Physician’s Bill of Rights Slips into Coma in Baton Rouge, LA

Physician’s Bill of Rights Slips into Coma in Baton Rouge, LA

Louisiana Senate Bill 286, dubbed the Physician’s Bill of Rights, fell into a “coma” before the Louisiana Legislature on (Wednesday) May 2, 2018.

“Coma” is my word. The official status of this bill is that it has been “Involuntarily Deferred.” According to Louisiana House Rep. Katrina Jackson (D), District 16, this means that for all practical purposes, SB286 is “dead” for Louisiana Legislative session 2018. Jefferey Williams, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS) responded to HARBR’s inquiry. He stated:

“In Louisiana, when a bill is “involuntary deferred” it is dead for all practical purposes.  Typically, you do not see the House entertain motions to override/hear bills that were involuntarily deferred in a committee as they do not want to set any sort of precedent as there are hundreds of bills each year that meet this fate. Therefore, I believe the bill to be dead.” The LSMS was an strong advocate for the bill.

Yes, there is a method by which the “dead” bill can be reconsidered before the committee which let it die via “Involuntary Deferment,” but such resurrection is unlikely according to the Louisianan’s contacted by HARBR including Elizabeth Crisp who covered the story in The Advocate.

Why is HARBR choosing the word “coma?” “Coma” would imply the state or condition of something which may “appear dead” but is not actually dead. The Physician’s Bill of Rights was, and remains, a strong bill. In fact, written and sponsored by Louisiana State Sen. John Milkovich (D), District 38, the Physician’s Bill of Rights passed through the Senate Health and Welfare Committee without opposition and then passed unanimously on the full Louisiana Senate floor. A similar House Bill (HB778) passed unopposed in the same House Health and Welfare Committee which left SB286 to die on May 2. HB778, written and sponsored by Rep. Katrina Jackson (also a Physicians Bill of Rights advocate), went on to pass unanimously on the full Louisiana House floor.

Advocates of SB286 praised it on May 2 as an excellent piece of legislation. It was referred to it as “landmark” bill with implications for the due process reforms of healthcare licensing boards in every state in the nation.

Undoubtedly, Louisiana will see this bill presented again. If not in the short session of 2019, then in the regular session of 2020. According to the Louisiana State Constitution, even though a non-passed bill in any given session will be withdrawn from the files of the legislature, a formal “continuous body” related to a bill (or “legislative instrument”) may meet on a regular basis between sessions.

Another reason to use the word “coma” instead of the word “death” is that Louisiana could very easily be subject to suit. If not the state itself, then the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and other healthcare regulatory and licensing boards directly. This would be under the auspices of a precedent setting, and relatively recent, decision by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). In North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission, SCOTUS laid out conditions by which licensing and regulatory boards could and could not act as agents of their respective states. In order to be considered a “state agency,” boards now need to show that they have a voting minority of “market place participants” in the profession being regulated. The other means by which a state regulatory or licensing board may come into compliance with the SCOTUS decision, and now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mandate, is to have demonstrable and meaningful state oversight by an entity or entities which are not marketplace participants in the profession regulated by the board over which they are providing oversight.

The concern of SCOTUS and the FTC is that without meeting at least one of these two conditions, licensing and regulatory boards might act in their own interests rather than in the interest of the public. Too, SCOTUS and FTC, are concerned that beyond acting in the interest of their own professions over the interest of the public, boards may act in the interest of boards themselves over the fair and equal interest of given licensees or classes of licensees. This might be called “market capture via regulatory capture” and would be to the detriment of patients, the public, and licensees alike.

States whose regulatory boards do not comply with the conditions set forth in North Carolina Dental Board leave every member of every board including administrative staff and legal counsel vulnerable to suit in their professional capacities and as persons. Suits might be based in the violation of anti-trust laws, or on injury against persons (such as licensees) who were harmed without the benefit of due process of law.

Finally, we are choosing to use the word “coma” instead of the word “death” because healthcare licensees in every state across the nation, as well as their families, friends, and colleagues are being awakened to the injustices which have befallen physicians, and increasingly, other healthcare providers, since the passing of the short-sighted Healthcare Quality Improvement Act in 1986.

Louisiana is not alone by any stretch. It was foolish and immature for the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee to put SB286 to “rest” in the way they did. When the Physician’s Bill of Rights awakens from it’s “Involuntary Deferment” it may well be in a different state already positioned to make the rightful move. The first state will set the landmark precedent and if the precedent does not affect national policy, it will be followed by every state in the nation.

Preface to this story with additional links at HARBR News.

See Video of the May 2,2018 four hour Louisiana House & Welfare Committee Hearing which put The Physicians Bill of Rights to sleep. Start at 1 hour, 34 minutes (1:34).

BREAKING NEWS: Physician’s Bill of Rights Before the Louisiana Legislature: CALL TO ACTION!

By Christian Wolff | Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform (HARBR) I HARBR-USA.org I April 20, 2018

Louisiana State Senator John Milkovich has introduced Senate Bill 286 before the Louisiana legislature and according to The Advocate reporter Katie Gagliano, The bill, dubbed “The Physican’s Bill of Rights” sailed through the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on April 4, 2018. According to Elizabeth Crisp, also of the Advocate, a similar House Bill made it through the House Health and Welfare Committee “without objection.” The House Bill (HB 277) was introduced by Louisiana State Representative Katrina Jackson. HARBR researchers discovered the Louisiana news on April 10 and sounded the alarm to its affiliates. The affiliates in turn sounded the alarm to their affiliates and numerous communications were made directly to these legislators. The communications were made by HARBR members and affiliates from all across the country. Our interest is that what happens in Louisiana has much potential to forward our mission of full due process for physicians (and other healthcare providers) when they’ve been brought before their respective boards to answer to complaints. What happens in Louisiana could set a precedent for change in the other 49 states.

Call to action: As of April 19, 2018, The bills have gone before their legislative counterparts (The Senate Bill to the House, and the House Bill to the Senate). According to Elizabeth Crisp, HB 277 passed the full Louisiana House, 94-0 without discussion. Unfortunately, it would appear as if Rep. Jackson’s bill was “ammended” at some point and in HARBR’s reading, it appears as if her bill may have been “watered down. With this kind of positive reception, why would the bill need to be watered down? The reasonable answer is that there is a lot of powerful opposition. Organizationally, there is Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) which has issued a subtle intimation of their opposition to the Louisiana Bills. Given the power of the FSMB, HARBR opines, the intimation may be intended as intimidation. The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) opposes the bills, as do, likely, every Medical Board in the country. A very powerful group called “Public Citizen” opposes the bills, and perhaps, due a lack of understanding, many private citizens may be opposing the bills as reflected by a number of articles written for other publications.

In support of the bills are some powerful groups as well. One is the Louisiana State Medical Society. Another is the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons (AAPS). The Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform (HARBR) supports these bills.

In the end, it is likely that Governor John Bel Edwards will have to sign the bills in order for them to become law. At last report, Gov. Edwards had not been briefed on these bills. There is good reason to believe he will sign them, but we should not yet rest on the laurels of the Louisiana Legislature quite yet. The good news is that both bills received unanimous support from their respective full houses. This indicates that the nature of the bills are not encountering any partisan divides. In fact, the bills were introduced by Democrats to a legislature which has a Republican majority. Gov. Edwards is a Democrat who, prior to becoming governor, served two terms as the Minority (Democrat) Leader of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

News links:

Bill to shield physicians during investigations advances to Louisiana Senate floor, 

Legislature considers sweeping changes to investigations of doctor misconduct,

Another bill advances that would change investigations into doctor misconduct,

In Louisiana, legislature considers changes to protect doctors accused of misconduct, by Joanne Finnegan |

Referenced in FierceHealthcare’s article: AP investigation: Doctors keep licenses despite sex abuse, By JEFF HORWITZ and JULIET LINDERMAN | Apr. 15, 2018 AP News

Bill advances that could change how doctor misconduct is investigated in Louisiana,

Louisiana Needs to Rein in Unaccountable Medical Board, States the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), By Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, janeorientmd@gmail.com | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) | TUCSON, Ariz., April 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

Proposal to overhaul investigations of doctor misconduct up for hearing Wednesday

Proposals to alter doctor misconduct investigations still evolving, advancing

House panel rejects ‘Physicians Bill of Rights’ after concerns raised over impact on patients,

Does Your Medical Licensure Board Protect You? | Op/Ed | By Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, janeorientmd@gmail.com | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) | May 5, 2018

Contacts:

 

John Bel Edwards, Governor of Louisiana: Email contact form: http://gov.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/form/home/4, Phone: 225-342-7015 or Toll Free at 866-366-1121

Katrina R. Jackson, Louisiana State Representative: Email: jacksonk@legis.la.gov, Phone: (318)283-0884, Fax: (318)343-2879

John Milkovich, Louisiana State Senator: Email: milkovichj@legis.la.gov, District 38 Phone: (318) 676-7877, Fax: (318) 676-7879

Louisiana State Medical Society: Email contact form: http://lsms.org/page/SolutionCenter, or  publicaffairs@lsms.org, Phone: 800.375.9508 | 225.763.8500, Fax: 225.768.5601 Website: lsms.org

Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners: Executive Offices (Contact: Rita Arceneaux): rarceneaux@lsbme.la.gov, Phone: (504) 568-6816 ext. 242, Fax: (504) 568-5754, Website: http://www.lsbme.la.gov/

The Advocate (Baton Rouge) | Journalist, Elisabeth Crisp: ecrisp@theadvocate.com

HARBR Declares Another PHP Unaccredited: Acumen

HARBR Declares Another PHP Unaccredited: Acumen

November 16, 2017 Investigative Report by Christian Wolff |

In March and May, 2017, I wrote letters to the Center for Personalized Education for Physicians (CPEP). I declared them “unaccredited” on May 25, 2017 in an article I wrote for the HARBR website. See “HARBR Declares CPEP “Unaccredited”” at HARBR’s website. HARBR stands for Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform.

In May and June 2017, I wrote another Physician Health Program (PHP). It is the Acumen Institute located in Lawrence, Kansas. This time, I used my real name. The procedure was the same as with CPEP only my line of questioning was more extensive. After more than 3 weeks had passed without response, I wrote the Acumen Institute again. After 3 more weeks without response, I pronounced them “unaccredited” as well.

It is only now that I am publicly declaring them “unaccredited.” HARBR extends an open invitation for the Acumen Institute to publicly respond and to offer documentation of their accreditation.

Silence is capable of speaking volumes. It is reasonable to assume that the Acumen Institute did not respond because truthful responses to the questions asked would not shed them in a favorable light. We will assume the worst by default and expect the Acumen Institute to respond if they wish to redeem themselves as a legitimate Physician Health Program. HARBR also invites others to contact Acumen and to report the result of their contact or contact attempts here. Find the Acumen Institute website at http://www.acumeninstitute.org/.

Acumen did not offer an independent email address on their website. Only contact forms. The forms I filled out can be viewed here. The content of the emails I sent them is as follows:

May 13, 2017

To whom it may concern at Acumen Institute and Acumen Assessments:

I have a colleague who is being coerced into an assessment at your facility. He’s been order to be assessed in exchange for the possible retention of his healthcare license. I have a few questions for you if you would not mind answering them. I do want say, I am at first read, impressed by your website. As a web designer, I appreciate its good look. As a person with an interest in healthcare, I appreciate the fact that Acumen seems more transparent than other facilities who participate in coercive treatment.

1. Why do you have two separate facilities – Acumen Assessments and the Acumen Institute?

2. What are the tax classifications of each?

3. Do you accept medical insurance? Malpractice insurance? If not why not?

4. Do you have anything to demonstrate a history of the efficacy of your treatment set?

5. Do you use tests which have been tailored to healthcare professionals participating under regulatory board pressures? Do you have information on these tests suc as authors, author affiliation, and validity and reliability measures? Publication in major scientific journals along with independent peer review?

6. I see that your staff has a long and impressive list of “Presentations AND Publications.” By my count, there are 55 listed. Of those 55, I could only find one item which seemed to be an actual publication. Don’t you find that calling that list “Presentations AND Publications” a little misleading? Anyone not looking closely (especially with that section title) could easily assume half the items, more or less were publications. If you had divided this list into two sections for the sake of transparency, you would have had about 54 presentations under “Presentations,” and only 1 item under Publications. That publication seems to be a chapter in a handbook:

Stacy, S., Graham, P., Athey, G. (2008). The Use of the Rorschach in Professional Fitness to Practice Evaluations. In Gacono, C., Evans, B., & Kaser-Boyd, N. (Eds.), The Handbook of Forensic Rorschach Psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
When I read a citation, I sometimes look for page numbers in order to see how long a chapter or article is. You citation has no page numbers.

Published independently peer reviewed written material is more reputable and reliable than presentations to a limited, time specific audience. How do you explain yo blending of your 1 publication with 54 presentations?

7. Would you say it is fair to say that the vast majority of your presentations have been to Physician Health Programs (PHP), the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), and affiliates of these two?

8. As professional psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals, would you say you understand the importance of independent peer review? Ho would you explain it’s importance – or if you prefer, why do believe this is important? Test results? What is the importance of independence in the establishment of the results’ reliability?

9. Why don’t you have a regular email address? I like to keep a paper trail of all my correspondence. Although I personally can work with your format, may people – li those being coerced into treatment – could not. I’ve noticed that this lack of a simple published email address is a regular feature on websites for facilities which participate in coerced assessments and treatment.

10. Finally, for now: Why don’t you just publish the answers to most of the questions I’ve asked. I’m sure you are aware that your clientele tends to be both scared an skeptical. They are surely going to want to know as much as possible. It seems you should be able to anticipate their questions and it seems the respectful thing to to provide answers – published and verifiable in advance.

Thank you in advance for answering my questions. I know they seem kind of tough and you may have some apprehension about answering them, but it is important. I will look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
Christian Wolff
Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform (HARBR)

Then:

June 4, 2017

To whom it may concern at Acumen Institute and Acumen Assessments:

I wrote to you over 3 weeks ago, and so, far have not received a response from you of any kind what so ever. I am convinced you are agreeable to email communication since you have an email Contact Form. Perhaps you missed my email. That happens sometimes. I am still concerned that, for some reason, you don’t simply publish your email address so people may use their own email client. This would allow people to be sure that their email was received if, say, your Contact Form was not working. Did you receive my email of May 23? I have reproduced it below. Due to the delay in your response, my colleague is feeling pressure to make an uninformed decision about whether to comply with his board’s demands or not. He would like to be on solid ground in declining their demands if it turns out that yours is not a reputable facility. Without that information, he will likely comply by default. There is a lot that is on the line for him. I suppose, as experts in behavior generally, and experts in working with healthcare professionals being coerced into assessment and treatment, you know that licensees will comply by default if they are not on solid ground in declining to comply. Is that reasonable to believe – that you would know that?

I have a couple more questions:

1a. Do you require pre-payment for your assessments?

2a. Do you ever refund fees? If so under what conditions do you or do you not provide refunds?

3a. In cases in which it seems that an assessment was, in your opinion, unnecessary, unwarranted, or redundant, do you ever send the bill to the board who coerced licensee into assessment? If so are there any instances at all in which the board has ever paid?

Please get back with me a soon as possible. The matter is of great importance and time is getting VERY tight. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Christian Wolff
Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform (HARBR)

Why would the Acumen Institute not answer these questions?

 

Rhode Island Recognizes Excessive Fear of Medical Board: Plans Hearing

Rhode Island Recognizes Excessive Fear of Medical Board: Plans Hearing

11-10-17 | News | Christian Wolff | In an article first published on February 25, 2016 in The Kent County Daily News, reporter Jeremiah quotes Rhode Island Rep. Mike Chippendale:

“Generally, there is a natural and healthy element of tension between licensed professionals and the board overseeing them,” Chippendale said. “However, while the details of each of these experiences are unique, the one overriding common thread is an almost irrational fear of interacting with the Board on any level.”

“These are doctors, surgeons, nurse practitioners — professionals who’ve invested a minor fortune
and decades of their lives to become a doctor or other medical professional. It is extremely
concerning to me that the reputation maintained by this Board has fostered an unhealthy medical
community environment,” he continued.

“I’m hopeful that medical professionals who have interacted with the Medical Board of Licensure and Discipline will come and share their experiences with us personally. The conversations that I’ve had over the last several months are concerning and in order for this commission to complete its important work, this type of input from the medical community is critical,” he finished.

See full article here.

HARBR is inspired by the work going on in Rhode Island and hopes that similar progress can take place in Oregon’s Oregon Medical Board (OMB), Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners (OBPE), and Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists among others. HARBR hopes the other states will also follow the good work of Rhode Island’s Representative Mike Chippendale.

Photo attribution: By Bubbasax (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Medical School: Ethos Reform

Medical School: Ethos Reform

by Kali Miller, PhD | Sept.12, 2017 | Posted to HARBR Oct.12, 2017

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be doctors.

“75% of med students and new doctors are on antidepressants or stimulants (or both)”.  The title of Pamela Wible MD‘s article caught my eye. I knew that CNN had reported that 25% of medical students report depression and about 1 in 10 have suicidal thoughts. As a former psychologist who had clients who were physicians and friends who went to medical school, that number sounded low to me. Dr. Wible’s numbers sound much more accurate, perhaps due to enhanced anonymity for her participants. After all, what professional is going to risk their career and livelihood by reporting having “psychiatric problems”. This could not only negatively impact medical students during training, but would then have to be reported to their boards when licensed. It’s interesting as professionals how we are trained to be HIPPA compliant, protecting our clients and patients confidentiality vigorously, while at the same time accepting that our own medical and mental health information is not protected from our boards and even some insurance panels.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that medical students are one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to suffering from “poor sleep”. Those unfamiliar with medical school might think it is the rigorous studying and the stress of making life and death decisions that disrupts students sleep and I’m sure they’re not wrong. However, consider that in 2003 The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) developed regulations which restricted “continuous maximum extended duty to 30 hours.” Does your mind boggle? Well thank goodness their recommendation was reduced in 2011 to 16 hours for some (not all!) medical students. In “The Danger Medical Students face when they don’t get enough Sleep” Sierra Kennedy writes that doctors who work more than 16 consecutive hours have “36% more serious medical errors than those whose scheduled work is limited to 16 consecutive hours” and “make 5X as many serious diagnostic errors.” This is certainly good information but really, isn’t the real question how many hours can an individual in a complex high stress occupation work before their cognitive ability significantly declines at all? These numbers don’t tell us what the decline in functioning was prior to the 16 hours. Are you curious what the decline was after 8 hours, or 12 or 15? If I recall correctly, in graduate school we were told that high stress professions such as physicians, police officers etc had a significant decline in the ability to make good decisions, defuse high stress situations and regulate their own emotions after 4-6 hours. And never mind learning.

The lack of sleep and the elusive search to feel sharper, faster, smarter explains the stimulants. And the use of stimulants doesn’t just include stimulant medications, which are controlled substances. Smoking and excessive caffeine intake is also rampant in the medical community. Didn’t you ever wonder why physicians, who of all people should know better, don’t. In my clinical psychology graduate program we were told that we could not even make an accurate diagnosis until our clients were sleeping 8 hour per night on a steady schedule for a month. Prior to that, our goal was primarily to assist our client in creating a healthy sleep routine for their mental as well as physical health. The research was in, sleep deprivation can cause depression, anxiety, aggression and even psychosis. Meanwhile, medical students and many physicians may have gone far beyond the hopes of best practice and are simply trying not to kill anyone in their impaired state.

Since being made privy to these facts over 25 years ago, I became convinced that forcing medical students and physicians to work with lack of, or interrupted sleep is not only unethical but should be illegal.  I think of medical school as similar to joining a cult. You feel very honored to be asked to join. You quickly realize those in power control who and what you are exposed to but believe that the reward will be well worth it. You have little or no time for extraneous relationships, including family. To succeed you must strictly adhere to prescribed reading and activities. You are often limited in when and what you can eat and told when and sometimes where you can sleep. As exhaustion mounts you are particularly susceptible to suggestion. You are told your entire future rests on your actions, your absolute perfection, but are set up again and again for failure. Sometimes your failure has lethal heart wrenching results and but you can’t talk about it. In fact, there are a lot of dirty little secrets you aren’t supposed to talk about. When the inevitable error happens you are either shamed and chastised, even cast out, or a superior covers for you. This leaves you feeling pitifully grateful, yet knowing your mutual silence is another cost of being in the cult, or profession, as the case may be.

Medical school graduates hope that once they’re licensed the depression, the medications, the cigarettes and alcohol won’t be needed any more, the memory of mistakes will be blunted by time, and somehow everything is going to be Okay. You have only to look at the low career satisfaction ranking of physicians or the Mayo Clinic study that confirms physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession to see that all to often, this simply isn’t the case.

It is refreshing to see professionals like Pamela Wible speaking out. If nothing else students can make an informed choice regarding whether they want to pursue a career in medicine. Facts in hand and caught in the spotlight, teaching facilities have an opportunity to make wiser choices about how young physicians are trained. Physicians themselves can begin to speak up about what they have endured and rather then argue that they made it through or “It’s always been done this way” they can speak up for their own, the future of medicine in this country.

Our current model of training physicians serves neither the provider nor the client and it doesn’t take a psychologist to figure that out.

Kali Miller, Ph.D.

Read the article which inspired this one:

75% of med students are on antidepressants or stimulants (or both) by Pamela Wible, MD

 

Recognizing Rosenblum, Oregon’s Attorney General

Recognizing Rosenblum, Oregon’s Attorney General

August 26, 2017 – HARBR is a nonpartisan organization. As an organization, HARBR endorses no official categorical opinion regarding Oregon’s Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum. HARBR does, however, have some specific concerns about her behavior as it affects the lives and professions of licensed healthcare professionals in Oregon. Ms. Rosenblum is the head of Oregon’s Department of Justice (DOJ). In this position, she is the supervisor of the DOJ Assistant Attorney Generals who prosecute Oregon licensed healthcare professionals when there are allegations of misconduct by regulatory boards. She also oversees the DOJ Assistant Attorney Generals who defend healthcare regulatory boards when licensees appeal board final orders to the Oregon Court of Appeals.

In a August 24, 2017 article published by Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Chris Lehman Ms. Rosenbaum shows herself in a manner HARBR believes will be recognizable to those who have been abused by their Oregon healthcare regulatory boards and the DOJ attorneys who represent them. The article relates to the firing and re-hiring of James R. Williams, an investigator for the Oregon DOJ.

Williams sued the Oregon DOJ and the matter was settled in arbitration. Sherwood attorney David Blair presided over the arbitration.

See article: http://www.opb.org/news/article/oregon-fired-doj-investigator-gets-job-back/

Take away quotes include:

Blair: “[The Oregon DOJ] “exacted the harshest penalty possible against a seven-year veteran of the department with a spotless record [.]”

Blair: “[T]his discipline appears to have been both inappropriate, unnecessary and clearly excessive.”

According to the OBP article: Blair writes that the agency could instead have offered additional training to Williams and other employees to help them better understand the agency’s expectations. Blair also ordered the agency to scrub any reference to the matter from Williams’ personnel file.

Rosenblum: “I am disappointed in the arbitrator’s decision and continue to feel strongly that I made the right decision to terminate Mr. Williams’ employment as a criminal investigator at the Oregon Department of Justice.”

According to OPB’s Chris Lehman’s article: Johnson’s attorney, Beth Creighton, said the arbitrator’s ruling “establishes what we knew all along.”

Creighton: “This was not an isolated investigator going rogue, but a concerted effort by DOJ management to target Erious Johnson and cover it up.”

In addition to rehiring Williams, Blair ordered he be given nearly a year’s worth of back pay.

HARBR recommends the reader web-search the matter for more on the backstory. Suggested searches include:

Erious Johnson Oregon DOJ

James R. Williams Oregon DOJ

Williams claims that he had been following orders related to the allegations that he had profiled Erious Johnson. Williams also claims he was a victim of retaliation for whistle-blowing. Erious Johnson is the Director of Civil Rights with the DOJ, one of the few African-American members of Oregon’s DOJ, and the alleged victim of William’s profiling.

According to the OBP article, Rosenblum reports that both Johnson and Williams have further suits pending against the DOJ.

HARBR does not know whether contentions remain between Johnson and Williams. If contentions between these two persons remain, HARBR, at this point, does not have enough information to evaluate merits or to issue opinions.

Creighton: “For the record, Mr. Johnson was never asked if he wanted Williams terminated and in fact did not want to see him terminated.”


Photo Credit: Photo of Ellen Rosenblum provided by Wikimedia Commons

Page URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AOregon_Attorney_General_Ellen_Rosenblum_addresses_attendees_at_the_conference_(15478927731).jpg, File URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Oregon_Attorney_General_Ellen_Rosenblum_addresses_attendees_at_the_conference_%2815478927731%29.jpg, Attribution: By Oregon Department of Transportation (Ellen Rosenblum) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

HARBR Declares CPEP “Unaccredited”

HARBR Declares CPEP “Unaccredited”

May 25, 2017 Investigative Report by Christian Wolff

CPEP stands for “Center for Personalized Education for Physicians.” CPEP is a “Corrective Action” program which healthcare licensees are often forced to go to as a condition of “possibly” saving their licenses once their boards have asserted allegations against them. There is a CPEP in Denver, Colorado and one in Raleigh, N.C.

Today, HARBR pronounces CPEP to be unaccredited and unprofessional.  Let’s start out with the facts. CPEP has a webpage. They make no claims to being accredited. They have no posted email address. On March 27, 2017, I wrote them on their email contact form under the name of David Setson. I asked them whether they were accredited and if so, by whom. Five weeks later, I had received no response. On May 1, 2017 I wrote them again, letting them know what I would assume and publish if I did not hear from them regarding their accreditation. As of today (28 days later), I have received no response from them. Those are facts. For this and other reasons, I declare them to be unaccredited and unprofessional. The website for the Center for Personalized Education for Physicians (CPEP) can be found at http://www.cpepdoc.org/. If you care to contact them, you can do so using their contact form. If you would like to report your experience to HARBR, to can write and send your experience to info@harbr-usa.org.

Since snail mail, telephone, and CPEP’s own contact form is the only way to contact them, they have made it difficult for people to document their experiences. One method is to use their contact form, expand the “Message” box by pulling down on it’s lower right corner, and making sure your entire message is visible (all at one time). Then take a full page screen shot. Most computers have ways this can easily be done. If you do not know how, it may be worth learning because HARBR will be following up with similar investigations of similar programs, and you may wish to participate.

HARBR does wish to say that we are not out to malign all “corrective” programs. We do wish, however that programs such as CPEP would present honestly, well, and transparently. HARBR will continue to have objections to the methods many healthcare boards employ in their approaches to coerced assessments and treament, but we will be happy to publish or findings if and when we find programs like CPEP who are legitimate or open to reform.

For more on healthcare licensing boards use of coerced assessment & treatment and their connection to sham assessment and treatment facilities, visit this HARBR website regularly.

Next story in this series: Acumen Institute and Acumen Assessments located in Lawrence, Kansas.

If you would like to see the actual content of Christian “David Setson” Wolff’s communications with CPEP or if you would like a copy of this story which may be suitable for your attorney’s use, you may view or download this PDF:

HARBR CPEP DECLARATION May 25 2017

 

Oregon Senator alleges “Bureaucratic Malpractice”

Oregon Senator alleges “Bureaucratic Malpractice”

May 12, 2017 – In a statement released today, Oregon Senator Brian Boquist (R – Dallas) condemns the the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for poor policies regarding mental health treatment for veterans in Oregon. He states, “The Oregon Health Authority is holding hostage our veterans and their families, and OHA’s is requesting ransom payment from providers. OHA’s Certificate of Need process is a form of bureaucratic malpractice.”

The Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform (HARBR) applauds Sen. Boquist for his use of the term “bureaucratic malpractice” and for identifying it in Oregon government. HARBR intends to add the term “bureaucratic malpractice” to its glossary as it addresses the problems related to the regulation of professional healthcare practice in Oregon and elsewhere.

See the full press release at: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/senaterepublicans/Documents/Boquist%20OHA.pdf

Photo: From Press Release

Friends Outside of Oregon: Dr. Michael Langan & PHP’s

Friends Outside of Oregon: Dr. Michael Langan & PHP’s

August 24, 2017 – Injustice in the healthcare regulation is occurring across the nation and across the world. Although HARBR-proper is largely centered in Oregon, USA at present, we have friends and affiliates in other places. Thus, our web address, harbr-usa.org. In this report we’d like to introduce one of our dynamos from Boston. Michael Langan, MD is the owner and operator of a website called “Disrupted Physician.” Michael is extremely knowledgeable about the injustices physicians can face. Concerned about the effects of a medication he was using, Dr. Langan sought assistance from a Physician’s Health Program (PHP) believing he’d receive professional medical assistance. Once signed up however, Dr. Langan found himself moving down a path of, what we believe he may agree to call, dystopic enlightenment. Though Dr. Langan entered the treatment program voluntarily and in good faith, various other “authorities” soon took control of Dr. Langan’s fate and gained Dr. Langan’s “compliance” by threatening to take action against his license to practice medicine.

By all rights, Dr. Langan should be presently practicing his profession at Massachusetts General, be in good standing with his licensing board and teaching at the Harvard School of Medicine. Instead, he is fighting seemingly impossible protracted battles with the Massachusetts Medical Board, with the PHP, and with the legal system itself.

A Physician Health Program (PHP) is a generic term for many of the medical, mental health, and substance abuse programs across the country which are specifically geared toward the treatment of physicians. As evidenced by commentary on MedScape articles and elsewhere, many believe that PHP’s may have started out as legitimate treatment programs with faithful missions to help physicians in need of treatment. As these programs developed, they increasingly came to resemble diversion programs for physicians who had come to the attention of their licensing boards. By successfully completing treatment, physicians could avert action being taken against their licenses. Unfortunately, these programs have continued to “evolve.” To find out more, follow some of the links below.

Dr. Langan is a prolific researcher and writer on these topics. He has drawn attention to the problems surrounding PHP detention through his website, numerous articles published by him and about him in MedScape, and through his communications with other healthcare professionals experiencing similar abuses by healthcare authorities. According to a recent report by Dr. Langan, five physicians and other healthcare professionals are contacting him per week about similar abuses they are experiencing.

We consider Dr. Michael Langan’s work to be recommended reading.

You may find Dr. Langan’s website at https://disruptedphysician.com/

Medscape articles about Dr. Langan:

Physician Health Programs: More Harm Than Good?: State-Based Programs Under Fire by Pauline Anderson

Embattled Doc Suffers Another Setback in PHS Fight by Pauline Anderson

Note: For Medscape articles, one may need to go first to Medscape, and then search “Michael Langan” or otherwise go to these articles. It is also possible you may need to sign up. Sign-up is free and non-intrusive. You may also use a pseudonym to sign-up if you are concerned about board reprisal.

One of the advantages of signing up is that you may comment on Medscape articles, read comments and engage in discussion with others on these topics or others. Some have found the comment sections as valuable as the articles themselves.

Medscape Article by Dr. Langan:

Why Doctors Need to Be Gutsy by Michael Langan

We will be placing a permanent link to Dr. Langan’s “Disrupted Physician” on this website as well as links to these and other useful articles.

On the world scene: We have an Oregon physician we’ll be introducing who is doing some work on related matters with medical professionals in South Africa (in addition to her local work). She’s also making a feature film – a documentary – which will come out soon called “Do No Harm.” Why would injustices in South African medical settings matter to healthcare professionals in the United States? You’d be surprised. Such injustices are becoming a world-wide phenomenon and this provides us with an opportunity  to create a world-wide united front for regulatory reform in healthcare.

We will also be introducing supportive material recently published in the BMJ (formerly, the British Medical Journal).

HARBR’s Christian Wolff Wins His Attorney Fees

HARBR’s Christian Wolff Wins His Attorney Fees

August 15, 2017 – On August 9, 2017, Christian Wolff won his attorney fees and costs by declaration of the Oregon Court of Appeals (OCA). Wolff Wins Attorney Fees Against Psychology Board  He won his case against the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners (OBPE) by declaration of the OCA on April 19, 2017.

Some of the documents regarding Mr. Wolff’s case can be found on the OBPE website. The reader is cautioned to consider the may encounter OBPE bias here as well as selective publication. http://obpe.alcsoftware.com/files/wolff.christian_1563.pdf

The victory is both large and small. It is large because of the rarity of such awards that the victory is important. HARBR is making plans to address the injustices surrounding the denial of attorney fees to licensees who prevail against healthcare licensing boards. As it is, the appellate courts seem ignorant of that which actually happens when a healthcare licensing board puts licensees through disciplinary processes.

To paraphrase the statutes, courts rarely award attorney fees to licensees who prevail against boards because they do not want boards to be “timorous” in pursuing licensees who may represent a true risk of danger to the public.

Coupled with this, current Oregon statutes and rules allow many healthcare regulatory boards to automatically assess (charge) the cost of all proceedings against a licensee to the licensee regardless of outcome. These dozen or so Oregon healthcare regulatory boards are not even required to petition (ask) the court to be awarded their attorney fees and costs.

In the 2017 Legislative session, the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners presented a bill to the legislature which would allow them to join the ranks of the other healthcare regulatory boards in their ability to do this. Thanks to the testimonies of the Oregon Psychological Association (OPA), The Oregon State Bar – Administrative Law Division, and members of HARBR, this bill was roundly defeated and died in committee.

Christian Wolff won his attorney fees in part by arguing that the automatic assessment of fees to the licensees would cause licensees to be “timorous” in challenging wrongful actions taken against them by regulatory boards. Wolff’s argument was not unlike the argument presented to the legislature by Carson Bowler of the Oregon State Bar (OSB). OSB Carson Bowler Testimony HB 2329

Mr. Wolff’s victory is small in that his attorney fees and costs were likely less than 1% of what the OBPE’s attack upon him cost him. Despite the common belief that regulatory boards cannot be sued in civil court for damages HARBR is researching this and finding that this common belief may be false.

One of the losses incurred by Mr. Wolff is an entire year of work due to OBPE’s suspension of his license – suspension which was fully served during the process of appeals in which Mr. Wolff prevailed.

The Seminal Bice Case and the Start of HARBR

The Seminal Bice Case and the Start of HARBR

August 15, 2017 – On October 19, 2016, a member of a group soon to become HARBR, discovered the Opinion of the Oregon Court of Appeals (OCA) in relation to David T. Bice v. the [Oregon] Board of Psychologist Examiners. The Opinion (verdict) had just been released that day. A group of physicians, psychologists, counselors and legally practicing unlicensed healthcare professionals, already associated with one another, assembled to take action.

Some of the relevant documents related to Dr. Bice can be found on the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiner’s (OBPE). We caution the reader to understand that they may encounter OBPE bias and selective publishing. http://obpe.alcsoftware.com/files/bice.david%20t._57.pdf

What stood out about the OCA Opinion in this matter is that, in our opinion, it so clearly attested to numerous instances of malfeasance on the part of the various parties who had taken disciplinary action against Dr. Bice. The affirmations against healthcare wrong-doings had rarely been this clear or from such an authoritative source. The allegations made against Dr. Bice by the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners (OBPE) were reversed and remanded by the OCA. The reversal means Dr. Bice won. The remand, unfortunately a standard procedure in these matters , means the case was sent back to OBPE to redecide the matter, but to do it right this time.

On November 29, 2016, twelve members of the group now known as HARBR wrote and signed a “letter of concern and request for investigation” which was sent out far and wide to government officials and other authorities. The letter was sent to the Oregon U.S. Attorney, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), All Oregon Representatives, All Oregon Senators, the Oregon Governor, the Oregon Secretary of State, the Oregon Attorney General, the Oregon State Bar, and a general press release. Og these, the only one to respond was the Oregon State Bar (OSB).

OSB regarded our letter of concern and request for investigation as a “complaint” and notified the persons named of the complaint along with codified violations they may have violated in the Bice matter. the notice was delivered to the persons of concern on  December 7, 2016, and they were asked to answer to the “allegations.” The named persons included Karen Berry (OBPE investigator), Warren Foote (OBPE legal counsel), Carolyn Alexander (Department of Justice legal representative for OBPE in the appellate hearing), and Department of Justice (DOJ) supervisors, Anna Joyce (Oregon Solicitor General) and Ellen Rosenblum (Oregon Attorney General). On December 15, 2016, the named persons lawyered up and chose a single DOJ Senior Assistant Attorney General to represent them together as a group. They chose SAAG Stephanie Thompson.

During this time, various healthcare professionals in Oregon and in other states, already associated for several years officially formed HARBR. HARBR is the Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform.

In forthcoming articles, we will write more about the Bice matter, where it stands today, and what it means for patients, clients, healthcare professionals and healthcare regulatory board reform, and we will write about the status of our complaint with the OSB against the above named persons.