Collusion between state physician health programs (PHPs) and commercial drug testing labs using non-FDA approved drug and alcohol tests

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I recently offered 25,000 dollars in prizes to anyone who could disprove that Dr. Luis Sanchez committed multiple felonies based on documents that provide direct evidence of a chargeable crime.  No additional evidence is needed.  So far no one has been knocking at my door and nary a call from anyone.

How can we interpret this?   Are the prizes not worthy of the time involved in such an endeavor?  No, I think there is something for everyone including 2oo volumes of the Classics in Medicine. A  current listing on Amazon is listing 187 volumes for almost $5000 and in addition to this I am offering dozens of 1970s skateboards, 2 vintage Schwinn Krate bikes, autographs from polio vaccine pioneers Sabin and Salk, multiple signed and one-of-a-kind items related to Boston politician James Michael Curley, a menu, cocktail menu, matchbook and other very rare items from Boston’s Cocoanut Grove which was the site of the  deadliest nightclub fire in history in 1942, signed lithographs and prints from Warhol and Keith Haring and a signed poster from Adam Ant.  So the prizes are not chopped liver and burnt toast.  The prizes are worthy so in a time or work/benefit analysis the benefits are high. What about the time or work involved?  Would the work and time it takes to disprove this claim make it not worth the effort like trying to prove some logic or mathematical theorem? The James Randi Educational Foundation offered 1 million dollars to anyone who could prove that homeopathy works but no one has claimed it yet.  Why?  Because homeopathy does not work.  My challenge is fairly simple as the documents are a quick read and the claims direct and specific.  All one has to do is read the documents in search of acts that might be considered crimes and use a legal reference to see if they correspond to criminal code. If your examination of the documents finds everything is on the up-and-up or just one or two acts commensurate with felonies then the prizes are yours.  A simple task that should take less than an hour or two.  So why is no one knocking at my door?  No one is knocking for the same reason the million dollar homeopathy reward hasn’t been claimed.  The reason no one is knocking at my door is because Luis Sanchez did in fact commit multiple felonies.  I could double the prizes, give you everything I own and offer my very soul but there would still be no one knocking.

So the question for us is this, how is it possible that an individual contracted by a state agency could commit felony crimes that are documented by direct evidence and not be called on it?   The crimes include flagrant forensic fraud no different from Annie Dookhan who faked, forged and fabricated some 60,00 samples at the Massachusetts crime lab.  Fabricating evidence is fabricating evidence so how is it possible that this fabrication of evidence has not been identified and addressed by anyone?  First of all there is no direct oversight or independent oversight to state physician health programs (PHPs).  Not one agency exists that can accept a complaint, investigate it and punish offenders.  Second, there is an inability or unwillingness to investigate or punish the offenders for various reasons.  PHPs have portrayed themselves as allies to law enforcement and have requested they defer to them any issues related to physicians.   When crimes are reported to local and state police and other law-enforcement agencies they are deemed the illusory product of a diseased mind. States Attorneys General legally represent occupation board. Policy dictates they side with medical boards so individual doctors are rebuffed if they ask for help. The FBI will not investigate.  I was told unless the AGO requested it or a public outcry ensued they would not address any issues regarding physician health programs including laboratory fraud and diagnosis rigging. This inability or unwillingness to meaningfully investigate the offenders is a pervasive problem and represent a total systems failure. No one is minding the minders and no one wants to mind the minders. The agencies that could and should investigate crimes are taking a “not-my-problem” stance.  The medical boards have agreed to absolute deference to PHPs and additionally have individuals or groups within the board who are able to block, deflect and otherwise dismiss information implicating the state PHP. All of the documents seen below were provided to Physician Health and Compliance Board counsel Deb Stoller beginning in 20111 but she apparently kept all the documents to herself.  Her ethical obligation when being provided with evidence of forensic fraud and other crimes was to notify the proper authorities.  She did not. She suppressed all of the information with direct evidence of crimes, an act that is much more grave and vile than Dookhan as the documents show collusion between the MA PHP and one of the drug testing labs used by almost all state PHPs.  The documents provide direct evidence of lab fraud and falsification of evidence that is clear and specific.  No alternative explanations exist.  Concealing this type of misconduct just allows it to continue and what is seen here is not rare.  I have heard from many many doctors who claim they were given bogus tests at this very same lab.   Sadly I have heard of many suicides related to these very same tests.  Faced with the “not my problem” stance of agencies that could and should do something but did not these doctors became hopeless and helpless and killed themselves out of despair. Their locus of control was completely lost and their was no lifeline.  Selective application of the law is the root of government corruption and destroys the moral authority of the government. It inevitably leads to collapse and chaos.  The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine has ignored these documents for five years and assert that the PHP has not committed any crimes because they have not been charged with any crimes.  Nonsense and logical fallacy.  The PHP did commit crimes and so too did Board attorney Deb Stoller when she was given direct evidence of them–misprision of a felony in multiples.

Ignoring misconduct not only allows it to continue it allows it to spread.   The plan is to spread these same non-FDA approved of unknown validity and easily manipulated with no accountability to other populations  including students and kids.  It was also recently suggested that the organization Luis Sanchez is past president of, the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP)  be put in charge of national public policy for not just doctors but for everyone.

The simple fact is that doctors are being subject to diagnostic rigging and forensic fraud and nobody cares. This is by design and fueled by the anti-doctor sentiment spread by these same groups with propaganda meant to spread the bogus dangers of a hidden cadre of drug addled and besotted doctors.  It doesn’t exist but the stature of doctors in the public eye has suffered because of the mythology they created.  Don’t get me wrong as any doctor with a substance abuse problem or addiction should be removed from practice and not be able to practice until safe to do so. But that is not what is happening here.

The majority of doctors being monitored by state physician health programs do not have a problem.  They have loosened the diagnostic criteria so that essentially anyone referred to them is given a diagnosis and treated.  Why? Because it is a money maker.  All costs are out-of-pocket and no insurance is involved.  The “PHP-approved” assessment centers all charge around $ 4500 for an “assessment” which inevitably leads to a 3-month inpatient stay for treatment to the tune of about $80,000.   This is then followed by a five-year monitoring contract with random drug and alcohol testing 1-3 x per week.  That is a total of 260 to 780 tests and the laboratory developed tests are not cheap. You do the math.  The drug and alcohol assessment and testing industry makes a pretty penny off this operation and they want to bring it to you-It is in fact a Trojan horse.

So by ignoring this type of misconduct it will only get worse.  People tend not to get concerned unless it impacts them.  This will.  Someday you or a family member may be in this same situation.  It boggles my mind that doctors can be given diagnoses when they do not meet the criteria for the given diagnosis and this is confirmed by outside independent experts.  This occurs because those giving the diagnosis have no accountability. They have removed themselves.  But in actual fact this is political abuse of psychiatry. It is egregious.

Diagnosing someone with a disease they do not have should be a never event. The perpetrators should not only have their licenses removed but they should be punished for the crime.   Forensic fraud should also be a never-event but as seen below it is done without fear of sanction-by fax no less.  Giving false diagnoses and fabrication of drug and alcohol tests are actions that should never be tolerated.  Not even once.  How can this be happening in the United States of America?   Unless people speak up this will only escalate.  Below is a detailed analysis of the multiple crimes used for the $25,000 challenge.  Give it a read and try to disprove the claim that Luis Sanchez committed multiple felonies. If you can you win all the prizes. If you can’t then I ask that you be outraged and do something about it as you or someone you love may be next.  Ignoring this type of misconduct is not going to make anything better.




Fraud is distinguished from negligence, ignorance, and error by virtue of the fact that it is intentional. Fraudulent intent is established by examining the documentation of decisions and behaviors of those involved.

Innocent parties don’t normally alter documents or conceal information.

Innocent parties don’t normally “update” donor ID numbers  or  lab reports to “reflect that chain of custody be maintained as requested in the document below faxed from Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS) to United States Drug Testing Laboratories (USDTL) on July 19th, 2011.

The lab report PHS is referring to is seen below which is positive for the alcohol biomarker phosphatidylethanol at a level of 365.4 ng/ml   (cutoff level for a positive test is 20 ng/ml.

Note both the chain of custody and Donor ID # are listed as 461430 and there is no collection date, collectors name or location listed.   The specimen was received on  July 8, 2011 and reported on July 14, 2011 according to the document.     On July 19th, 2011 Mary Howard requests that a collection date of July 1st, 2011 be added and that the Donor ID #  be changed from  461430 to #1310.

What is the significance of this?    My unique identifier for  for random drug and alcohol testing is #1310 and I had this same test drawn on July 1st, 2011.

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The document are from the USDTL “Litigation Packet” received December 3, 2011 which can  be seen here:   USDTL-LitigationPacket12:2011

USDTL “updated” the test. The document below shows they added my ID # and a collection date of July 1, 2011.

It is the responsibility of the Medical Review Officer (MRO) to make the final determination as to whether or not the positive result reported by the laboratory is reported to anyone else.

The previous Medical Director of the Massachusetts PHP, Physicians Health Services, Inc. (PHS) for fourteen years, Dr. Luis Sanchez, is also a past President of the FSPHP although PHS did not enter into formal partnership with the FSPHP until 2013. The Director of Program Operations at PHS, Linda R. Bresnahan, MS, is the current Secretary of the FSPHP.

PHS, inc. exclusive use of out of state treatment programs has been challenged. In the past PHS, Inc. has adamantly refused to allow physicians to be evaluated in State despite it being one of the medical hubs of the country. Physicians in Massachusetts who are referred for evaluation in Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, and West Virginia as PHS has convinced the Board that only these facilities are ‘experienced in the assessment and treatment of health care professionals.” In actual fact the medical directors of all of these preferred facilities are also ASAM physicians with the vast majority being in 12-step “recovery” themselves and a close colleague if not friend of the medical director of the state PHP.

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

― Thomas Paine 

Our minds tell us, and history confirms, that the great threat to freedom is the concentration of power. Government is necessary to preserve our freedom, it is an instrument through which we can exercise our freedom; yet by concentrating power in political hands, it is also a threat to freedom. Even though the men who wield this power initially be of good will and even though they be not corrupted by the power they exercise, the power will both attract and form men of a different stamp.”  

—Milton Friedman


Dr. Luis Sanchez, M.D. served as the Medical Director of Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS) for 15-years.  Massachusetts state Physician Health Program (PHP) for 15-years.  He retired in March 2013 and Dr. Steven Adelman . Sanchez also served as President of the national organization for state PHPS, the  Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP).Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 6.44.29 AM

The “PHP-blueprint” is being promoted as a “new paradigm”  with a success rate twice that of other treatment programs (80%).  With numbers this high, the argument goes, why bother with anything else?  The attached slides are from a presentation Sanchez gave at a legal issues conference.  His presents the ACGME definition of professionalism that includes competencies in altruism, accountability, excellence, duty, honor and integrity, and respect for others.    Sanchez also addressed these topics in an article he wrote for the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) entitled  Disruptive Behaviors Among Physicians.  In thiis article he discusses a “medical culture of safety” with “clear expectation and standards.” Sanchez affirms the importance of values and codes-of-conduct in the practice of medicine, and calls on physician leaders  to “commit to professional behavior.”

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PHS Director of Operations Linda R. Bresnahan has also been involved in leadership positions at the FSPHP including acting a Executive Secretary and Interim Executive Director.

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.

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.


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

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“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. TheyScreen 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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 )

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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2. USDTL document confirming PHS knew the test was amended 67-days before they said they did.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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USDTL willingly complied with this request.

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

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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.

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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.

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Reefer Madness Redux: Is your doctor a marijuana user? Maybe you should ask.

The article below was recently published on “social media’s leading physician voice” KevinMD.com.  A previous piece by the same author attempted to connect marijuana to heroin use.  Interestingly, this type of archaic rigid paternalistic chatter is becoming more and more common in the articles and social media of healthcare.   How, and more importantly why, is this type of tripe and rabble getting past editorial review?   It is 2016 not 1958!  Disappointingly, this absurd and sexist rant has generated a mere 20 comments thus far with the majority being negative.  I do agree with the apt and accurate observations of “FEDUP MD” who states the following:

“The answer is not that cut and dried.

Do I want a surgeon who is clinically impaired from marijuana operating on me at the time, who just smoked a joint before entering the OR? No.

Do I care if a surgeon two weeks ago went to Aspen on vacation, smoked a perfectly legal joint at his hotel, and now is operating on me two weeks later? No.

Both come up the same on a drug test.”

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Is your doctor a marijuana user? Maybe you should ask.

Marijuana use today is not limited to the poor, the marginalized among us; nor is it kept in the inner city, as it pretty much was when I was a kid. Now it is widespread, even legal in some states. One might even make the argument it has become a substantial part of the life of the elite, the affluent of America. And when we think of elite and powerful individuals among us, do we rule out doctors? I think not.

So when I read a reader’s comment to a piece I wrote recently about marijuana and its possible connection to heroin, I was not surprised when one person rejected my ideas 100 percent. He went on to say why, and used the term “weed” once or twice in doing so. I said to myself, “Now here is a person who knows firsthand a bit about marijuana use. ” His use of the term, “weed,” told me this. He no doubt possesses more than a passing interest in the subject. Others who commented seemed to share his opinion — but not all.

My understanding of drugs and their impact on lives comes largely from my lifelong occupation as a social worker. Lots of years of doing social work in many settings including a couple of years working among the Sioux of South Dakota.  In those mid-sixties, years alcohol abuse on the reservation was rampant, and hardly a new story.  Drugs had not yet arrived.  Drugs are there now big time and the situation is horrendous, awful, drugs and alcohol together.  And I believed the conditions could not become worse than what I witnessed.   Well, they could, and they have.

There is another side to my experience, however.  As a much younger person, I dated, while living in Boston, a heavy user of marijuana.  She also took LSD regularly, which tells you how long ago this happened.  I didn’t meet the woman in the conventional way, a bar or some sort of social gathering (no Internet or on-line dating services then).  No, I met the lady at an airport north of Boston: Plum Island Airport, quite near the ocean.  I am a private pilot, and I had landed my two-seater Piper J3, and struck up a conversation with her, and offered her a ride, which she immediately accepted, and thereupon our romance began.  Straightforward enough, I hope you agree.

The J3 is a wonderful airplane, old and slow, but lots of fun to fly.  There is no starter.  You have to get out and spin the prop to start the engine — very old school.  Women seemed to love my J3, except that it wasn’t mine; it was a loaner.

Pilots incidentally are often a fairly conservative lot.  Not a great deal of alcohol or drug abuse among us.  Of course, there are glaring exceptions, but most pilots I know learned quickly that mistakes in aviation can and often are deadly.  There are no dented fenders.  I noticed too that doctors seem drawn to flying in considerable numbers.  They often have the best equipment — I never saw a doctor in a J3 — which I gather they can well afford.  And I should add that I never met a woman pilot/doctor, by the way.

They also were involved in many accidents.  Why?  It is complicated, I suppose, but doctors are busy fellows who might find a couple hours of free time, rush to the airport and were soon airborne.  Not a lot of time to practice, as in practicing takeoffs and landings.  No time for that, but in aviation as in medicine, practice makes perfect, or near perfect.  Also, I think confidence is an issue.  For doctors, at least the ones I was acquainted with, were seldom lacking in confidence, and were, therefore, capable of getting into flight situations they may have been completely unprepared for and untrained to deal with.

So my new friend, Ellen, and I dated.  She was open and very upfront with me about her heavy marijuana use.  She claimed she drove better when she was high, reminding me repeatedly of this as she weaved in and out of traffic on the Mystic River Bridge leading into Boston.  I’d hold my breath, and occasionally recommended she slow down.  She seldom did.   But still, I enjoyed Ellen’s company, and went along for the ride for easily a year or more.  I won’t say her drug use drove us apart, but it did not bring us closer together either, which leads me to this (likely unpopular) observation, and query: How many doctors entering the workplace these days have more than a casual connection to marijuana?  I know the same question can be asked regarding alcohol, but I am not asking that question here, and it is, after all, my essay.

 What if there were an admissions question upon entering medical school, and it went something like this:  How would you describe your use of marijuana?  Often, once in awhile, or never.  Of course, answers to such a query would be totally unreliable, for obvious reasons.  No one would admit to marijuana use when applying to medical school.

My friend and I parted after a time.  She never said as much, but I suspected she found me a bit dull.  She eventually moved back to Virginia, and last I heard, she had wed and had a family.  Good for her.  So no bad ending here.  Maybe that’s what everybody was expecting — what I was leading up to — but you don’t get that.

But I will say this much.  I continue to be a fussy pilot, and when I travel on an airliner, which these days happens less often — I always peek into the cockpit upon entering to see who is sitting in the left-hand seat.  That’s where the pilot in command sits.  I like to see an older man there, a bit stout and maybe balding or gray-haired.  (Please don’t ask me about female pilots.)  I know such a fellow is likely experienced.  He has survived a long time, is my guess.

If I were to find a young Robert Redford-type in that left-hand seat, I would become uneasy and not fully sure of what I was getting myself into.

So the point I am making here is this:  I am clearly discerning as to the skill and condition of an airline pilot, someone I seldom see, so why should I not be really picky when it comes to doctors I select, and whether or not they use marijuana regularly, or even at all?

Raymond Abbott is a social worker.

Image credit: Shutterstock.com 

 

 

 

Competent, Ethical and Fair Legal Representation for Doctors —A Possible New Niche area for Lawyers.

Wretched creatures are compelled by the severity of the torture to confess things they have never done and so by cruel butchery innocent lives are taken; and by new alchemy, gold and silver are coined from human blood.– Father Cornelius Loos (1592)  “PHP-Approved Attorneys” My survey has revealed an additional factor stacking the deck and removing accountability from […]

https://disruptedphysician.com/2015/05/29/competent-ethical-and-fair-legal-representation-for-doctors-a-possible-new-niche-area-for-lawyers/

Competent, Ethical and Fair Legal Representation for Doctors —A Possible New Niche area for Lawyers.

Wretched creatures are compelled by the severity of the torture to confess things they have never done and so by cruel butchery innocent lives are taken; and by new alchemy, gold and silver are coined from human blood.– Father Cornelius Loos (1592)


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 “PHP-Approved Attorneys”

My survey has revealed an additional factor stacking the deck and removing accountability from PHPs.  The attorneys ostensibly representing doctors are also part of the racket.

A doctor referred to a PHP will be given a list of 3 or 4 attorneys by the PHP who are “experienced in working with the medical board.” What they do not tell you is that theses attorneys are hand-picked or cultivated to abide by the rules dictated by the PHP.

They will not “bite the hand that feeds” and any procedural, ethical or criminal misconduct by the PHP will not be addressed.     Laboratory fraud, false diagnoses, and Establishment Clause violations are off limits.

The primary purpose of these attorneys is to enforce payment for laboratory fees and demand compliance with whatever the PHP demands.  Their primary purpose is to keep doctors powerless under the PHP and prevent misconduct, including crimes, from being discovered.

The attorney pool is currently over-served by those serving two clients and most of those outside simply do not know enough about the “physician health”  legal issues related to doctors.  When they appear before the board it is as if they are a deer in the headlights.  It is a new terrain where all due process and familiar protocol have been removed.  Of course this was all facilitated by changes in administrative and medical practice acts orchestrated by the physician health movement “in the interests of protecting the public.  This must be recognized and addressed.

Skilled negotiators and lawyers with administrative law experience would do well to consider representation for doctors before medical boards regarding “physician health” matters.

It is not that esoteric, complicated or difficult.   As with the rest of the population, most have just not critically analyzed the issues behind the curtain.

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Disrupted Physician 101.4–The “Impaired Physician Movement” takeover of State Physician Health Programs

These ASAM “addiction experts” have become so numerous they have been able to take over almost all the state Physician Health Programs (PHPs). Their national association—the Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP)–has a stated goal of universal acceptance of the 12-step doctrine: lifelong abstinence, and spiritual recovery as the one and only treatment, as spelled out in the “PHP Blueprint.”

Very much like Straight, Inc in the 70s and 80s, they have cast a wide net with doctors to ensnare them in an endless loop of drug testing and rehab—whether the tests are fabricated or not. The doctors will enjoy no sympathy from the public, and complaining about it is deemed a sign of your “disease.” Furthermore, ASAM recommends that physicians only be referred to “PHP approved” facilities.

The medical directors of these facilities can all be found on this list of ”Like-Minded Docs.” Surprisingly, many Like-Minded Docs were former addicts and alcoholics, some even with criminal backgrounds. There are felons and even double-felons on the list.

It’s a rehab shell game. Heads I win tails you lose.

And the program is expanding. The organization that oversees the licensing for all medical doctors, the Federation of State Medical Boards, adopted a new policy and approved the concept of “potentially impairing illness” and the Orwellian notion of “relapse without use.”

Signals for “impairment can be as benign as not having “complete accurate, and up-to-date patient medical records” according to Physician Health Services, the Massachusetts PHP. Despite the overwhelming amount of paperwork Doctors now have, incomplete or illegible records could be construed as a red flag, since as Associate Direct of PHS Judith Eaton notes “when something so necessary is not getting done, it is prudent to explore what else might be going on.” The question is, who is next?”

Disrupted Physician

Forget what you see
Some things they just change invisibly–Elliott Smith

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Physician Impairment

The Sick Physician: Impairment by Psychiatric Disorders, Including Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, published by the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Council on Mental Health in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 1973,1 recommended that physicians do a better job of helping colleagues impaired by mental illness, alcoholism or drug dependence. The AMA defined an “impaired physician” as “a physician who is unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients because of mental illness or excessive use or abuse of drugs, including alcohol.”

Recognition of physician impairment in the 1970s by both the medical community and the general public led to the development of “impaired physician” programs with the purpose of both helping impaired doctors and protecting the public from them.

IMG_1010The 1975 media coverage of the deaths of Drs. Stewart and…

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Physician Suicide, Organizational Justice and the “Cry of pain” Model: Hopelessness, Helplessness and Defeat

They can be a terror to your mind and show you how to hold your tongue
They got mystery written all over their forehead
They kill babies in the crib and say only the good die young
They don’t believe in mercy
Judgement on them is something that you’ll never see
They can exalt you up or bring you down main route
Turn you into anything that they want you to be–Bob Dylan, Foot of Pride


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Although no reliable statistics yet exist, anecdotal reports suggest a marked rise in physician suicide in recent years. From the reports I am receiving it is a lot more than the oft cited “medical school class” of 400 per year.

This necessitates an evaluation of predisposing risk factors such as substance abuse and depression, but also requires a critical examination of what external forces may be involved in the descent from suicidal ideation to suicidal planning to completed suicide.  What are the cumulative situational and psychosocial factors in physicians that make suicide a potential option and what acute events precipitate the final act?

Depression and Substance Abuse no Different from General Population

The prevalence of depression in physicians is close to that of the general population 1,2 and, if one looks critically at the evidence based literature, substance abuse in medical professionals approximates that of the general population.  Controlled studies using DSM diagnostic criteria indicate that physicians have the same rates (8-14%) of substance abuse and dependence as the general population,3 and slightly lower rates compared to other occupations.4,5 Epidemiological surveys reveal the same. Hughes, et al.6 reported a lifetime prevalence of drug or alcohol abuse or dependence in physicians of 7.9%, markedly less than the 14.6% prevalence reported in the general population by Kessler.7

Job Stress and Untreated Mental Illness Risk Factors

Job stress coupled with inadequate treatment for mental illness may be factors contributing to physician suicide according to one recent study. Using data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, Gold, Sen, & Schwenk, 2013 8 compared 203 physicians who had committed suicide to more than 31,000 non-physicians and found that having a known mental health disorder or a job problem that contributed to the suicide significantly predicted being a physician. Physicians were 3.12 times more likely to have a job problem as a contributing factor. In addition, toxicology testing showed low rates of medication treatment.  The authors concluded that inadequate treatment and increased problems related to job stress are potentially modifiable risk factors to reduce suicidal death among physicians. They also warned that the database used likely underestimated physician suicides because of “underreporting and even deliberate miscoding because of the stigma attached.”8

Few studies have evaluated the psychosocial stressors surrounding physician suicide but there is no reason to believe they are any different from the rest of the population. Although the triggering life events and specific stressors may vary outside, the inner psyche and undercurrent of thoughts and feelings should remains the same.   Perhaps the same drivers of suicide identified in other populations are contributing to physician suicide.

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Perceived Helplessness, Hopelessness, Bullying and Defeat

Perceived helplessness is significantly associated with suicide as is9 Hopelessness10,11 Bullying is known to be a predominant trigger for adolescent suicide12-14 One study found that adolescents in custody who were bullied were 9.22 times more likely to attempt suicide than those were not bullied.15

Heightened perceptions of defeat and entrapment are known to be powerful contributors to suicide.16,17 The “Cry of Pain” model 18,19 specifies that people are particularly prone to suicide when life experiences are interpreted as signaling defeat which is defined as a sense of “failed struggle” or loss of social position and resources.. The person is unable to identify an escape from or resolution to a defeating situation, a sense of entrapment proliferates with the perception of no way out, and this provides the central impetus for ending ones life. There is a helplessness and hopelessness that precipitates the descent from ideation, to planning, and then to finality.

Organizational Justice Important Protective Factor

In a study on Italian and Swedish female physicians, degrading experiences and harassment at work were found to be the most powerful independent variables contributing to suicidal thoughts.20 Degrading work experiences harassment, and lack of control over working conditions were found to be associated with suicidal thoughts among Italian and Swedish male university physicians.21

Evidence exists for the role of rescue factors (i.e. social support) as buffers against suicide in the face of varying degrees of life stress.22,23 The study of female physicians revealed meetings to discuss stressful work experiences as a potential protective factor, 20 and support at work when difficulties arose appeared to be a protective factor for the male physicians.21   In line with this, studies of Finnish physicians found that control over one’s work and organizational justice were the most important determinants of work-related wellbeing.24,25 Organizational justice has been identified as a psychosocial predictor of health and wellbeing26 27 Low organizational justice has been identified as a notable risk factor for psychological distress and depression.28,29

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Historical Precedent-the Suicides at Ridgeview

Could these factors be playing a role in physician suicide?   They evidently did at the Ridgeview Institute, a drug and alcohol treatment program for impaired physicians in Metropolitan Atlanta created by G. Douglas Talbott. Talbott helped organize and served as past president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and was a formative figure in the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Impaired Physician Program. He has owned and directed a number of treatment facilities for impaired professionals, most recently the Talbott Recovery Campus in Atlanta, one of the preferred referrals for physicians ordered into evaluation and treatment by licensing boards.

After creating the DeKalb County Impaired Physicians Committee for the Medical Association of Georgia, Talbott founded the Georgia Disabled Doctors Program in 1975 in part because “traditional one-month treatment programs are inadequate for disabled doctors.” According to Talbott, rehabilitation programs that evaluate and treat the rest of the population for substance abuse issues are incapable of doing so in doctors as they are unlike others. He bases this uniqueness on “incredibly high denial”, and what he calls the “four MDs,” “M-Deity”, “Massive Denial” “Militant Defensiveness”, and “More Drugs.”30

Contingency Management = Extortion Using Medical License

According to Talbott, “impaired doctors must first acknowledge their addiction and overcome their ‘terminal uniqueness’ before they can deal with a drug or alcohol problem.” “Terminal uniqueness “ is a phrase Talbott uses to describe doctors’ tendency to think they can heal themselves. “M-Deity” refers to doctors “being trained to think they’re God,”31 an unfounded generalization considering the vast diversity of individuals that make up our profession. This attitude, according to some critics, stems from the personal histories of the treatment staff, including Talbott, who are recovering alcoholics and addicts themselves. One such critic was Assistant Surgeon General under C. Everett Koop John C. Duffy who said that Ridgeview suffered from a “boot-camp mentality” toward physicians under their care and “assume every physician suffering from substance abuse is the same lying, stealing, cheating, manipulating individual they were when they had the illness. Certainly some physicians are manipulative, but it’s naïve to label all physicians with these problems.”32

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) President (1981-1983) LeClair Bissell was also highly critical of Talbott’s approach. Bissell, co-author of the first textbook of ethics for addiction professionals33 when asked if there was any justification to the claim that doctors are sicker than other people and more vulnerable to addiction replied:

“Well, based on my treatment experience, I think they are less sick and much easier to treat than many other groups. I think one reason for that is that in order to become a physician…one has to have jumped over a great many hurdles. One must pass the exams, survive the screening tests and the interviews, be able to organize oneself well enough to do examinations and so on, and be observed by a good many colleagues along the way. Therefore I think the more grossly psychotic, or sicker, are frequently screened out along the way. The ones we get in treatment are usually people who are less brain-damaged, are still quite capable of learning, are reasonably bright. Not only that, but they are quite well motivated in most cases to hang on to their licenses, the threat of the loss of which is frequently what puts them in treatment in the first place. So are they hard to treat? No! Are they easy patients? Yes! Are they more likely to be addicted than other groups? We don’t know.”34

“I’m not much for the bullying that goes along with some of these programs,” Bissell commented to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution in 1987.31   The constitution did a series of reports after five inpatients committed suicide during a four-year period at Ridgeview.35 In addition there were at least 20 more who had killed themselves over the preceding 12 years after leaving the treatment center.32

