on its website, perhaps "We treat our patient's wallets like family" would be a better slogan. And seriously, "WE Can Fix That"? What the fuck, is this place supposed to be an auto body shop or something? We just developed a grade IV glioblastoma multiforme after seeing this cancerous ad - can you fix that, Ms. Alvarez?
But perhaps the most notable, and also most unfortunate aspect of the above flyer is the fact that the advertised website, www.onlinemdurgentcare.com is no longer in service. In fact, it appears to be so long gone that the domain name is up for sale. Gosh, it would be such a shame if someone were to purchase it (for less than $10) and redirect it to this very MidlevelWTF article. 😂
Now, to be fair, "Now Care MD" did move its website to an updated domain name, the even-unwieldier www.nowcaremdurgentandprimary.com. On the homepage, you'll find the exact same shit-tier Photoshopped headshot of Ms. Alvarez, in an even larger, more obnoxious size:
There's a blurb about "Diane Alvarez FNP-C and her team", but notably, there's a complete lack of information on who exactly this "team" consists of besides herself. Does it even contain a physician? As for the answer to that question, we'll just leave this very telling Google review here:
Ms. Alvarez, how is anyone legitimately supposed to believe that you're "experienced with providing gender affirming medicine" and that you're "an ally with the LGBTQI community" when you can't even consistently spell the LGBTQI abbreviation correctly and you seem to have just recently discovered that "transgender and LBGTQI people can get colds too"? And not to be pedantic, Ms. Alvarez, but you would be a lot more credible if you cared to put your singular brain cell to work and realize that transgender individuals fall under the umbrella of LGBTQI.
The real pièce de résistance on the website, though, is an article ironically entitled "An apple a day keeps the doctor away". Although in Ms. Alvarez's case, it seems that the best way to keep the doctor away is to not have one at all!
Even if one were to forgive all the blatant false advertising, misleading of patients, and general incompetence above, perhaps the #1 rule of running a business (other than not committing fraud) is to ensure that your business registration hasn't lapsed:
If Ms. Alvarez can't even be bothered to keep her PLLC registration in good standing, one can only wonder as to the safety or quality of the care she provides. Remember - she "treats her patient's like family"!
Virginia has several laws on its books regarding false advertising, including § 18.2-216 of the Code of Virginia, which states the following:
Any person, firm, corporation or association who, with intent to sell or in anywise dispose of merchandise, securities, service or anything offered by such person, firm, corporation or association, directly or indirectly, to the public for sale or distribution or with intent to increase the consumption thereof, or to induce the public in any manner to enter into any obligation relating thereto, or to acquire title thereto, or any interest therein, makes, publishes, disseminates, circulates or places before the public, or causes, directly or indirectly to be made, published, disseminated, circulated or placed before the public, in a newspaper or other publications, or in the form of a book, notice, handbill, poster, blueprint, map, bill, tag, label, circular, pamphlet or letter or in any other way, an advertisement of any sort regarding merchandise, securities, service, land, lot or anything so offered to the public, which advertisement contains any promise, assertion, representation or statement of fact which is untrue, deceptive or misleading, or uses any other method, device or practice which is fraudulent, deceptive or misleading to induce the public to enter into any obligation, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
In light of the above, one could certainly argue that Ms. Alvarez's advertising activities raise significant concern for fraud, untruthfulness and the deliberate deception and misleading of the general public. Feel free to use the above evidence if you wish to submit a complaint, e.g. to Virginia's Office of the Attorney General: