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