A physician based in Roseville, Calif., who has successfully treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients, has recently become well-known for issuing mask and vaccine medical exemptions to select individuals.
When word-of-mouth spread, Dr. Michael Huang’s office was swamped with calls and emails from thousands of patients—several from out-of-state—pleading for mask and vaccine exemptions for themselves and their children, he said.
Huang said he has been working 15- to 16-hour days trying to see as many patients as he can.
“I am so tired,” he told The Epoch Times. “I’m pleading for help and pleading for other doctors to step up and do their jobs.”
Recent news articles have painted a different picture, publishing accusations that Huang was handing out “fake” mask exemptions.
On Aug. 17, the state medical board issued a statement encouraging people to report doctors who are “granting mask exemptions inappropriately” and warning the physicians could face “disciplinary action” for issuing exemptions “without conducting an appropriate exam and without a finding of a legitimate medical reason supporting such an exemption.”
However, Huang said he has not acted inappropriately, and many doctors have abandoned their duty to serve the individual needs of their patients by unquestioningly complying with demands of government and health insurance companies.
Huang said that a few doctors have even complained that he saw their patients for exemption-related issues “without their consent.”
“This is just flat out ridiculous,” he said.
Doctors never need to get authorization from a patient’s primary care physician to treat them if the patient chooses to see another doctor, Huang said.
“These doctors never complained when I treated hundreds of their ill COVID-19 patients, and now they have an issue with me seeing their patients for mask/vaccine concerns?”
Medical Exemption Controversy
Huang said many doctors, especially those who work for big health insurance companies, refuse to write medical exemptions because they’re afraid to get fired.
He accused health insurers of “financial fraud” by collecting hefty premiums from their patients but failing to properly serve their individual medical needs, which he said should include writing mask and vaccine exemptions when warranted.
“They pay a premium to their insurer, and in return they are supposed to provide the necessary medical service,” he said.
“Right now, their administrators are either directly or indirectly telling them that they cannot provide this medical service … for whatever reasons that may be either political, internal pressure, or government pressure.”
Huang said several school districts and health organizations have rejected mask exemptions that he has issued to patients.
“This is illegal because I have a license to practice in California without restriction and patients can see any physician they wish.”
“It’s unbelievable,” he added.
Huang said he believes his license to practice medicine in California is jeopardy, because he is now on the radar of “the mask police.” He said that according to Rob Oldman, director of the Placer County Health & Human Services Department, a few doctors have reported him to the state medical board.
Rumors that Huang is “selling exemptions” are believed to have originated from an official at the Rocklin Unified School District, local sources told The Epoch Times.
Huang has denied the allegations against him and compared himself to a lone firefighter battling a blaze while being accused of arson.
“They are trying to paint me as a villain,” he said. “We’re in a crisis mode right now and they want to shut me down.”
Huang said he also sometimes prescribes medicine such as ivermectin, and he’s never lost a COVID-19 patient.
“If they close down my practice, I can guarantee there will be five COVID patients that will be dead in the next couple of weeks, because I can’t help them. Out of the hundreds of COVID patients I helped, not one person died,” he said. “It’s treatable.”
Though Huang said he’s received some several hateful voicemail messages, most of the feedback has been positive. He said more than 100 parents and supporters rallied outside Huang’s office on Aug. 16 to support his efforts.
A Kaiser Nurse Speaks Out
A registered nurse who works for Kaiser Permanente in California and asked not to be named told The Epoch Times she took her daughter to see Huang for a mask exemption.
“I know Kaiser’s stance on this so I didn’t even bother to go to my kids’ pediatrician because I knew it would be useless,” she said.
Her children were required to wear masks to school, and she said they complained daily of headaches, that they couldn’t breathe, or their ears hurt, she said. When she picked up her youngest daughter from school, “her mask would be just sopping wet. It was disgusting,” she said.
The nurse said she also refuses to be vaccinated with an “experimental drug” that has not yet been fully FDA-approved to keep her job at Kaiser.
Huang is “basically the only doctor in the area that is actually helping people who are in need,” she said.
The nurse knows of several people who were very sick with COVID-19 that went to Huang for help.
“In a nutshell, he saved their lives. Their doctors didn’t do anything for them,” she said.
Kaiser Permanente has not responded to an Epoch Times inquiry about whether its policies discourage Kaiser doctors from writing mask and vaccine exemptions for patients who need them.
However, Kaiser spokesman Marc Brown did respond to another inquiry about the organization’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy for employees, which he noted “has been applauded by the White House and other health care organizations and employers.”
All Kaiser employees and physicians must submit proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or complete a declination form by Aug. 23, said Brown. The mandate does not apply to patients.
Brown told The Epoch Times via email that the organization is “considering all requests for exemptions for medical or religious reasons and granting them where appropriate.”
Son Develops Lung Problems
Amber Glynn told The Epoch Times her 7-year-old son would often complain that he couldn’t breathe while wearing a mask.
About five hours after wearing one on a flight this summer, her son cried quietly and told her couldn’t breathe, but Glynn didn’t take the complaints seriously.
“I feel like a terrible mom, but I thought he was being a bit dramatic,” she said.
But last week, Glynn’s son complained of acute chest pain and spent hours with the school nurse.
Glynn said she had trouble getting an in-person appointment with a Kaiser doctor and had heard “Kaiser doesn’t give mask exemptions,” so she took her son to Dr. Huang.
Huang examined the boy using two different tests and determined his lungs were functioning at 50 percent capacity.
“I was shocked,” Glynn said.
Her son had always been healthy and had no history of signs of respiratory problems until he began wearing a mask, she said.
Huang also advised Glynn to take the boy to the emergency room immediately. The Kaiser doctor tested her son and said he was fine. But Glynn insisted the doctor test him a second time while she watched, and the second test showed that her son’s lung function was well below normal, she said.
Glynn said she told the doctor “I either need a mask exemption or a written statement that it is safe for my son to breathe elevated levels of Co2 for extended periods of time.”
Eventually, after an intense discussion, the Kaiser doctor wrote a temporary mask exemption to last until the boy could get in to see his primary care physician.
Hearing-Aids, Panic Attacks, and More
Huang said one child with hearing loss was forced to wear a mask with strings behind her ears even though they interfered with her hearing aids. When she refused, the school said she could wear a face shield, which caused an echo and interfered with her vision and hearing.
“How disgusting is that?” said Huang.
Huang said he doesn’t hand out exemptions to just anyone. A patient must have a legitimate medical reason to get one, he said. For example, one mom wanted exemptions for three children, but when the kids told Huang they liked wearing masks and wanted to fit in with other kids at school, he denied the mother’s request.
Huang said hundreds of parents and workers, including health professionals, have paid out-of-pocket to see him because they can’t find other doctors who will provide exemptions.
He calls his patients “medical refugees” who have nowhere else to turn.
“I don’t have any other words to describe it,” he said.
Many patients have come to him in tears begging for exemptions because they’re afraid to lose their jobs over the mask and vaccine policies of their employers. He’s seen “adult men crying,” he said.
Huang said lots of kids get panic attacks from wearing masks.
“They freak out,” he said. “They think they’re going to die. They have nightmares.”
Severe panic attacks and anxiety are “absolutely legitimate reasons” for writing a medical exemption, and adults can suffer from panic attacks too, Huang said. Continually wearing a mask can also affect patients with heart disease, asthma, other respiratory and cardiovascular ailments, and more.
In one case, a child with cerebral palsy was forced to wear a mask to school.
“He can barely speak. It’s difficult for him to breathe with a mask on. He can barely walk,” and yet the child’s doctor refused to give the child a mask exemption so the boy’s mother was left with little choice but to homeschool her son, Huang said.
“This is just child torture,” he said.
‘A Preemptive Visit’
Lisa Pelletier, whose 13-year-old son suffered from asthma when he was an infant, feared his condition might flare up again from wearing a mask at school. She had already dropped her Kaiser insurance for other reasons and decided take her son to see Dr. Huang.
“It was a preemptive visit to the doctor when the mask mandates came down and affected my son, because I did not want a mask to potentially exacerbate a pre-existing condition and then leave my son with a chronic condition for the rest of his life that he would have otherwise not had,” she said.
Huang examined her son and determined that wearing a mask would present more of a risk to her son than not wearing one, she said.
“My hope is that other physicians will be brave enough to embrace—or embrace again—the patient-physician relationship. It’s such a valuable foundation for our health and our trust in healthcare providers,” Pelletier said.
“It seems like with these big institutions of health that limit and dictate what doctors can and cannot do, we’ve lost the connection and the ability of a physician to treat a patient. It’s dangerous. It causes distrust and it’s a health risk,” she said.
Nate Lake told The Epoch Times his 6-year-old daughter was sent home from school three times last year because she got sick from wearing a mask. Not long after taking off the mask, she felt better each time.
Though he suspected his daughter might be faking her illness, Lake said the public health nurse at the school assured him his daughter was not feeling well and that she needed to go home.
But when a Kaiser doctor advised Lake to encourage his daughter to wear the mask at home to get more used to wearing it, Lake was flabbergasted.
“It was really shocking to hear that,” he said.
Lake reached out to another large health insurance carrier. But, when a doctor told him he was “not allowed” to issue a medical exemption because he would “get fired,” Lake began searching for an independent physician that wasn’t tied to a big health insurance provider.
And, after examining Lake’s daughter, Huang issued a mask exemption.
Lake was one of the parents who showed up to support him at the recent rally, but he suspects the authorities will force him out of business.
“They’re going to crucify Dr. Huang,” he said.
Lake accused the California Medical Board of using “Nazi” tactics to “get everybody scared” and turn neighbor against neighbor.
‘This is Not America Anymore’
Huang doesn’t see much of future for himself as a doctor in California, “in such a heavily left, union state.”
“It’s basically a free-for-all. You can report anything that you don’t like,” he said. “In California, people love their masks.”
Huang said his family fled communist China and is disheartened to see what is happening in America today.
“My grandparents fought the Japanese during World War II and the communist Chinese at the same time,” he said.
Huang said he is appalled that Americans are forced to beg for proper medical treatment and to fight for their health freedom and right to choose.
“This is not America anymore. What country are we in?” he asked. “The physicians just gave up on it. This is not right.”
He added: “If you don’t speak out, where do you think our country is going to be in five years?”