Advertisements

Judge finds prosecutor misconduct in handling of Amherst drug lab cases–Boston Globe

Related:  https://disruptedphysician.com/2016/05/12/eight-miles-high-at-the-massachusetts-crime-lab/

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 7.49.30 PM.png

Sonja Farak, a forensic chemist in the State Crime Lab in Amherst who stole from narcotics samples to feed her addiction, stood during her arraignment in 2013.

A Springfield judge has vacated several drug cases connected to a former state chemist after finding that two former state prosecutors committed misconduct.

In a lengthy ruling, Judge Richard J. Carey of Hampden County Superior Court concluded that the two prosecutors “tampered with the fair administration of justice” by deliberately concealing documents and making misrepresentations to a judge. Carey found their conduct “constitutes a fraud upon the court.”

Carey dismissed the convictions of seven defendants and allowed another to withdraw his guilty plea.

The dismissals stem from evidence tested by Sonja Farak, a former state chemist at the Amherst drug laboratory who was arrested in early 2013 after a colleague noticed samples were missing. She pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing from narcotics evidence and was sentenced to eighteen months in jail.

At the time of her arrest, State Police seized drugs and paraphernalia from Farak’s car, as well as work sheets she completed as part of substance abuse therapy. The work sheets showed that her tampering with evidence began earlier than was revealed at trial or in subsequent proceedings.

Judge Carey determined that two former assistant attorneys general — Anne Kaczmarek and Kris Foster — compounded the damage done by Farak, and that their actions were “in many ways more damning.” The prosecutors took steps to conceal these work sheets from the court and local prosecutors, as well as from defendants challenging Farak’s analysis in their cases, he found.

Kaczmarek left the attorney general’s office in 2014 and is now an assistant clerk magistrate in Suffolk County.

“I am proud of my 16 years of working for the people of Massachusetts. I disagree with the Court’s decision and the characterization of my conduct in this case,” said Kaczmarek.

Foster is now general counsel at the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. She did not respond to a request for comment.

“The nature and scope of governmental misconduct by Kaczmarek and Foster in withholding evidence was severe,” Carey wrote. “It continued for a prolonged period, in violation of many drug lab defendants’ constitutional rights.”

Kaczmarek, who led Farak’s prosecution and also prosecuted former state chemist Annie Dookhan, cited these work sheets in memos to her supervisors. She also provided copies to Farak’s defense attorney, but not to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office, which was responsible for passing along pertinent evidence to defendants.

In response to motions from defense attorneys, Foster told a judge that all relevant materials had already been turned over, characterizing such motions as a “fishing expedition.” Foster later testified that she never actually reviewed the evidence files to determine what had not been turned over, and that she intentionally wrote a “vague” letter to the judge to avoid representing that she had.

Carey found that the two prosecutors “managed to withhold the mental health worksheets through deception.” He rejected Kaczmarek’s explanation that she forgot about the work sheets, and deemed Foster’s actions “inexcusable.”

In March, the state attorney general’s office acknowledged that both prosecutors made mistakes, but argued that they were not severe enough to warrant throwing out convictions. But Carey determined that the circumstances demanded that the cases be dismissed in order to deter misconduct by prosecutors in the future.

“The ramifications from their misconduct are nothing short of systemic,” Carey wrote. “Had the AGO made timely disclosures of the mental health worksheets, many of the defendants before me now . . . would not have spent as much time incarcerated.”

Attorneys for the defendants welcomed the ruling.

“In not turning over this vital evidence, the attorney general ensured that a scandal would devolve into a travesty of justice,” said Springfield-based lawyer Jared Olanoff.

“Judge Carey did brilliant, fearless work concerning the misconduct committed by the prosecutors who intentionally withheld exculpatory evidence,” said attorney James McKenna.

The attorney general’s office is reviewing the decision, according to spokeswoman Emalie Gainey.

Shawn Musgrave can be reached at shawnmusgrave@gmail.com. Reporting for this story was supported by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Advertisements

May 2, 2017 Oral Argument Before Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 12.17.35 AM

Zena Crenshaw-Logal

Executive Director at National Judicial Conduct and Disability Law Project, Inc.

Want to know how it all got started? Michael Langan, M.D., host of our internet radio broadcast, “Protecting Doctors, the Rx for Healthy Patients” and author of the blog “Disrupted Physician”, recently had a few moments to share that story before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Listen carefully to Dr. Langan’s presentation and the response by counsel for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine.

Then decide if you’ve heard an account of bureaucratic terrorism.

Is this not the Board’s message? Question us and we’ll destroy you in a tangle of red tape, vague aspersions, loop holes, and delays.

And will a man and his family be a cost that the Court considers worth paying to vindicate the seemingly unadulterated power of a state agency — all purportedly in the name of medical patient safety?

https://lnkd.in/e9R67W

VIEW THE ORAL ARGUMENTS @ https://lnkd.in/e9R67WU

Documentation of Collusion Between state Physician Health Program and Drug-Testing Lab provided to Board Counsel Deb Stoller and Tracy Ottina  December 15, 2011 

(Bertram claims this was carefully considered at a December 21, 2011 Board Hearing but it is date-stamped one month after the hearing).  The document is notable for several reasons:

1. It shows clear evidence of collusion between the state physician health program (PHP) and its drug testing lab to commit forensic fraud (the detail is way beyond any of the documentary evidence found in the Dookhan case).  It includes a faxed request from the PHP to the lab requesting the donor ID # on an already positive drug test be changed and the chain-of-custody be “updated.”

2.  The documents show top-down corruption as the collusion is between the medical director of the state PHP (Physician Health Services, inc), Dr. Luis Sanchez (who is also past president of their national organization the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP)  which is based in Massachusetts and the Vice President of laboratory operations at United States Drug Testing Labs (USDTL), Joseph Jones.

3.  The documentation of fraud was provided to Board of Registration in Medicine “board” counsel Deb Stoller and Tracy Ottina on December 15, 2011 but never acknowledged or addressed by the board.  Since 2011 scores of suicides have been attributed to allegedly falsified tests (these same tests from the same lab and ordered by state PHPs throughout the country–in the past few months I know three doctors who have killed themselves as a result of the same chains-of-causation (starting with these falsified tests).  Board counsel Stoller was involved in blocking due process and fundamental fairness in the  case of one doctor who killed himself here in Massachusetts who was a friend of mine.  She and Ottina and the Physician Health and Compliance Unit have evidently been  concealing evidence provided by doctors that is both exculpating for them and implicates the PHP in misconduct for years.   It appears that is their function as these “liaisons” to medical boards were put in place at the request of PHPS and apparently operate in the same manner as the “PHP-approved” assessment and treatment centers (who engage in “diagnosis rigging” to charge for assessments ($4-8K) and (inevitable) “treatment” (overwhelming majority of cases unneeded) to the tune of $80-120K) followed by 5-year contracts for drug and alcohol testing using expensive non-FDA approved and non-regulated laboratory developed tests (LDTs) 1-3 week for up to $600.00 per week.  All of this is cash only out-of-pocket no insurance accepted (if it were the racket would be dismantled within a month).    These document contain direct evidence of crimes (including felonies)-no other evidence is needed.

Stoller and Ottina were provided evidence forensic fraud in December of 2011, concealed it and the consequences have been much more far-reaching and grave than Annie Dookhan—-the number of families, careers and lives that have been destroyed since December 2011 is inestimable!   Dozens if not hundreds of suicides have occurred since that time, the loss of countless careers and the snuffing out of careers as they are just beginning (they are now targeting medical students–more sheep for the slaughter). This racket is starting to be exposed in the medical community and the chatter is increasingly increasing–it will make the mainstream media shortly and this grand-scale corruption will be clear.

So what is Massachusetts going to say when it is realized two state attorneys and an assistant AGO knew about it all along and did nothing for years?  There is no plausible deniability here and the willful blindness and veil of constructed ignorance are tread shallow water.   Forensic Fraud and Perjury are not that complicated and obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense.   AAG Bertram claims no crimes have occurred because no one has been charged with any.  Brilliant!  I didn’t go to law school but I always thought that a crime was determined by the actions (or inactions) of someone as applied to written laws.

Please take a look at the documents.    The  big story  will come out sooner or later.  You should be a part of the solution and on the right side of history when this whole shit-house goes up in flames!

MOTIONS FILED PRIOR TO ORAL ARGUMENTS

1,  Motion to Take Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts

2.  Motion to TakeJudicial Notice of Law (Establishment Clause of the First Amendment)

3..Motion to Take Judicial Notice of Adjudicative Facts Pertaining to Violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment

MOTIONS FILED AFTER ORAL ARGUMENTS

4. Petition for Judicial Notice

Source: Medical Students at Risk as Fraudulent Physician Health Programs (PHPs) Cast a Wider Net–Need to Address This Problem at State Level

cropped-screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-9-32-40-pm1

Please donate to this effort below.  Your contribution can and will make a difference.  https://www.gofundme.com/PHPReform

How Public Records Law can force transparency and hopefully bring accountability. Root out the rats!

Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 5.18.48 PM

This Sunday marks the beginning of  Sunshine Week, a national celebration started in  Florida 15  years ago to promote open government. Transparency is about shedding light.  Transparency brings accountability, and, often, meaningful reform.

On June 3, 2016 Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the first update to Massachusetts public records law since 1973.  House Bill 4333  imposes shorter time frames for agencies to respond to records requests.  Most agencies need to respond within 10-days but can be granted a 20-day extension provided they show good cause for it.  Those who believe a state agency  has violated its legal obligations can petition the Supervisor of Records and agencies are also subject to punitive damages for failure to comply with the requirements.

Massachusetts has historically ranked at the bottom of the barrel in terms of giving its citizens  access to public records.  A 2015 assessment by  a non-profit investigative news organization gave the state a grade of F and ranked it below Mississippi and Arkansas in the category of public records access (40th in the nation).

Under the new law documents previously provided with missing or illegible date-stamps were requested from the board.  The sole reason for this request was to  determine if these documents were submitted as evidence and forwarded to the tribunal for consideration at the hearing for which they were considered to be heard a, heretofore impossible task due to toothless public records law in Massachusetts.  This matter should be a given.  If I mail a letter I do not question or fret over whether or not it was received by the person I sent it to and  the same dynamic applies here.  It is a given assumption  that documents submitted as evidence for at hearing reaches those individuals who are supposed to hear that evidence at that hearing.    That is how the system is supposed to work and, like a lost letter, exceptions should be rare as there are safeguards in place to assure it.   Here we have a group that has removed those safeguards.  The Physician Health and Compliance Unit (PHCU) is part of the medical board but independent of the medical board and exist as a self-contained unit with no oversight, auditing of or accountability.   The PHCU was created to serve as a liaison between the state PHP and medical board to handle board cases involving doctors being monitored under PHP contract.  Ostensibly they are an objective go-between and these individuals are assumed to seek, follow and tell the truth.  Their job is to review the evidence and let the chips fall where they may.  They do not.  Given the power to act as their own hearing officers and present cases to the board they hold all the chips.  All evidence supporting any doctors case before the board in a physician health case must be submitted to the PHCU, not directly to the board and if that evidence contradicts the PHP then it never ever gets to the board.  This has been suspected for years but when these documents are later requested to see if they had been reviewed board has been able to  delay, withhold and censor them.  There has previously been no way to determine these matters and they could get away with whatever they wanted by gaming the system under toothless laws.

Not anymore (hopefully).

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Public Records Division has been a breath of fresh air. Those I have interacted with have integrity and empathy as well as zeal.   Although limited in scope they can hold agencies to account by demanding the provision of complete, legible and accurate records and not backing down.

Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts stated:

“As the cradle of liberty, Massachusetts should lead the way on openness and transparency, not lag behind the rest of the nation. The law Governor Baker just signed will help us catch up and begin to take our rightful place among those states that highly value and promote transparency.”


Document Submitted as Evidence for Hearings Date-Stamped  Long After

In response to a June 2016 request the board provided  just one with a legible date-stamp; a December 15, 2011 letter requesting  an attached “litigation packet”be   considered at an upcoming December 21, 2011 hearing .  The documents are all date-stamped January 17 2012 (nearly one month after ).. All of the other documents where  illegible or missing dates rendering it impossible to determine if and when they were entered into evidence  as required by law under  M.G.L. c. 30A§ 11(4) which states:

All evidence, including any records, investigation reports, and documents in the possession of the agency of which it desires to avail itself as evidence in making a decision, shall be offered and made a part of the record in the proceeding, and no other factual information or evidence shall be considered, except as provided in paragraph (5) of this section. Documentary evidence may be received in evidence in the form of copies or excerpts, or by incorporation by reference.

Board Defense counsel Bryan Bertram dismissed the date-stamp as irrelevant and claimed it did reflect when it was entered into evidence but when it was scanned into the  Document Imaging Unit (DIU) . He claimed this occurs  after hearings not before. See  logical fallacy and lies.  We filed a Motion to Produce Documents (SJC-2015-0267, # 44) with legible dates which Bertram opposed in his  Response to Motion to Produce Documents

Bertram claimed “board staff” had reviewed its records and minutes and retrieved  from “off-site storage” those “materials before the Board in December 2011.”  The documents I claimed were suppressed, he claims , “are in fact there.”  and provides footnotes:


1 The Board’s staff has reviewed its records and confirmed this to be the case.

2 To be sure, and to put this matter to rest for the Court once and for all, the Board has retrieved from off­site storage those materials before the Board in December 2011. The documents that Dr. Langan claims were “suppressed” are in fact there—and this should not be surprising given the Board’s many orders since that time, all of which have disclaimed any reliance on the July 2011 PEth test.

3 The Board’s staff has confirmed this by reviewing its minutes.

He claimed my request was :

“……nothing more than an attempt to impose upon the Board a duty–absent from any statute, regulation or rule to search for and produce documents to him that are outside of that record.  Dr. Langan’s  Motion tellingly directs this Court to no authority to support such a request. Because it is devoid any basis in the law, the Motion should be denied.”


As of January 1, 2o17 my request for  legible documents does have a basis in the law. Authority does now exist to support such a request.

I filed a Public Records Request under the new law on January 9, 2017.   I received a response from Board counsel Robert Harvey  ( January 20, 2017 documents provided by board).   Most are still illegible or missing dates.  The same document date-stamped nearly one -month after the hearing for which it was submitted was provided.   One other had legible dates.   A document written June 6, 2013  is stamped both electronically and by hand with dates sometime in 2012, before it was ever written.

And in response to an Order from the Supervisor of Records  I was  provided the very same document date-stamped January 17, 2012.   But it is not a copy but original as indicated by the “blue-ink.    This original document precludes the existence of any others date-stamped earlier than January 17, 2012.    This documents no earlier dated copies could have been submitted as evidence before the hearing. This document was never admitted into evidence and may not be relied upon by the board in its decision M.G.L. c. 30A, § 11(4).

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 11.11.53 PM

The records, minutes, and materials  reviewed and retrieved by “board staff” constitute public records. I requested them. I also requested the board “reports” that would have resulted from “board staff” confirming  it was before the board in 2012.

“ABA Model Rule 3.3, Candor Toward The Tribunal, declares that ‘a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the lawyer.’ If a lawyer ‘has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal.’

An attorney must have a factual basis for alluding to, offering, or relying on evidence at trial. That factual basis may not be wishful thinking. There are two requirements for a factual basis — an attorney’s subjective belief, and objective evidence to support that belief.

But none exist.  Not one  document, reference, record, or any other materials exist that are chronologically consistent with the documents being before the board in 2012. The only document that exists is the litigation packet date-stamped a month after the hearing.

I asked Bertram to either provide the factual basis or admit to the false statements.  He’s been ignoring me and will not answer.

The whole picture depicts the respondent as an attorney who, when it serves his advantage, is willing to violate clear norms of professional responsibility and to engage in purposeful deceit which harms others.

“The privilege of practicing law does not come without the concomitant responsibility of truth, candor, and honesty. Because no single transgression reflects more negatively on the legal profession than a lie, attorney misconduct involving dishonesty justifies disbarment.” Id. (quoting In re Young’s Case, 913 A.2d 727 (N.H. 2006)).

No matter what it takes I am going to make sure that is a certainty in this case.

cropped-screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-9-32-40-pm11

Make Medicine Great Again!   Please Donate and Help Drain this Swamp!

https://www.gofundme.com/PHPReform

Related Posts

  MA Board Attorney Deb Stoller’s Fraud Upon the Court

Defending MA BORM Deb Stoller’s Five-Year Concealment of Fraud–Nothing left but logical fallacy and lies

Medscape Article Now Live! Please comment and tell your stories now!

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-11-34-00-amLink to Medscape article by Pauline Anderson Here:

Link to illegible, post-dated and undated documents submitted as evidence  and mentioned in article can be seen here>  board-records-obtained-june-2016

Link to document written June 6, 2013 but date-stamped as being received in 2012 ( both by hand and apparently by the Board’s Document Imaging Unit (DIU)  > Back to the Future: Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine


screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-11-25-36-amscreen-shot-2017-01-27-at-11-23-28-am

Michael Langan, MD, a Boston-based internal medicine specialist who has fought the Massachusetts Physician Health Service (PHS) and Board of Registration in Medicine for years to reinstate his license, has suffered a setback but is bolstered by a new development.

A justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has denied Dr Langan’s petition to invalidate the 2013 suspension of his medical license for not meeting conditions to have his license reinstated.

However, a new law has enabled Dr Langan to access his records. According to Dr Langan, these documents show that the court did not consider key evidence in his case, as demonstrated by the fact that his hearing occurred after the date of receipt that is stamped on the documents. This may offer an opportunity to reopen his case.

The court decision, which was handed down in December by Associate Justice Geraldine Hines, states that although Dr Langan completed required psychiatric evaluations, he “did not submit a suitable worksite or substance abuse monitoring plan. In combination with his violation of the LoA [Letter of Agreement] meeting requirement, the board’s decision to affirm its prior suspension of petitioner’s license to practice medicine is supported by the record. The board’s decision to deny reinstatement in the absence of an acceptable plan is affirmed.”

“It’s unbelievable; everyone is dumbfounded,” said Dr Langan of the decision.

Dr Langan is appealing the denial of his petition, a process that will take an estimated 6 months.

He maintains that the PHS committed “forensic fraud” and concealed doing so.

“If I couldn’t win with all the direct evidence of felony crimes that you don’t need to be a lawyer to recognize, then I don’t think anyone can,” he told Medscape Medical News.

The PHS is a confidential resource for physicians and medical students seeking help for a variety of physical and behavioral health concerns, which may include difficulties with substance use.

In 2007, Dr Langan was at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard University when he approached the PHS to help him with his dependence on Vicodin, an opioid analgesic.

He became dependent on Vicodin after a bout of chickenpox during residency, when he developed shingles. He stressed that there were no work-related problems associated with use of this drug.

 He was an inpatient at the Talbott Recovery Center in Georgia for more than 3 months, after which he signed the requisite 5-year contract with the PHS that included regular drug testing.

According to Dr Langan, there were no problems until mid-2011, when a report from the US Drug Testing Laboratories found he was positive for phosphatidylethanol (PEth), a blood marker for chronic alcohol use.

The level detected was 365.4 ng/mL, which “is the equivalent of drinking a half gallon of whisky a day,” or a sign of end-stage alcoholism, said Dr Langan, who insists he has never had an alcohol problem.

“That the test was invalid at this point should have been self-evident,” said Dr Langan.

Lab Fraud?

Suspecting that there had been “lab fraud” and that he would “end up being admitted for 3 months,” Dr Langan said he requested, but was denied, an independent evaluation outside the 12-step PHP-approved list of facilities. Because his request was denied, he attended one of the approved facilities, Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center, in Minnesota, where he “was cleared.”

 “They noted no past or present history of alcohol use or abuse and sent me back after a 4-day evaluation,” he said.

An independent investigation by James G. Flood, PhD, who has been chief of toxicology at MGH for nearly 30 years, concluded in a November 5, 2012, letter to Dr Langan’s lawyer “that there is a purposeful and intentional act by PHS” to show Dr Langan’s test as valid “when in reality this test was invalid and involved both fatal laboratory errors” and inadequate review of the results.

Any confirmatory, positive finding based on the July 2011 test “should be reversed, rectified and remediated,” Dr Flood writes.

 Among the “many errors in sample collection, processing and transportation,” said Dr Flood, was that the documentation that was received with the specimen did not have a date and time of specimen collection. Moreover, the person who collected the specimen was not properly identified, the signature of the sample donor was missing, and there was no tamper-proof seal affixed to the specimen.

Dr Flood claims the sample was directed to the wrong laboratory, where it sat for several days. The storage conditions of the sample while at that laboratory were not documented.

Following an investigation by the College of American Pathologists, in October 2012, Dr Langan’s laboratory test result was corrected from having a positive result to being an invalid test, but he said he did not learn of this change until months later.

 In a letter to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, Luis T. Sanchez, MD, who at the time was the director of the Massachusetts PHS, said the amended report indicates that the “external chain of custody protocol [for that sample] was not followed per standard protocol.”

Dr Sanchez noted that, on the basis of the revised report, “PHS will continue to disregard the July 2011 PEth test result.”

Dr Langan requested the record of the chain of custody pertaining to his testing. This document showed that the test was “not only invalid but falsely created,” said Dr Langan. He added that it included a fax from the PHS requesting that his identification number be added to an already positive test and that the chain of custody be updated.

“You can’t update a chain of custody, as it is generated in real time,” said Dr Langan. “This is forensic fraud. It clearly shows collusion between the PHS and the lab.”

In an October 2012 letter, Dr Sanchez alleged that Dr Langan did not attend required peer support group meetings, but according to Dr Langan, this claim is “without fact or support.” Dr Langan maintains that he attended all required meetings. He also maintains that the PHS actions were in “retaliation” for requesting the chain of custody record.

Massachusetts PHS Director Dr Sanchez did not respond to a request from Medscape Medical News for clarification.

 Medscape Medical News also sought comment on recent developments in Dr Langan’s case from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, which declined to comment.

“The AG’s [Attorney General’s] Office often defends state agencies in litigation and we typically do not comment on behalf of our clients, who in this case is the Board of Registration in Medicine,” Emily Snyder, deputy press secretary, Office of Massachusetts Attorney General, told Medscape Medical News in an email.

Intentional Delay?

Dr Langan alleges that the PHS “intentionally delayed” his efforts to undergo a psychiatric evaluation that was necessary to have his license reinstated. He said the PHS insisted he get this evaluation out of state, even though he suggested three Boston-area board-certified experts.

 The Board of Registration in Medicine eventually approved an evaluation by Patricia Recupero, MD, from the Law and Behavioral Health Program at the University of Rhode Island.

Dr Recupero’s November 2013 report determined that Dr Langan “is safe to return to the practice of medicine without further supervision,” that he “has an excellent prognosis and a very low risk of relapse,” and he “has not had an alcohol use, abuse or dependence problem.”

Many of the conflicts between the PHS and Dr Langan revolve around positive test findings, Dr Recupero notes in her letter.

 It is “critical to understand” the inadequacies of such tests for physician monitoring for purposes of relapse, she notes. She added that the source of the alcohol in Dr Langan’s test results cannot be determined and that many products – mouthwash and hand sanitizers among them – can create a false-positive test.

Dr Langan acknowledges he used hand sanitizers in the course of his work as a physician. Owing to severe allergies, he also uses prescribed asthma inhalers, which contain alcohol as a propellant.

Dr Recupero also notes that “almost without exception,” Dr Langan’s test findings have been below the minimum level to declare a test positive and that positive findings “are not a sign of relapse.”

 It was her opinion that, should he require additional treatment and supervision, the PHS should not be involved. A spokesperson for the PHS confirmed that it has not been involved in matters related to Dr Langan for at least 3 years.

Dr Langan said that since it suspended his medical license, the board has “engaged in a persistent pattern of ignoring my every reasonable effort at trying to be reinstated” and has “abused the administrative law process to accomplish this.”

Medscape Medical News contacted the Massachusetts medical board as well as its counsel, Deb Stoller, but received no response.

“Close to Homeless”

A memorandum to the Supreme Judicial Court, filed May 13, 2016, proposed a settlement between Dr Langan and the board. In return for the immediate reinstatement of Dr Langan’s license, he would be monitored for a maximum of 3 months by Dr Recupero and Timothy E. Wilens, MD, codirector of the Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH.

That memorandum was accompanied by letters from Dr Recupero and Dr Wilens agreeing to the terms, but according to Dr Langan, it has been “ignored.”

“The board did not acknowledge or address the proposals in any way,” said Dr Langan.

Dr Langan maintains that he “never ever” had any patient care or malpractice problems during his 15 years at MGH. In fact, his supervisors and colleagues reported that his work performance has been “superlative” on all counts, he said.

Many in the addiction medicine and psychiatric community support Dr Langan. He has letters from high-profile physicians in the field who verify that he is safe to practice medicine.

A first petition was filed in the Supreme Court on October 22, 2014, but the judge dismissed it because it had not been filed within the required 60-day period. Dr Langan’s most recent petition was filed July 3, 2015.

The past few years, he said, have taken a toll on his family. They have lost their home and health insurance because of his inability to practice his profession.

Disheartened by this latest setback, Dr Langan is looking into the possibility of becoming licensed in another state and leaving Massachusetts.

But Dr Langan has renewed hope. Under Massachusetts’ new Public Records Reform Law, which went into effect January 1, 2017, “the board was forced to comply with my request for records within 10 days,” and has done so, he said.

According to Dr Langan, these records show some irregularities that may bolster his case.

“A letter dated December 15, 2011, introducing exculpatory evidence was date-stamped January 17, 2012, almost 1 month after the hearing where it was submitted as evidence. All of the other documents had either illegible or absent date-stamps,” he said.

Documentary Evidence of Top-Down Corruption–See how PHP Colludes with USDTL Labs in Forensic Fraud

IMG_9516“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”
― Thomas Paine 

USDTL drug testing laboratory claims to advance the”Gold Standard in Forensic Toxicology.”  “Integrity: Results that you can trust, based on solid science” is listed as a corporate value. “Unlike other laboratories, our drug and alcohol testing begins and ends with strict chain of custody.” “When people’s lives are on the line, we don’t skip steps.”  Joseph Jones, Vice President of Laboratory Operations explains the importance of chain-of-custody in this USDTL video presentation.

Dr. Luis Sanchez, M.D. recently published an article entitled Disruptive Behaviors Among Physicians in the Journal of the American Medical Association discussing the importance of  of a “medical culture of safety” with “clear expectations and standards.”  Stressing the importance of values and codes-of-conduct in the practice of medicine, he calls on physician leaders  “commit to professional behavior.”

Sanchez is Past President of the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP).  According to their website the FSPHP “serves as an educational resource about physician impairment, provides advocacy for physicians and their health issues at local, state, and national levels, and assists state programs in their quest to protect the public.”  In addition the FSPHP “helps to establish monitoring standards.”  The FSPHP is the umbrella organization of the individual State PHPs.

Sanchez is also the previous Medical Director of the Massachusetts state PHP, Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS).  According to their website PHS is a “nonprofit corporation that was founded by the Massachusetts Medical Society to address issues of physician health. PHS is designed to help identify, refer to treatment, guide, and monitor the recovery of physicians and medical students with substance use disorders, behavioral health concerns, or mental or physical illness.

PHPs recommend referral of physicians if there are any concerns such as getting behind on medical records.  As PHS Associate DirectorJudith Eaton explains “when something so necessary is not getting done, it is prudent to explore what else might be going on.”  If the PHP feels that doctor needs an assessment they will send that doctor to a “PHP-approved” facility “experienced in the assessment and treatment of health care professionals.” The physician must comply with any and all recommendations of the assessment center.  To assure this the physician must sign a monitoring contract with the PHP (usually five years). USDTL is one of the labs PHPs have contracted with for forensic drug and alcohol testing.


Forensic Drug and Alcohol Tests: The Need For Integrity and Accountability of the Sample

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 6.14.30 PM

“Forensic” drug-testing differs from “clinical” drug-testing in how the results are used. “Clinical” tests are used for medical purposes in diagnosing and treating a patient.

A “forensic” test is used for  non-medical purposes.  It is not used for patient care, but for detecting licit and illicit substances in those who should not be using them. Pre-employment and employee assistance and professional monitoring programs are examples.Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 2.17.18 AM

Forensic testing is held to a higher standards because the consequences of a positive result can be grave and far reaching. A positive forensic test can result in loss of rights of the individual being tested and his or her loved ones. Mistakes are unacceptable.

The Federation of State Medical Boards Policy on Physician Impairment supports this position stating “chain-of-custody forensic testing is critical” (page 14) and the “use of a Medical Review Officer (MRO) for screening samples and confirming sample results” (page 21).

Any and all drug testing requires chain-of-custody. The custody-and-control form is given the status of a legal document because it has the ability to invalidate a test that lacks complete information.  Chain-of-custody provides assures specimen integrity. It provides accountability. 

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 7.25.46 PM The job of the MRO is to ensure that the drug testing process is followed to the letter and reviews the Custody and Control form for accuracy.  The MRO also rules out any other possible explanations for a positive test (such as legitimately prescribed medications).  Only then is the test reported as positive.

The legal issues involved in forensic testing mandate MRO review. According to The Medical Review Officer Manual for Federal Workplace Drug Testing ProgramsScreen Shot 2013-12-19 at 12.20.46 PM

the sole responsibility of the MRO is to”ensure that his or her involvement in the review and interpretation of results is consistent with the regulations and will be forensically and scientifically supportable.”

“Fatal flaws” such as lack of chain-of-custody form, missing tamper proof seal, missing signatures, or a mismatch of the sample ID and chain of custody ID invalidate the test.   It is not reported.  Tight chain-of-custody and MRO review is critical for the accountability and integrity of the sample.

The Medical Review Officer Certification Council  provides a certification process for MROs. They Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 12.47.25 PMalso  follow their own Code of Ethics.   In accordance with these standards PHS has an MRO to review all positive tests.  As added assurance the FSPHP guidelines state that all positive tests must be approved by the Medical Director.


Regulation and the Medical Profession–The need for Integrity and Accountability in Physician Leadership and Health Care Policy.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 12.26.14 PM

Good leadership requires correct moral and ethical behavior of both the individual and the organization. .  Integrity is necessary for establishing relationships of trust.  It requires a true heart and an honest soul.  People of integrity instinctively do the “right thing” in any and all circumstances.  The majority of doctors belong to this group.

Adherence to ethical codes of the profession is a universal obligation.  It excludes all exceptions.  Without ethical integrity, falsity will flourish.

The documents below show fraud. It is intentional.  All parties involved knew what they were doing, knew it was wrong but did it anyway.  The schism between pious rhetoric and reality is wide.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.01.33 PM

Positive Phosphatidyl Ethanol test at level of 365.4 (cutoff =20) No date of collection. place of collection or name of collector. Donor ID # = 461430 My Unique Identifier #1310 is nowhere on this document.

The  July 19th, 2011 fax from PHS seen below is in reference to the lab report from USDTL seen above.  In it PHS requests the report be “updated”to donor ID number “1310” and  to “reflect that the chain of custody was maintained.”

The lab report is a positive test for the alcohol biomarker (Phosphatidyl Ethanol) or PEth, an alcohol biomarker introduced by the Federation of State Physician Health programs and marketed by USDTL and other labs to detect  covert alcohol use..

There is no record of where, when or by whom it was collected.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.17.32 PMBoth the donor ID # and chain of custody are listed as 461430.

The purpose of chain-of-custody is to document the location of  a specimen in real time.  “Updating” it is not an option.  It is prohibited.  Updating the “chain of custody to reflect that chain of custody was maintained”  is a clear indicator that it was not maintained.

ID #1310 is the unique identifier I was issued by PHS.  It is used as a unique identifier, just like a name or social security number, to link me to any sample collected for random drug and alcohol screening. #1310 identifies me as me in the chain-of-custody.    On July 1st, 2011 I had a blood test collected at Quest Diagnostics.

IMG_8756 2

The sample was collected at Quest Diagnostics on July 1, 2011 but these documents were not obtained until December 3, 2011 and were included in the “litigation packet” which documents chain-of-custody and is generated on any and all forensic drug testing.   It provides proof that the test was done on who it was supposed to have been done and that all required procedure and protocol was followed. It protects the donor form being falsely accused of illicit substance use.  In most employee drug-testing programs the litigation-packet is provided on request immediately.  It is a transparent process.  This is not the case, however, at PHS.

I requested the litigation packet immediately after the positive test was reported on July 19, 2011.  PHS first refused, then tried to dissuade me.  They finally agreed but warned there would be “unintended consequences.    The entire litigation packet can be seen here:   Litigation Packet 12:3:2011

The positive sample has no chain-of-custody linked to me, no date, and no indication where it was collected or who collected it.   In addition there was no “external” chain of custody for the sample. The custody-and-control form was missing.

With multiple fatal flaws (6/6)  rendering it invalid, USDTL should have rejected it by their own written protocol.

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 12.20.46 PM

6/6 Fatal Flaws–Just one invalidates the Test

USDTL did not reject it. The document below shows that USDTL added my ID # 1310 and added a collection date of July 1, 2011–the day I submitted the sample.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 5.27.21 AM

“REVISED REPORT PER CLIENTS REQUEST”  

And in doing so the lab that claims “integrity” and “strict chain of custody” readily, and with no apparent compunction” manufactured a chain-of-custody and added a unique identifier by faxed request.

The litigation packet was signed by Joseph Jones on December 3, 2011.   There was no record of where the sample was from July 1st to July 8, 2011. No external chain-of-custody or custody-and-control form was evident in the litigation packet.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 6.50.01 PM

The V.P. for Laboratory operations for the lab that claims “strict chain of custody” and that “doesn’t skip steps” “when “peoples lives are on the line” verified a positive test as positive with no custody and control form, no external chain of custody and 6/6 fatal flaws.  What is so shocking is that  this was done without compunction or pause.  As a forensic test ordered by a monitoring program Jones knew full well it would result in significant consequences for someone.  He knew that someones “life was on the line,” knew it was wrong, and did it anyway.

A person of conscience would never do this.  It is unethical decision making  that goes against professional and societal norms.  A “moral disengagement” that represents a lack of empathy and a callous disregard for others.  I would not consider doing something like this for any price and here it appears to be standard operating procedure.

PHS reported the positive test to the Medical Board on July 19, 2011 Positive PEth July 19, 2011-1.  It was used as a stepping-stone to request an evaluation at one of three  “PHP-approved” facilities (Marworth, Hazelden and Bradford). The Medical Directors of all three facilities can be seen on this list list called “Like-Minded Docs.”  The MRO for PHS, Dr.Wayne Gavryck,  whose job was to review the chain-of-custody and validate its integrity before reporting it as positive is also on the list.  See this simplified schematic of how it works in Massachusetts.  It shows how this is a rigged game.

Expecting to be diagnosed with a non-existent problem and admitted for non-needed treatment I requested an evaluation at a non-12 step facility with no conflicts-of-interest.  Both PHS and the Medical Board refused this request in one of four violations of the Establishment Clause of the 1st amendment.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 7.55.16 PM copy

I chose Hazelden.  The Medical Director was aware that I had just signed  a patent license agreement for an epinephrine auto-injector and he had a child with a peanut allergy.  We talked about the device and discussed the problems with current management.  I think it was because of this added personal interaction that he did not “tailor my diagnosis” as PHS most certainly requested.  Seeing me as a person rather than an object, I believe,  enabled his conscience to reject it. My discharge diagnosis found no history of alcohol issues but they could not explain the positive test. Unable to rule out that I drank in violation of my PHS contract they recommended I attend AA.

PHS mandated that I attend 3 12-step meetings per week and requested that I obtain names and phone numbers of fellow attendees so they could contact them to verify my attendance.  They also mandated that I discontinue my asthma inhalers (as the propellant contains small amounts of ethanol) that had been controlling my asthma and preventing serious attacks for the previous ten years.  I was threatened that if I had to use the inhalers or one day late on the increased payments I would be reported to the Board and lose my license.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 10.03.16 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 11.57.25 PM

Sanchez states that my request for the “litigation packet” was processed on December 5, 2011 (two days after Jones signed off on it) and adds the “testing laboratory is willing to support the test results.”

In the interim I filed a complaint with the College of American Pathologists.  I also requested the missing external chain of custody documents from Quest.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.15.52 PM

I never received the chain of custody from Quest.  Instead I received a letter from Nina Tobin, Compliance Manager for Quest documenting all the errors but written to sound as if some sort of protocol was maintained.  Tobin claimed the specimen was inadvertently logged as a clinical specimen but sent on to USDTL a week later.  (See Quest Letter )

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 10.06.46 PM

The Chief of Toxicology at MGH wrote a letter to the Board documenting all of the misconduct and irregularities stating that it was an “intentional act” perpetrated by PHS.  MLLv3finalJacob_Hafter_Esq_copy.

This letter, as well as the opinions of everyone outside of PHS was ignored. So too were any opinions of my two former Associate Directors at PHS.   The e-mail below dated October 10th, 2011 is to to Drs. John Knight and J. Wesley Boyd and I am referring to their article Ethical and Managerial Considerations Regarding State Physician Health Programs  that was about to be published. We had hoped that it would draw more attention to the problems with PHPs.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.36.13 AM

I was subsequently reported as “non-compliant” with AA meetings.    They could not give any details of where or when.  They then misrepresented a declaration of fact (I stated that I had started going to a specific meeting on a specific date) as an admission of guilt by saying I was referring to a different meeting.     10:23:12 PHS Letter to BORM-noncompliance.

My Chief at MGH, his Chief and others held a  conference with PHS and attempted to remove me from PHS and replace the monitoring contract with one of their own.  They refused.   When confronted with the fabricated test they dismissed it and focused on sending me to Kansas to one of the “disruptive physician” Psikhuskas where they are using polygraphs (despite the AMAs stance that it is junk science) and non-validated neuropsychological instruments that detect “character defects” to pathologize the normal.

I refused. Had I gone to Kansas I would have been given a false diagnosis and my career would be over. This is what they do.

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 12.05.52 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 7.28.02 PM

Amy Daniels, the investigator for the College of American Pathologists contacted me in December of 2012 to see how things were going since USDTL “amended” the test.  Daniels told me that the College of American Pathologists confirmed my allegations and, as an Accrediting Agency for Forensic Toxicology mandated that USDTL correct it.  (Labs can lose accreditation if they do not comply with CAP  Standards for Forensic Drug Testing). This was done on October 4, 2012.

PHS denied any knowledge of an amended test.  I also wrote an e-mail to Joseph Jones requesting the document but he did not reply.

I contacted CAP.   On December 11, 2012 Dr. Luis Sanchez wrote a letter stating  “Yesterday, December 10 2012, Physician Health Services (PHS) received a revision to a laboratory test result”

 “The amended report indicates that the external chain of custody protocol [for that sample] was not followed per standard protocol]” 

Sanchez dismisses this test as irrelevant, rationalizing neither PHS nor the Board based any actions on the test and they would “continue to disregard” it.

Screen Shot 2014-11-08 at 1.19.44 AM

The  logic is that it was my behavior that resulted in any consequences.  My “non-compliance” in October led to my suspension and the test had nothing to do with it.   The sole reason for reporting me to the Board in 2011 was the positive test.  There is no other pretext to use.  It is misattribution of blame as without the test, now invalidated, there would have been no AA meetings to say I was non-compliant with.

In response to a civil complaint PHS, Quest and USDTL all took the position that the results of the fraudulent testing had absolutely nothing to do with anything.

And in response to the allegations of forensic fraud the labs claimed there was no forensic fraud because this was not a “Forensic” test but a “clinical” test.     The argument was that “clinical” tests do not require chain-of-custody and it was his behavior not these tests that resulted in consequences.   

As a “clinical” test I knew it was considered Protected Health Information (PHI)  under the HIPAA-Privacy Rule.  A patient must give written consent for any outside entities to see it.  Obtaining lab tests previously required the consent of both the patient and the ordering provider.  What PHS and the labs were apparently unaware of was the changes to the HIPAA-Privacy rule giving patients increased rights to access their PHI.   The changes removed the ordering provider requirements.  A patient has a right to obtain lab test results directly from the labs and has 30 days to do it.  CAP agreed.   USDTL sent me all of the documents.  They can be seen below:

August 6, 2014 to Langan with health materials.

The documents sent by USDTL are notable for two things:

1.  The e-mail from me to Joseph Jones dated December 10, 2012.  It can be seen on page 22 of the USDTL documents.  Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 11.21.18 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 11.22.00 AM

2. USDTL document confirming PHS knew the test was amended 67-days before they said they did.Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 4.50.02 PM

The document shows PHS and Sanchez were aware of the invalidity of the test on October 4, 2012.   Instead of correcting things they initiated machinations to throw me under the bus.  They officially reported me to the Board for non-compliance on October 19, 2012.

The December 11, 2012 letter signed by Sanchez states “Yesterday, December 10, 2012, PHS received a “revised report” regarding the test.  The documents show he knew about it 67-days prior.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.51.24 PM

Although USDTL complied with the HIPAA-Privacy Rule and CAP, Quest did not.   Quest Diagnostics refused to send me copies of their lab reports claiming it was confidential and protected information that required PHS consent.  Quest required I sign a consent form with multiple stipulations regarding PHS.  I refused and contacted the Department of Justice -Office of Civil Rights.  The DOJ-OCR agreed with me and I received the Quest documents

Remember a “clinical” test can only be ordered by a physician in the course of medical treatment.  It requires authorization from the patient to obtain a “clinical” specimen and it requires written authorization as to who sees it.  Referring physician was Mary Howard.

image

And below is the fax from PHS to Quest from July 1, 2011 also requested by Mary Howard.  The signature on the front is not mine.  In addition I gave the blood at 9:30 and was in my clinic at MGH at 12:23 so it couldn’t be. The WC 461430 R are dated July 2, 2011.  This is a “clinical” not “forensic” sticker.  The “R” indicates a red top tube.  The other sticker is USDTL and indicates it was logged in on July 8, 2011.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 7.18.25 PM

What does it all mean?    Blood left in a red top tube ferments. This is basic chemistry.  The PEth test needs to be refrigerated and shipped overnight to prevent this.  In addition it needs to be collected with a non-alcohol wipe in a tube that has an anti-coagulant or preservative so that it does not ferment.    It requires strict procedure and protocol.

When I gave my blood on July 1st, 2011 it was as a “forensic” test per my contractual agreement with PHS.

On July 2, 2011 it was changed to “clinical.”   Why?  because “forensic” protocol would have invalidated it.

The only conceivable reason for doing this was to bypass chain-of-custody procedures.  My unique identifier #1310 was removed and the clinical specimen number was used for chain-of-custody.    The R in 461430R indicates a red top tube.

By holding on to it for one week the blood fermented.    As it was July with an average temperature close to 90 they overshot their mark a bit.   My level of 365 is consistent with heavy alcohol use–end stage half-gallon a day type drinking.

Quest then forwarded it to USDTL with specific instructions to process it as a “clinical” sample.  USDTL complied and  processed it as a clinical specimen which was reported it to PHS on July 14, 2011.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.41.01 PM

PHS then asked USDTL to add my forensic  ID # 1310 and add a collection date of July 1, 2011 so it would appear “forensic” protocol was followed.    The reason Jones signed the “litigation packet” on December 3, 2011 was because that was when the “litigation packet” was manufactured.  A “clinical” sample does not produce one.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.40.13 PM

USDTL willingly complied with this request.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.59.24 AM

PHS then reported this as a “forensic” test to the Medical Board on July 19, 2011 and requested a reevaluation.

Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 1.17.24 PM

The distinction between “forensic” and “clinical” drug and alcohol testing is black and white. PHS is a monitoring program not a treatment provider. The fact that a monitoring agency with an MRO asked the lab to process and report it as a clinical sample and then used it forensically is an extreme outlier in terms of forensic fraud. The fact that they collected it forensically, removed the forensic components and let it sit in a warehouse for a week is  abhorrent.  The fact they then specifically requested it be processed as a clinical sample deepens the malice. The fact that they then reported it to the Board as a forensic sample and maintained it was forensic up until just recently makes it egregious. But the fact that the test was changed from “positive” to “invalid” on October 4th, 2012 and they then reported me to the Board on October 8th,  2012 for “noncompliance,” suppressed it and tried to send me to Kansas where I would be given a non-existent diagnosis to delegitimize me for damage control makes it wantonly egregious.  This is political abuse of psychiatry.

Accountability requires both the provision of information and justification of what was done.

For doctors it is very difficult to obtain the information. As seen here, they put up a gauntlet to prevent the provision of what is immediate in all other drug testing programs.  I now have all of the information. What it shows is clear. This was intentional.  It was no accident.  They knew what they were doing, knew it was wrong but did it anyway.

Accountability also requires that those who commit misconduct suffer consequences. The PHPs have also put up barriers to this.    With no regulation or oversight they have no apparent accountability.

My understanding is that it works this way.   The Medical Board, Medical Society and Departments of Public Health have no oversight.   The MMS has an ethics committee but all they can do is “educate” the person if they feel there was a violation.  The DPH won’t even look at it and the Board is complicit.

My understanding is that they have convinced law enforcement that this is a “parochial” issue that is best kept within the medical community.  They have also created the impression that they are “friends” of law enforcement.  I have heard from many doctors that they have tried to report misconduct, civil rights violations and crimes to the police, AGO, and other law enforcement agencies only to be turned back over to the PHP.     By saying the physician is “impaired” it delegitimizes and invalidates the truth.  “He’s just a sick doctor,  we’ll take care of him.”  That physician then suffers consequences effectively silencing the rest.

PHS uses the Board to enforce punitive measures and temporize.   The Board puts blind faith in PHS.  Blind faith that defies common sense ( mandating phone numbers at anonymous meetings)  and disregards the law (Establishment Clause violations that are clear and well established).    The Board also temporizes to cause damage.

In my case they required a psychiatric behavioral evaluation.  I was given the choice of Kansas and a few other Like-minded assessment centers.

After petitioning for  multiple qualified psychiatrists that were summarily rejected months later for no reason one of the Board Attorneys suggested  Dr. Patricia Recupero, M.D., J.D. who is Board Certified in Forensic Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry.   The Board had used her in the past but not recently.  Seeing that she had been used by the Board for fit-for-duty evaluations in the past the Board accepted my petition.

Dr. Recupero wrote an 87-page report. She concluded I was safe to practice medicine without supervision, that I had never had an alcohol use, abuse or dependence problem, and that PHS request for phone numbers was inappropriate. She also documented PHS misconduct throughout my contract and concluded it was PHS actions, not mine, that led to my suspension.   What she describes is consistent with criminal harassment.  She documents the falsification of neuropsychological tests and confirms the forensic fraud.  What did the Board do?  Ignored their very own recommended and approved evaluator.

One measure of integrity is truthfulness to words and deeds.  These people claim professionalism, ethics and integrity.  The documents show otherwise.  The careers and lives of doctors are in these peoples hands.

Similar fraud is occurring across the country.  This is an example of the institutional injustice that is killing physicians.  Finding themselves entrapped with no way out, helpless and hopeless they are feeling themselves bereft of any shade of  justice and killing themselves.  These are nothing more than bullies and accountability is essential.  The “disruptive physician” moral panic has harmed the Medical Profession.

Dr. Clive Body in his book  Corporate Psychopaths   writes that “Unethical leaders create unethical followers, which in turn create unethical companies and society suffers as a result.”  And according to Dr. Robert Hare in  Without Conscience  “If we can’t spot them, we are doomed to be their victims, both as individuals and as a society. ”

Wes Boyd notes that valid complaints from physicians are often dismissed as “bellyaching” by the PHPs.  Complacent that these are just good guys helping doctors and protecting the public the complaints are dismissed, tabled, deflected or otherwise ignored.  Bellyaching??   Is this bellyaching.

It is my opinion that what you see here is indefensible  Procedurally, Ethically, and Legally.

Procedurally it goes beyond negligence and represents fraud.  It violates every procedural guideline, regulation and standard of care including their very own.

Ethically it violates everything from the Hippocratic Oath to  AMA Medical Ethics to the MRO Code of Conduct.

And where was PHS MRO Wayne Gavryck? By my count he violated at least 4 of the 6 Codes of Ethical Conduct.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.04.20 PM

What was done here violates the most fundamental ethical principles of Medicine -Autonomy, Beneficence, Nonmaleficence and justice.

Intentionally falsifying a laboratory or diagnostic test to refer for an evaluation or support a diagnosis or give unwarranted “treatment” is unconscionable.  Abuse under the utility of  medical coloration is especially egregious.

The information provided herein should negate any “peer-review” protection or immunity afforded PHS as it is undeniably and egregiously in “bad faith.” Moreover, the ordering a “clinical” test is outside PHS scope, practice, and function of PHS. According to M.G.L. c. 111, § 203 (c):

An individual or institution, including a licensed or public hospital, physician credentialing verification service operated by a society or organization of medical professionals for the purpose of providing credentialing information to health care entities, or licensed nursing home reporting, providing information, opinion, counsel or services to a medical peer review committee, or participation in the procedures required by this section, shall not be liable in a suit for damages by reason of having furnished such information, opinion, counsel or services or by reason of such participation, provided, that such individual or institution acted in good faith and with a reasonable belief that said actions were warranted in connection with or in furtherance of the function of said committee or the procedures required by this section.

Dr. Luis Sanchez and Dr. Wayne Gavryck need to be held to the same professional standards as the rest of us.

If you can support either of them procedurally, ethically, or legally, any one of them, then I will turn in my medical license with a bow on it.  If they did not commit negligent fraud by standards of care and procedural guidelines, egregious moral disengagement in violation of ALL ethical codes for the medical profession and society and break the law then disprove me.  Just one will do.

But you can’t do this then I ask that you speak up and take a stand. Either defend them or help me hold them accountable.  If a crime is committed it needs to be addressed.  Ignoring encourages more of the same.

And if this cannot be supported procedurally, ethically or legally then I want to know what is going to be done about it?

How low does the moral compass have to go before someone takes action?

Doctors are dying across the country because of people just like this.  They have set up a scaffold that removes the usual checks and balances and removed accountability.   It is this institutional justice that is driving many doctors to suicide.

So the evidence is above.  Either defend them or help me draw unwanted attention to this culture of bullying and abuse. So I am asking you to contemplate if  what you see here is ethically, procedurally or legally sound.   If you can show just one of these then I stand corrected. But if you cannot justify this on any level then I want you to help me expose this criminal enterprise. Either defend it or fight it. Silence and obfuscation are not acceptable.

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.34.48 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 1.36.13 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.24.58 AM

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 2.22.36 AM

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.15.46 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.23.36 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-10 at 9.19.08 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-10 at 8.54.21 PMget-attachment.aspx

An Open Letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren Regarding Laboratory Developed Tests, Physician Health Programs and Institutional Injustice

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 9.54.30 PM

—There is no place in science for consensus or opinion, only evidence.-Claude Bernard

Dear Senator Warren,

Thank you for your reply regarding laboratory developed tests (LDTs) and the need for regulatory oversight.   As you mention, LDTs are developed without FDA approval—a pathway in which is not even necessary to prove validity of a test (that it is actually testing what it claims to be testing for) to bring it to market. With no FDA oversight or regulation a commercial lab can claim any validity they want in marketing these tests. The regulation debate has focused on the reliability and validity of a number of clinical tests marketed with unverified claims of accuracy such as prenatal screening and Lyme disease and this lack of oversight is a direct threat to patient safety.

I am sure you would agree with me that the importance of tests diagnostic accuracy is directly proportional to that tests potential to cause patient harm if reported inaccurately.

Sensitivity and specificity are important components of any diagnostic test because there are consequences associated with both false-positive and false negative results.

A test falsely indicating the absence of a condition in someone who truly has it can delay or prevent needed treatment wile a test falsely indicating the presence of a condition in someone who does not truly have it can result in unnecessary testing and treatment.

Incorrect treatment and false labeling of patients can also occur. Therefore diagnostic accuracy is paramount if a test is being used as the basis for further tests and treatment. Any test being used as a basis for further tests or treatment needs to be accurate. It needs to be reliable and valid. Moreover, if the consequences of a test can result in significant patient harm (such as unneeded chemotherapy) it needs to be either 100% accurate or be combined with other tests to confirm the true diagnosis.

 “Forensic” vs. “Clinical” Laboratory Testing

“Forensic” testing differs from “clinical” testing because of the consequences and the process is tightly controlled because false-positive results are unacceptable as the consequences can be grave, far-reaching and even permanent.

Forensic testing demands special handling and safeguards to protect the donor such as validated tests, certified labs, strict chain-of-custody procedures and MRO (Medical Review Officer) review. These safeguards of quality control assure the validity and integrity of the specimen.   The LDT pathway was not designed for forensic tests.

Forensic Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs)

 Paradoxically, laboratory developed tests with the potential to cause  life-changing and possibly irreparable harm have been absent from the regulatory debate; LDT drug and alcohol tests used for “forensic” monitoring purposes.

A panoply of tests using urine, blood, hair, fingernails breath and saliva have been developed and brought to market since 2003 when the first one was introduced by Gregory Skipper, then Medical Director of the Alabama Physicians Health Program, who “convinced the initial lab in the USA, NMS near Philadelphia to start performing EtG testing.” 1

Developed as an LDT, Skipper and NMS then claimed the alcohol biomarker (which was discovered in the 1950s) “appeared to be 100 percent specific” in detecting covert use of alcohol based on a study he coauthored that involved a mere 35 forensic psychiatric inpatients in Germany, all male. 2   With this “evidence-base” and a not yet published paper in the pipeline,3   Skipper then pitched the test to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) as an accurate and reliable tool detect covert alcohol use in health care professionals.

Policy Entrepreneurship

In  “Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies,”4 John W. Kingdon describes the problem, policy and political streams involved in public policy making.   When these three streams come together a specific problem becomes important on the agenda, policies matching the problem get attention, and then policy change becomes possible.

Kingdon also describes “policy entrepreneurs’ who use their knowledge of the process to further their own policy ends. They ‘lie in wait… with their solutions at hand, waiting for problems to float by to which they can attach their solutions, waiting for a development in the political stream they can use to their advantage.”4

And due to a perfect confluence of streams ( Institute of Medicine report that 44,000 people die each year due to medical error,5 media reports of “impaired physicians,”  the the war-on-drugs, etc.)  the FSMB was swayed into accepting not just the validity but the necessity of using an alcohol biomarker of unknown reliability and validity on doctors referred to or monitored by state Physician Health Programs (PHPs) .

As the national organization that gives guidance to state medical boards through public policy development and recommendations, the individual state medical boards adopted use of the test without critical appraisal and no meaningful opposition.

Shortly after its founding in 1912, the FSMB began publishing a  journal called the Quarterly of the Federation of State Boards of the United States. Now known as the Journal of Medical Regulation, the publication has archived all issues with full articles dating back to 1967 and, as the official journal of the national organization involved in  medical licensing and regulation this facilitates an unskewed and impartial examination of how and when specific issues and problems were presented and who presented them and, in doing so, the “policy entrepreneurship” Kingdon describes can be seen quite clearly. For example a 1995 issue containing articles written by the program directors of PHPs in 8 different states contains an FSMB editorial acknowledging the reported 90% success rate claimed of these programs (in part attributed to the 90-day inpatient treatment programs) that concludes:

“Cooperation and communication between the medical boards and the physician health programs must occur in an effort to protect the public while assisting impaired physicians in their recovery.” 6

No one bothered to examine the methodology of these reports to discern the validity of the claims and it is this acceptance of faith without objective assessment that has allowed the passage of flawed public policy in medical regulation.

Nowhere  is “policy entrepreneurship” more glaringly displayed as it is in a 2004 issue promoting the use of EtG in monitoring doctors as under the same cover is an article identifying both the need7 for such a test and an article providing the solution.8  

“Detection of Alcohol Use in Monitored Aftercare Programs: A National Survey of State Physician Health Programs,” a survey of state Physician Health Programs (PHPs) concludes that “surreptitious alcohol use” is a significant concern” for PHPs, there is no current  “best method” for detection,  but a promising new test  with “exceptional specificity (100 percent) and sensitivity” in detecting small amounts of alcohol for up to 18 hours has recently become available.7

This same issue contains an article authored by Skipper about a new marker “not detectable unless alcohol has been consumed” recently introduced in the United States and now commercially available.”8

Notably absent from both of these articles is Skipper’s role in the commercial availability of the test. This conflict-of-interest is nowhere mentioned in this display of “creating a market then filling it.”

This “regulatory sanctification” of the test implied its tacit approval by the medical profession  (i.e. “if they are using it on doctors it must be valid”) and facilitated its marketing  to other monitoring agencies (nurses, airline pilots) as well as  Courts and Probation Departments where those doing the monitoring had absolute power while those being monitored had no voice.

Bent Science

In Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research9, Thomas McGarity and Wendy Wagner describe how special interest groups scheme to advance their own economic or ideological goals by using carefully crafted distorted or “bent” science to influence legal, regulatory and public health policy.  The authors describe how those making these decisions often assume the information that reaches them has been sufficiently vetted by the scientific community as it flows through a pipeline of rigorous peer-review and professional oversight and that the final product that exits the pipeline is unbiased and produced in accordance with the norms and procedures of science.

McGarity and Wagner note the serious and sometimes horrific consequences of bent science and provide examples involving Tobacco and Big Pharma . The authors call for:

“..immediate action to reduce the role that bent science plays in regulatory and judicial decision making” and the need for the scientific community to be involved in “designing and implementing reform.”

“Shedding even a little light on how advocates bend policy -relevant science could go a long way toward remedying these problems.  Indeed, precisely because the advocates have overtaken the law in this area, heightened attention to the social costs of bending science could itself precipitate significant change.”

In the case of EtG this shedding of light is not very hard as no “carefully crafted” studies bending science were used to sway opinion.   None existed. The only items in the pipeline were directly related to Skipper.  If anyone dare to look, the Emperor has no clothes.

Lack of Answerability and Accountability

There are difficulties in challenging bent science including a general lack of recognition of the problem and an absence of counter-studies to oppose deliberately manufactured ends-oriented research.   This has proven true with the myriad LDTs introduced into the marketplace as no counter-forces or competing economic interests producing counter-studies exist.

Multiple lawsuits, including a class-action, have been decided in favor of the labs who have taken a stand-your-ground approach supported by a body of industry-related “research” they or their affiliates produced to support the validity and reliability of the tests.

Those affected by these tests either have no power or have had their power removed. Most do not have the resources to mount a defense let alone produce counter-studies questioning the reliability and validity of the tests.

Most employee drug testing follows Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines using FDA-approved tests that have specific cutoff levels defining a positive-result in an effort to eliminate false-positive results.10  Procedural safeguards are in place in these programs to protect the donor.  Forensic testing programs using LDTs provide no such safeguards as the testing is unregulated and there is no oversight from outside actors.

Unlike clinical LDTs “forensic” LDTs are even exempt from CLIA oversight.   The only avenue for complaint is through the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and, as an accrediting agency, they can only address problems by ensuring compliance with CAP guidelines.   If an investigation concludes lab error or misconduct CAP can mandate the lab correct the test result and come into compliance with their guidelines under threat of loss of accreditation but no other consequences exist.  Accountability has been removed yet the  consequences to those harmed by these are significant and without remedy.

State Physician Health Programs

As is the case with the LDTs  they introduced, Physician Health Programs have no oversight or regulation.   A 2013 Audit of the North Carolina PHP 11 prompted by complaints from doctors and performed by State Auditor Beth Woods found absolutely no oversight of the program by either the state medical board or medical society and that “abuse could occur without being detected.”

The Audit also found that doctors were predominantly referred to the same “PHP-approved” out-of-state facilities to which they in part attribute their high success rates in treatment. Interestingly the PHP could not identify what quality indicators or quantitative measurements were used by the PHP to “approve” the “PHP-approved” facilities.

In January of 2015 a Federal class action lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Michigan against the state PHP program and found health care providers were subject to the same referral system using these out-of-state facilities. The suit alleges constitutional violations related to the forced medical treatment of health care professionals and the “callous and reckless termination of professional licenses without due process.” 12

As with North Carolina, the Michigan PHP will be unable to provide what quality indicators and quantitative measurements are being used to “qualify” and “approve these facilities.    None exist. The sole indicators for approving these assessment centers are ideological and economic. In fact, the medical directors of most, if not all, of these facilities can be seen on this list of “like-minded docs.” 

Institutional Injustice

You once said “People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: they’re right. The system is rigged.”

So too is this system.

As the Michigan lawsuit notes: “Unfortunately, a once well-meaning program has turned into a highly punitive and involuntary program where health professionals are forced into extensive and unnecessary substance abuse/dependence treatment under the threat of the arbitrary application of pre-hearing deprivations.”

This has become the rule not the exception. The Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP), the same group to which Dr. Skipper belongs, has systematically taken over these programs state by state by removing competent and caring doctors not agreeing with the groupthink and silenced them under threat of litigation if they violate their confidentiality agreements and “peer review” statutes.

The same system of coercion, control and abuse exists in Massachusetts.  In the past week alone I have heard from a medical student, a resident and two doctors who complained of misconduct  misconduct involving fraudulent testing and falsified diagnoses.

In “Ethical and Managerial Considerations Regarding State Physician Health Programs,” published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine in 2012, Drs. John Knight, M.D. and J. Wesley Boyd, M.D., PhD who collectively have more than 20 years experience with the Massachusetts Physician Health Program (PHP) state that:

“Because PHP practices are unknown to most physicians before becoming a client of the PHP, many PHPs operate out- side the scrutiny of the medical community at large. Physicians referred to PHPs are often compromised to some degree, have very little power, and are, therefore, not in a position to voice what might be legitimate objections to a PHP’s practices.”13

Noting that “for most physicians, participation in a PHP evaluation is coercive, and once a PHP recommends monitoring, physicians have little choice but to cooperate with any and all recommendations if they wish to continue practicing medicine,” Knight and Boyd raise serious ethical and managerial questions about current PHP policies and practice including conflicts of interest in referrals for evaluation and treatment, lack of adherence to standards of care for forensic testing of substances of abuse, violations of ethical guidelines in PHP research, and conflicts of interest with state licensing boards.

Knight and Boyd recommend “the broader medical community begin to reassess PHP’s as a whole” and that “consideration be given toward the implementation of independent ethical oversight and establish and appeals process for PHP clients who feel they are being treated unfairly.” 13

They recommend the relationship between PHP’s and the evaluation and treatment centers and licensing boards be transparent and that national standards be developed “that can be debated by all physicians, not just those who work within PHPs.”13

Accountability, or answerability, is necessary to prevent corruption.  This requires both the provision of information and justification for actions.    What was done and why? Accountability also requires that consequences be imposed on those who engage in misconduct.

In discussing the financial conflicts-of-interest between PHPs and “PHP-approved” assessment centers Knight and Boyd state:

“..if a PHP highlights a physician as particularly problematic, the evaluation center might–whether consciously or otherwisetailor its diagnosis and recommendations in a way that will support the PHP’s impression of that physician.”  

To “consciously tailor a diagnosis” is fraud. It is political abuse of psychiatry. And it is not only the assessment and treatment centers willing to “tailor” a diagnosis; so too are the labs involved.

Physician Suicide

I can think of nothing more institutionally unjust than an unregulated zero-tolerance monitoring program with no oversight using unregulated drug and alcohol testing of unknown validity.   But that is what is occurring.   Some of us are trying to expose this corrupt system but barriers exist. As with the Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs), those involved have intentionally taken steps to remove both answerability and accountability.  Both the tests and the body of individuals administering these tests are notable for their lack of transparency, oversight and regulation.  This renders them a power unto themselves.

Doctors (and others coerced into Professional Health Programs) across the country have reported going to law enforcement and state agencies only to be turned away.   The Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP)  has convinced these outside agencies that this is a “parochial” issue best handled by the medical profession..   Those reporting crimes are turned back over to the very people committing the crimes.

The Massachusetts Medical Society and Massachusetts DPH claim no oversight of the Massachusetts PHP, PHS.inc. The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine (BORM) will not address ethical or even criminal complaints about the doctors involved in the PHP and there is good evidence that some members of the BORM are in fact complicit in unethical and even criminal behavior. As the Massachusetts AGO represents the BORM they defer issues back to them and dig no deeper.

Drs. Knight and Boyd have suggested State Audits and we are hoping that MA State Auditor Suzanne Bump will investigate the MA PHP and the Board of Registration in Medicine’s Physician Health and Compliance Unit shortly.

One major problem is that barriers have been put in place to prevent information from getting to the right people.

The majority of people at medical societies, boards, departments of public health and other organizations are individuals of integrity and honesty but the system has been erected so that valid complaints are deflected, delayed, dismissed or otherwise tabled by sympathizers, apologists and those complicity.   The criminal activity the Massachusetts PHP is engaging in is undeniable and indefensible but who is going to hold them to account?

It is going to take a while to reform this system of institutional abuse and it has to be done state by state. Please take a look at the facts and documentary evidence and help me hold them accountable. This needs to be exposed, acknowledged and addressed.   Doctors are dying from this system of institutional abuse. It is a public health emergency no one is talking about.  Yet those behind the PHP programs are claiming this system of coercion, abuse and control is the “gold standard” of addiction treatment and, using another loophole, they want to expand this system to mainstream healthcare.

Sincerely,

Michael L. Langan, M.D.

  1. Skipper G. Exploring the Reliability, Frequency, and Methods of Drug Testing: What is Enough to Ensure Compliance?:   Alcohol Markers and Devices. 2013; http://www.fsphp.org/Skipper, Exploring the Reliability Frequency and Methods 2 Presentation.pdf.
  2. Wurst FM, Vogel R, Jachau K, et al. Ethyl glucuronide discloses recent covert alcohol use not detected by standard testing in forensic psychiatric inpatients. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. Mar 2003;27(3):471-476.
  3. Skipper GE, Weinmann W, Thierauf A, et al. Ethyl glucuronide: a biomarker to identify alcohol use by health professionals recovering from substance use disorders. Alcohol Alcohol. Sep-Oct 2004;39(5):445-449.
  4. Kingdon JW. Agendas, alternatives, and public policies. Updated 2nd ed. Boston: Longman; 2011.
  5. Leape LL. Institute of Medicine medical error figures are not exaggerated. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. Jul 5 2000;284(1):95-97.
  6. Schneidman B. The Philosophy of Rehabilitation for Impaired Physicians. The Federal Bulletin: The Journal of Medical Licensure and Discipline. 1995;82(3):125-127.
  7. Jansen M, Bell LB, Sucher MA, Stoehr JD. Detection of Alcohol Use in Monitored Aftercare Programs: A National Survey of State Physician Health Programs. Journal of Medical Licensure and Discipline. 2004;90(2):8-13
  8. Skipper G, Weinmann W, Wurst F. Ethylglucuronide (EtG): A New Marker to Detect Alcohol Use in Recovering Physicians. Journal of Medical Licensure and Discipline. 2004;90(2):14-17.
  9. McGarity TO, Wagner WE. Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2008.
  10. US Department of Health and Human Services. Mandatory guidelines and proposed revisions to mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs: notices. Federal Register. April 13, 2004;69(71):19659-19660.
  11. Wood B. State of North Carolina Performance Audit North Carolina Physicians Health Program. . http://www.ncauditor.net/EPSWeb/Reports/Performance/PER-2013-8141.pdf. Accessed March 17, 2015.
  12. U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, Case No: 2:15-cv-10337-AJT-RSW (2015). Carole Lucas, R.N., Tara Vialpandno, R.N., Scott Sanders, R.N., Kelly Schultz, P.A., and all other similarly situated health professionals v. Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Carole Engel, J.D.Former Director of Michigan Bureau of Health Professions, Ulliance, Inc. (State Contractor), Carolyn Batchelor (HPRP Contract Administrator), Stephen Batchelor (HPRP Contract Administrator), and Nikki Jones, LMSW.   Filed January 30, 2015.
  13. Boyd JW, Knight JR. Ethical and managerial considerations regarding state physician health programs. Journal of addiction medicine. Dec 2012;6(4):243-246.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 12.40.13 PMScreen Shot 2014-08-06 at 4.50.02 PM

 


photo 2

Integrity and Accountability—Defend the MRO Procedurally, Ethically or Legally and win 100 Volumes of the Classics in Medicine Library and Salk and Sabin Autographs!

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 11.46.50 PMIntegrity and Accountability—The Declining State of Physician Health and the Urgent Need for Ethical and Evidence-Based Leadership.

IMG_0576
Sabin and Salk Autographs

“The incompetent or unprincipled physician, licensed to practice medicine by a too complaisant State, is the greatest menace to scientific medicine – as great a menace as all the cultists put together.”  —Dr. Morris Fishbein  (The Medical Follies.  New York:  Boni Liverlight, 1925 p. 71)

“There is no place in science for consensus or opinion, only evidence”  —Claude Bernard


th-1

Sabin, Salk and the Classics in Medicine Library

Polio is nearly a thing of the past thanks to to Dr. Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin. In 1952 Salk discovered and developed the first successful vaccine for polio and combined with Albert Sabin’s 1961 oral vaccination the duo effectively obliterated the contagious polio virus.  Once a deadly threat to our  country and future there were 93,000 cases of polio reported in the U.S. Between 1952 and 1953 alone. ElaineBurnsBut thanks to Sabin and Salk the last case of naturally occurring polio in the U.S. occurred in 1979.

 
full body respirator or “iron lung” needed to treat patients whose respiratory muscles became paralyzed by polio

October 23, 2014 was the centenary of Jonas Salk’s birth and in honor of his 100th birthday I am sponsoring a contest to win framed autographs of both Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin as seen above.  In addition,  you will receive 100 volumes of the Classics in Medicine Library published by Gryphon Editions whose “mission is the preservation of the literary and intellectual heritage of the noble professions that we serve”

These are exact facsimiles of the original classics bound in leather and include works by William Osler, Harvey Cushing and Paul Dudley White.

 IMG_8993

Background

According to British sociologist G. V. Stimson the  “impaired physician movement” is characterized by a “number of evangelical recovered alcoholic and addict physicians, whose recovery has been accompanied by involvement in medical society and treatment programs.” Their “authoritative pronouncements on physician impairment is based on their own claim to insider’s knowledge.”

In this regard Dr. Wayne Gavryck, M.D. is a prototypical example.

An ex-alcoholic with a history of malpractice, Gavryck quit drinking through Alcoholics Anonymous, became “board certified” in “Addiction Medicine” and became involved with the Massachusetts PHP,  Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS) where he has been an Associate Director since 1988.  He serves as their Medical Review Officer (MRO).

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 12.53.49 AM

The “impaired physician movement” has gained tremendous sway through the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the Federation of State Physician Health Programs.  The ASAM is not a valid medical specialty but a “special interest group” that represents the chronic relapsing brain disease with lifelong abstinence and 12-step recovery model of addiction and the companies that profit from it financially ( drug and alcohol testing labs,  12-step inpatient assessment and treatment centers) and politically  (Drug War advocates,  Anti -Medical Marijuana advocates).   The impaired physician movement gained a seat at the table of power in medicine by bamboozling regulatory and administrative medicine.   This illegitimate and irrational authority is in charge of almost every state PHP in the United States.     ASAM physicians joined their state PHPs, gained power, and then removed those who did not agree with the groupthink and doublethink.  Blind obedience and control  are favored over fairness, truth and evidence-base.   As with other states under the FSPHP, blindly obedient doctors are kept on while those who  question the science  and ethics of the groupthink are removed.  The  PHP-Drug Testing Laboratory and  “PHP approved” assessment and treatment center industrial complex requires a Medical Review Officer of blind faith who places the goals of the FSPHP above all other considerations including the Hippocratic Oath.  The system requires doctors who are willing to participate in “moral disengagement” of wrongdoing including professional, ethical and legal violations.    To erect this scaffold they have put in place barriers to exposure and accountability. By declaring themselves “experts” they have used logical fallacy to temporize  deflect and otherwise stifle accountability. With no oversight or regulation they are, in fact, accountable to no one.   The appeal to authority and esoteric knowledge is an effective means of  extinguishing valid concerns.  Complacent that this is a group of benevolent organizational purpose those who should know better and could do something about it rationalize their apathy and indifference.   A necessary step in exposing and addressing this  problem is imposing accountability.    If an organization is able to  engage in conduct that is the antithesis of accepted professional guidelines and standards of care,  in violation of professional and societal mores and codes-of-conduct and  is illegal then there is a systemic problem.  This problem can fortuitously be addressed by examining standards of care, conduct and criminal codes for breaches.   If a breach is found then it needs to be explained and justified.  One of the tactics of the FSPHP is to deflect criticism under the logical fallacy of appeal to authority.  We are the experts. We know better.  That is where it usually ends.   But accountability requires both the provision of information and justification of actions.  My hypothesis is that this group is committing fraud, violating ethics and flouting the law in an irrefutable manner.  If this is not true then my hypothesis should be able to be refuted.  It cannot.  And for that reason I am putting my money where my mouth is.


Accountability

In all fairness,  If Gavryck can justify his actions either procedurally, ethically or  legally and back it up by any written protocol, guideline or standard then he wins and I will refrain from any more criticisms.  In addition I will hand deliver to him the Salk and Sabin autographs and 100 volumes of the classics in medicine, apologize and remove this entire blog.

Accountability requires both the provision of information and justification of actions.  One way of examining this is to look at the body professional and ethical standards and state and federal law.   The FSPHP has blocked the provision of information regarding drug-testing.  Although it has taken over three years I have obtained the all of the information pertaining to a July 1, 2011  test that should have immediately been rejected by the MRO. It is an invalid test.

Dr. Gavryck violated every conceivable procedural guideline and standard-of-care there is for an MRO,  the Medical Review Officer Certification Council’s Codes of Ethical Conduct and both State and Federal Law.   This can be ascertained by looking at the documentation.  I have done this and found hundreds of documents that support the accusation that as an MRO Wayne Gavryck breached protocol, engaged in unethical behavior and broke the law.  Prove me otherwise with just one credible source and  the prizes are yours.

 IMG_0635

Contest Rules

Your job is to review the documentary evidence and records from PHS, Quest Diagnostics and USDTL and assess the actions and decisions made by the MRO.S)

If you can show that  these decisions were the result of  legitimate reasoning based on published guidelines or protocol, ethically defensible or did not break any laws and cite one credible source that concurs with this point of view then you have won.

If you can show that these decisions were the product of legitimate and thoughtful reasoning in accordance with established guideline, ethical codes then I will hand-deliver the items to you.

 If you can justify, support or defend the actions of the Medical Review Officer (MRO):

  1. Procedurally;IMG_0580

  2. Ethically; 

  3. or Legally;IMG_0577 - Version 2 

You win all of the prizes! Simple as that!

In fact, If you can support  just one of these the entire lot is yours.

If you can show Dr. Gavryck did not breach any and all published Standards-of-Care and Professional Protocols and Guidelines regarding drugs-of-abuse testing, OR that he did not violate any and all Codes of Conduct and Ethical Guidelines of the Medical Profession from Hippocrates to the American Medical Association OR that he did not violate multiple State and Federal Laws you win Salk and Sabin autographs and all of the books.

IMG_8994

All of the documents and details regarding the forensic fraud, concealment, coverup and deliberate misrepresentation to a state agency under color of law can be seen here:

Integrity and Accountability—The Declining State of Physician Health and the Urgent Need for Ethical and Evidence-Based Leadership.

To Review:   Any and all drug testing requires chain-of-custody.   “Forensic” drug testing differs from “clinical”drug testing because the consequences of a falsely positive test can be grave and far reaching.  Because the results of  a positive test can result in the loss of rights and liberties of the person taking the test it is essential that it be done correctly.  False-positive tests are unacceptable so strict chain-of-custody procedure and MRO review assure specimen integrity.    This provides accountability and the custody

The custody-and-control form records chain-of-custody and is given the status of a legal document as it has the ability to invalidate a test that lacks complete information.  The job of the MRO is to invalidate specimens without intact chain-of-custody.

The MRO job is fairly simple.  If a lab reports a positive test for any substance the MRO must check that the signatures, dates, times and other information on the custody-and-control form are correct and per protocol.  Chain-of-custody must be accurate and complete.   The MRO looks for “fatal flaws” on the chain-of-custody form.  If a “fatal flaw is present then the test is invalidated and the test is not reported as “positive” but “invalid.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 12.20.46 PM

The sole  job of the MRO is to ensure that the drug testing process and chain-of-custody procedure is followed to the letter.  The MRO reviews the Custody and Control form for accuracy and completeness.  The MRO also rules out any other possible explanations for a positive test (such as legitimately prescribed medications).  Only then is a test reported as positive.

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 6.14.30 PM

The legal issues involved in forensic testing mandate MRO review. According to The Medical Review Officer Manual for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs

“the sole responsibility of the MRO is to”ensure that his or her involvement in the review and interpretation of results is consistent with the regulations and will be forensically and scientifically supportable.”

IMG_8993

Corruption is misuse of entrusted power.  It occurs when those who have been given authority to carry out expected goals instead use their position and power to benefit themselves and others close to them. Abuse of power is particularly egregious when that person is doing the opposite of what he or she is supposed to do.

Accountability is necessary to prevent corruption and necessitates both the provision of information and justification for actions;  what was done and why?   The other defining factor of accountability is the ability of outside actors to punish and sanction those who commit misconduct or wrongdoing.    Without these constraints corruption is inevitable.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 4.50.02 PM

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 2.02.29 AM

Although Gavryck may serve PHS, it is not in the capacity of a certified medical review officer; by my count  the documentary evidence alone shows that he violated four of the seven Medical Review Officer Certification Council Codes of Ethical Conduct.  In addition to violating the MRO  Ethical Conduct he violated every other code I can think of from the Hippocratic Oath to the AMA Code of Ethics. and everything in between.

As the MRO for PHS Gavryck’s responsibility is simple.  He is supposed to verify that the chain-of-custody  of the sample was intact before reporting a test as positive.

This is indefensible on all levels (procedurally, ethically and legally). The documents show with clarity that this was not accident or oversight, but intentional and purposeful misconduct

There should be zero-tolerance for forensic fraud of this sort.   Those of integrity and moral compass would agree.     Transparency, regulation, and accountability are necessary.  It is an issue that needs to be acknowledged and addressed not ignored and covered up.

If Dr. Gavryck can give a procedural, ethical, or legal explanation of what was done then I stand corrected. Just one will suffice. If he cannot then this needs to be addressed openly and publicly.   And whether he was involved in the original fraud or not is irrelevant. As the MRO for PHS it is his responsibility to correct it–however late the hour may be.

Perhaps Dr. Gavryck needs to see some of the damage he has caused in order to take this responsibility. Known as a “bag man” who simply rubber stamps positive tests at the request of Linda Bresnahan, much like Annie Dookhan, he does not see the damage that is caused. Forensic fraud has grave and far reaching effects and in this case has severely impacted many people and include patient deaths. Perhaps Dr. Gavryck needs to take a “moral inventory” and see that this this type of behavior causes real damage to real people and put a face on it.

Please help me get this exposed, corrected, and rectified. The physicians of Massachusetts deserve better than this.

IMG_0581


IMG_0584IMG_0702IMG_0701

[Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.24.14 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 6.52.55 PM

Three shells and a pea–ASAM, FSPHP, and LMD

IMG_9145

Three shells and a pea–ASAM, FSPHP, and LMD.

As home to some of the countries top ranked hospitals and most prestigious medical schools,  Massachusetts is an international healthcare hub with world-class teaching, research and clinical care. Two of the top three psychiatric hospitals in the United States as rated by U.S. News and World Report are found here in Massachusetts with McLean Hospital earning the top prize and Massachusetts General Hospital ranked number three. However, this medical mecca of learning and research is apparently unable to attract anyone with the competence and skill to assess a physician for substance abuse or disruptive behavior.

In Massachusetts if the State PHP feels a physician is in need of an assessment the evaluation must be done at “a facility experienced in the assessment and treatment of health care professionals.”  No exceptions. And apparently these esoteric skills are only found in Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas, and a half dozen other far-away places.

With over 20 years experience with the Massachusetts PHP, Physicians Health Services, inc., Harvard Medical Schools Dr.’s John Knight and J. Wesley Boyd wrote an article in the Journal of Addiction Medicine last year entitled  “Ethical and Managerial Considerations Regarding State Physician Health Programs.”

One of the issues they discussed was the conflicts of interest between the state PHPs and the “PHP-approved” evaluation centers.  The conflicts-of-interest between state Physician Health Programs and these “PHP-approved” assessment and treatment centers  were also uncovered in the recent state Audit of the North Carolina PHP. What was not uncovered, however, was just how absolute these conflicts of interest are.   It is a smoke and mirrors closed system of false choice  An elaborate charade of verisimilitude. Carnival hucksters in medical smocks.

One comment in Knight and Boyd’s article that I was surprised got past editorial review was that the treatment centers may “consciously or otherwise” tailor diagnosis and recommendations to the PHP’s impression of that physician. “consciously” tailoring a diagnosis is fraud. It is political abuse of psychiatry. It is unethical and unconscionable.  It is, in fact, a crime.  Political abuse of psychiatry right here in the United States.

And if you cross-reference the  medical directors of the “PHP-preferred facilities”  with this  list of Like-Minded Docs  it is a perfect match.

Therefore when the PHP refers a physician for an evaluation and gives them a choice of an assessment facility there is no choice. It is three card monte. A shell game. Heads I win tails you lose.  Isn’t it about time this unethical and unconscionable rigged referral process be exposed.

IMG_9150 Unknown-3

Anatomy of a Forensic Fraud: The Reality of Drug and Alcohol Testing

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 7.16.09 PMDec 11, 2012

The juxtaposed documents in and of themselves reveal a number of red flags.  How does one “revise” a chain-of-custody”?    If you do a google search you will not find “chain-of-custody” as an object of the verb revise. It is an oxymoron.  A document or opinion can be revised.  A chain-of-custody, by its very definition, cannot.  This collusion to fabricate a positive test has coined a new oxymoron—“revised chain-of-custody.”     Go ahead and look it up. It is a novel one.     As it should be.

What these documents show is, in fact, indefensible ethically, procedurally and legally.  The first document signed by Dr. Luis Sanchez, past President of the FSPHP and past Medical Director of Physician Health Services, Inc.  (PHS) was sent to the Board of Registration in Medicine on December 11, 2012 and is notable for two statements.   The letter from Dr. Sanchez asserts that “Yesterday, December 10, 2012, Physician Health Services, PHS received a revision of a laboratory test result,” but it did not matter because PHS was {unaware} ” of any action taken by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine as a result of the July 28th, 2011 report.   However, based on the amended report, PHS will continue to disregard the July 21st PEth test result.”

The second document, addressed to Dr. Luis Sanchez, is dated October 4, 2012 (67 days earlier) and shows the first document to be a bald-faced lie.

On July 28h 2011 Dr. Luis Sanchez reported to the Medical Board that I had a positive alcohol test.

Although I knew that Dr. Sanchez had fabricated the test I  had no way of proving it. I requested the “litigation packet,” which records “chain-of-custody” from collection to analysis in August of 2011.  At first they  refused.  PHS then tried to dissuade me (“it will be costly, involve attorneys, etc). Finally they agreed but threatened me with “unintended consequences.”

I was finally able to get a copy of the “litigation packet”  in December of 2011.  Remarkably, it  showed that Sanchez had requested my ID # and a “chain-of-custody” be added to an already positive specimen. I reported this to the Board but they ignored it. I also filed a complaint with the College of American Pathologists.Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 11.17.32 PM

On October 23, 2012 Sanchez reported to the Medical Board that I was “noncompliant” with requirements with A.A.  meetings that I was supposed to go to as a direct result of the positive test and my license to practice medicine was suspended as a result in December 2012.

On December 10, 2012 I contacted the College of American Pathologists who told me the test was “amended” from “positive” to “invalid” on October 4, 2012. I confronted Sanchez and PHS and they said they did not know anything about it.

The following day, December 11, 2012, they sent out a letter saying that the test was invalid but that they were “unaware of any action taken against my license as a result of the test.”  

The documents show that on  July 19th, 2011 Sanchez requested my ID # 1310 and a “chain-of-custody” be added to an already positive specimen and on October 4th 2012 the test was “appended” to “external chain of custody not followed per standard protocol.”

Please note again that  Dr. Sanchez stated on December 11, 2012 that he “just learned” about this on December 10, 2012. He reported me to the Board as “noncompliant” on October 23, 2012 and my license was suspended in December 2012.   These documents show he had full knowledge that the test was invalid and as an agent of the Board this is under “color of law.”   Both he, and PHS, need to be held accountable for this.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 12.22.30 AM

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

10:19:12-Verbal Compliant Noncompliance f:u written 10:19:12–BORM Complaint Committee

The contradictory documents from Sanchez alone constitute a crime (withholding information in concealment and providing false information to a state agency).  But what he did is far far worse.

I just obtained the October 4th document. Although I knew it existed, PHS suppressed it and refused to acknowledge it.   But in response to a complaint I filed against PHS and the labs it was revealed by USDTL that the test in question (phosphatidyl-ethanol) was not sent as a “forensic” specimen but collected as a “forensic” specimen, then changed to a “clinical” specimen at the request of PHS Program Director, Linda Bresnahan.   The specimen was kept at the collecting lab (Quest) for 7 days as a  “clinical” specimen, then sent to the analyzing lab (USDTL) with specific instructions from Quest to process it and report it as a “clinical” specimen.  PHS then used it as a “forensic” specimen by reporting me to the Board of Registration in Medicine and  requesting I undergo an evaluation for alcohol abuse.

As a “clinical” specimen it is rendered “Protected Health Information” (PHI) and thus under the HIPAA Privacy-Rule.   So with the help of the College of American Pathologists I requested my PHI from both Quest and USDTL. Quest refused (for obvious reasons) but USDTL complied.   And that is how I was able to obtain the October 4th document revealing that Dr. Sanchez lied to the Medical Board.     I would love to hear him, or PHS MRO Wayne Gavryck, defend the indefensible (and unconscionable).

Dr. Sanchez is correct when he pleads ignorance of any action taken by the Board as a result of the July 21st PEth result.   It was his report to the Medical Board  that I was “noncompliant” with attending AA meetings (that I was supposed to go to as the direct and sole result of the positive test)   that he reported to the Board just two weeks after the October 4th appended test.

The test was sent as a “clinical” specimen intentionally. PHS is not a clinical provider but a monitoring agency. They cannot send clinical samples.   But since clinical samples are “protected health information” and under HIPAA the lab had to give me the records and here you have them.

The distinction between “forensic” and “clinical” drug and alcohol testing is black and white.  PHS is a monitoring program not a treatment provider.  The fact that a monitoring agency with an MRO asked the lab to process and report it as a clinical sample and then used it forensically is an extreme outlier in terms of forensic fraud.  The fact that they collected it forensically, held it for 7 days and changed it from “forensic” to “clinical” to bypass strict “chain-of-custody” requirements  deepens the malice.  The fact that they then reported it to the Board as a forensic sample and maintained it was forensic up until now makes it egregious.   But the fact that the test was changed from “positive” to “invalid” on October 4th, 2012 and Sanchez then reported me to the Board on October 23rd 2012 for “noncompliance,” suppressed it and tried to send me to Kansas for damage control makes it wantonly egregious.   (they didn’t think I’d ever find out).

Add on that the fact that I’ve been questioning the validity of the test since day 1 and they violated the HIPAA Privacy Rule over and over and this is reckless and major health care fraud.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 7.19.15 PM

Fax from PHS to USDTL on July 19th, 2011 asking that my ID #1310 be added to an already positive test and a “chain-of-custody” be “updated”

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 7.18.51 PM

USDTL complies with PHS request to and adds my ID #1310 and a date of collection (July 1, 2011) to an already positive specimen

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 7.18.06 PM

No date of collection, no unique identifier linking specimen to me. Multiple “fatal flaws.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 7.17.49 PM

I file complaint with CAP January 12, 2102. CAP forces USDTL to amend test from “positive” to “invalid” which they do on October 4, 2012. PHS conceals this fact until December 11, 2012

Letter from Chief of Toxicology at MGH–Ignored by PHS, USDTL, and the BORM         11:5:12-Dr. Flood Letter–Ignored by PHS:USDTL:BORM

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 7.32.59 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 3.23.20 AM

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 6.14.30 PM

Please Sign Petition and Call (617-727-6200) MA State Auditor Suzanne Bump to Demand Audit of Corrupt Physician Health Services and the MA BORM Physician Health and Compliance Unit

Screen Shot 2013-11-26 at 10.37.42 AMOr better yet, sign the petition and call her.  The evidence that Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS) is committing crimes has been free-floating for the past two years.   It has been posted on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, blogged, faxed, and phoned.  The response?  Absolute silence.

The procedural, ethical and criminal violations are clear and many.     The incontrovertible evidence has been directly delivered to individuals who should address this but for some reason do not.  This is not a matter of opinion folks but a matter of fact.    Time and time again we hear of  egregious misconduct hidden for decades because of  cognitive dissonance and blinkered apathy.

What evidentiary standard is required for action?   Over the past three years and under a lot of duress I have obtained indefensible documentary prima facie  proof of  crimes committed by individuals that should elicit immediate action but produced nothing but silence.

The crimes are many and they are of significance.  Accountability necessitates both the provision of information and justification for one’s actions.   This group has effectively blocked both of these. With much effort and under threat I have obtained proof of criminal activity with the expectation that the provision of this information would  result in those who should and could do something about it would.   They have not.

The documentary evidence of crimes is self-evident.  It is indefensible.    It is inexcusable that criminal activity is taking place within the walls of the Massachusetts Medical Society.   The fact that PHS is unregulated and without any meaningful accountability is irrelevant.  They are engaging in criminal activity within the walls of an institution that whose foundation is the antithesis of this groups actions and it must be addressed. Either support what the documents show or do something about it.

So please sign this petition and call  Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne Bump at 617-727-6200

Institutional injustice just like that being committed by Luis Sanchez, Linda Bresnahan and the corrupt MRO Wayne Gavryck is killing doctors across the country.  They need to be held accountable.  Help me hold them accountable.

 

IMG_8564Please Sign Petition to Expose Corruption in the Medical Profession

%d bloggers like this: