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Friday, May 23, 2008

The Texas Medical Board Vs. Doctors...More Corruption in Texas III

If this is your first taste of this series then I suggest reading part one and part two.

At this point, I want to take stock of what Dr. Kuhne and Dr. Rea's battle against the Texas Medical Board means in the larger context of what I have found and what it means in the health care debate.

On the television show the Shield about a corrupt cop named Vic Mackey, there was one episode that was a sort of pre qual. This episode was done prior to anything else that had happened in the show. By this point we had seen Mackey involved in all sorts of obscene corruption. (I won't give examples so that those that haven't seen the show aren't spoiled) This episode focused on Mackey's first day in his new role on the Strike Force.

In that episode, he and his team cut a small corner in order to make an arrest that higher ups were putting pressure on them on. At the end of the episode Mackey remarked to a fellow strike team member that doing it this way was a lot easier.

The point of the episode was not only to show that corruption starts small, but also to show that it is easier to be corrupt.

Both of those I believe are lessons of this tale. In 2002, the Dallas Morning News ran a series of stories condemning the Texas Medical Board for not being aggressive enough in prosecuting bad doctors. As a result of this story, the TMB was given license to act aggressively. They did, only as it turns out, they acted in a corrupt and aggressive manner.

In some perverted ways, the pressure to deliver more convictions naturally lead to more corruption. That's because it is much easier to trump up charges than to investigate legitimate claims. Legitimate claims take up significant resources, time, and financial resources that the TMB may not have or want to extend.

What has happened as a result is that thousands of doctors have been targeted on frivilous or even made up matters. I have shown three, Dr. Rea, Dr. Kuhne and Dr. Shirley Pigott. Yet, these three are merely an opening to a pandora's box that would lead to thousands of doctors who's professional careers have been systematiclly torn apart by corrupt governing bodies with nefarious agendas.

In fact, I am in the finishing stages of a story that will blow the lid on the Texas State Nursing board and show it is no less corrupt than the TMB.

So, how does all of this come about? Well, first, the TMB and the nursing board report up to the highest executive in the state of Texas, Rick Perry. If both these boards are systematically corrupt, then ultimately responsibility lies with him. Most of the corrupt players like Dr. Keith Miller, Dr. Roberta Kalafut were either chosen directly by Perry himself or spent years corrupting the board while he was governor. His lack of action in confronting their corruption ultimately means that he must be held to account for the thousands of lives ruined by this corrupt board.

Now, those reading this are likely to look at these cases in the abstract. Imagine yourself in the position of one of these doctors that was the victim of sham peer review in which charges were trumped, prosecuted, and judged by the exact same corrupt force. Dr. Kuhne has had to spend six figures to defend himself. His case is still not resolved to this day and it all started in 2004. Dr. Pigott was threatened with the removal of her license and with it her career on charges so absurd that they are the medical equivalent of J walking. Of course, their stories have finally been told. What about all those doctors that suffered in silence?

Of course, Texas is not the only state in which I have discovered systemic corruption. I found myself involved in all of these stories after working on uncovering the systematic corruption at Grady Hospital, one of the three largest hospitals in the country. Grady has been pilfered and corrupted for decades, and that corruption continues to this day. In that situation, most of the corruptors continue to be gainfully associated or employed by Grady to this day.

In South Carolina, Dr. Blake Moore exposed one of his nurses as a serial killer. Rather than prosecuting the nurse, Dr. Moore is in the fourth year of legislative battle with the State of South Carolina. In fact, for the last two plus years, the opposition to his case has been handled directly by the Attorney General, Henry McMasters, himself.

I am in the process of uncovering the systematic cover up of child abuse by the Connecticut Medical Board. I am certainly not suggesting that every medical board in the country is corrupt, but how many is too much? Why is the public perfectly comfortable with the Texas Medical Board being systematically corrupt?

This brings me to the next problem. That is the media. The media was all over the story when they discovered that the TMB wasn't prosecuting cases aggressively enough. When that lead directly to abuse the media was nowhere to be found. All of the doctors I spoke to in Texas told me that I had given them more time than any of the traditional media in their state. Isn't the systemic abuse of doctors a story worth printing? How can the corruption be cleaned up if no one even knows it exists?

In Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal Constitution isn't merely asleep at the wheel in reporting the systemic corruption going on at Grady Hospital, but they are likely active participants in its cover up. If the media refuses to expose corruption, then the corruptors have free reign to act as they will.

All of this is NOT just abstract. I have already shown that Blue Cross/Blue Shield has likely systematically corrupted the system to target those doctors that it feels cost them too much money. The stories I have uncovered lead me only to conclude that at least the states of Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina have their entire health care system systematically corrupted. Does anyone really think that the corruption is limited to these three states only. Is it really any wonder that health care costs are skyrocketing? Does anyone really think that we can continue to sit by while the system is corrupted from top to bottom and expect to "fix health care". Maybe, just maybe, it is the systemic corruption that is in and of itself ailing health care.

While the politicians are debating universal health care, health savings accounts, and tax breaks, no one is talking about the systemic corruption that is eating away at the system. Dr. Kuhne told me that he firmly believes that the aggressive TMB action has caused doctors in Texas to practice medicine much more defensively and be careful of their every little movement or wind up facing the wrath of frivilous TMB charges.

Furthermore, the tragic irony is that the TMB is ultimately a fairly unnecessary entity even if it doing its job properly. The medical system provides several layers of protection to patients against bad doctors. The market is the first layer. Bad doctors simply lose patients. The second is the plethora of rules and regulations that doctors always have to follow. The third is that all insurance companies have their own investigative bodies and patients that were wronged can always report their cases to them. Despite its questionable usefulness, the board has not only been corrupted but systemically corrupted.

Furthermore, sham peer review is not even a criminal offense. Sham peer reviews can only be pursued civilly. Furthermore, members of the TMB, and other government organs, enjoy total immunity from any prosecution anyway. Thus, this creates a great deal of power centered in the hands of groups like the TMB, and at the same time, the media refuses to act as a watchdog to make sure that power is used properly.

Thus, I can only lead to conclude that the health care crisis will not be resolved in any meaningful way by either political party until stories like the ones I am bringing to light are exposed to the mainstream, and the systemic corruption they expose is dealt with and eliminated. Until then, any rhetoric on fixing the so called health care crisis is nothing more than cheap rhetoric perpetrated by folks that have no idea what the inherent problem is.


Anonymous said...

Please add the FL medical board to your list. When I applied for a medical license several years ago, a woman contacted me presenting herself as someone who would manage my application in the licensure process. At the end of the conversation, she gave me the address where I would send a check for $1000. I told her that I had already sent the $1200 application fee. She clarified my confusion. She didn't presently work for the medical board, she was a private contractor who would, for a fee of one thousand dollars, ferry my application through the difficult maze that is the application process using her contacts that she cultivated as a former member of the medical board. I was, of course, furious. How did she know I applied for a FL medical license. Where did she get my number. She wouldn't answer these questions, but assured me that her services were important for a timely issuance of my license. I did not accept her services, and of course never received a license. The $1200 application fee was kept by the board, and I had no license. They lost my finger prints twice, and this was the reason for the delay. Since then, I have spoken to several colleagues who have FL medical licenses, and, coincidentally paid the $1000 consultation fee. I also had a friend who spoke over the telephone with a female license representative. He received the licence in 4 months, and several bills from her which he never paid. I should have been as clever!

Anonymous said...

Texas, Ohio and Florida have ROTTEN people working on their Medical Boards and are filled with corruption, beaucrazy and idiots! Where there is no true jury, no judge, and no official oversight, there will NEVER be any justice for US doctors. Sounds like NAzi Germany a little.
The system must be changed!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is still going on today and with Melissa Dawn Tonn look into her she is part of the corrupted medical system here in Texas. Warn your family and friends. Have no dealings with her or the company she is president of.