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Bissell, the recipient of the 1997 Elizabeth Blackwell Award for outstanding contributions to the cause of women and medicine remarked: “When you’ve got them by the license, that’s pretty strong leverage. You shouldn’t have to pound on them so much. You could be asking for trouble.”31 According to Bissell: “There’s a lot of debate in the field over whether treatment imposed by threats is worthwhile…To a large degree a person has to seek the treatment on his own accord before it will work for him.”31

A jury awarded $1.3 million to the widow of one of the deceased physicians against Ridgeview,36 and other lawsuits initiated on behalf of suicides were settled out of court.35

The Constitution reported that doctors entered the program under threats of loss of licensure “even when they would prefer treatment that is cheaper and closer to home.” 37 The paper also noted that Ridgeview “enjoys unparalleled connections with many local and state medical societies that work with troubled doctors,” “licensing boards often seek recommendations from such groups in devising an approved treatment plan,” and those in charge are often “physicians who themselves have successfully completed Ridgeview’s program.”37

The cost of a 28-day program for nonprofessionals at Ridgeview in 1987 was $10,000 while the cost was “higher for those going through impaired-health professionals program,” which lasted months rather than 28 days.32

In 1997 William L. White interviewed Bissell whom he called “one of the pioneers in the treatment of impaired professionals.” The interview was not published until after hear death in 2008 per her request.   Noting her book Alcoholism in the Professions38 “remains one of the classics in the field”, White asked her when those in the field began to see physicians and other professionals as a special treatment population. She replied:

“When they started making money in alcoholism. As soon as insurance started covering treatment, suddenly you heard that residential treatment was necessary for almost everybody. And since alcoholic docs had tons of money compared to the rest of the public, they not only needed residential treatment, they needed residential treatment in a special treatment facility for many months as opposed to the shorter periods of time that other people needed.”39

Talbott claimed a “92.3 percent recovery rate, according to information compiled from a five-year follow-up survey based on complete abstinence and other treatment.”40

“There is nothing special about a doctor’s alcoholism,” said Bissel

“these special facilities will tell you that they come up with really wonderful recovery rates. They do. And the reason they do is that any time you can grab a professional person by the license and compel him or her into treatment and force them to cooperate with that treatment and then monitor them for years, you’ll get good outcomes—in the high 80s or low 90s in recovery rates—no matter what else you do.”39

“The ones I think are really the best ones were not specialized. There were other well-known specialty clinics that claimed all the docs they treated got well, which is sheer rot. They harmed a great many people, keeping them for long, unnecessary treatments and seeing to it that they hit their financial bottom for sure: kids being yanked out of college, being forced to sell homes to pay for treatment, and otherwise being blackmailed on the grounds that your husband has a fatal disease. It’s ugly.”39

Stanton Peele’s “In the Belly of the American Society of Addiction Medicine Beast” describes the coercion, bullying, threats and indoctrination that are standard operating procedure in Talbott’s facilities.41 Uncooperative patients, “and this covers a range of sins of commission or omission including offering one’s opinion about one’s treatment,” are “threatened with expulsion and with not being certified-or advocated for with their Boards.”41 The cornerstone of treatment is 12-step spiritual recovery. All new patients are indoctrinated into A.A. and coerced to confess they are addicts or alcoholics. Failure to participate in A.A. and 12-step spirituality means expulsion from the program with the anticipated result being loss of one’s medical license.

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From a talk given by FSPHP

Fraud, Malpractice, False Diagnoses and False imprisonment

In May 1999 Talbott stepped down as president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) as a jury awarded Dr. Leonard Masters a judgment of $1.3 million in actual damages and an undisclosed sum in punitive damages for fraud, malpractice, and the novel claim of false imprisonment.42 The fraud finding required a finding that errors in the diagnosis were intentional. After being accused of excessive prescribing of narcotics to his chronic pain patients, Masters was told by the director of the Florida PHP that he could either surrender his medical license until the allegations were disproved or submit to a four-day evaluation. Masters agreed to the latter, thinking he would have an objective and fair evaluation, but was instead diagnosed as “alcohol dependent” and coerced into the Talbott recovery program. He was forced to stay in the program under threat of his medical license as staff would routinely threaten to report any doctor who questioned any aspect of their diagnosis or treatment to their state medical boards “as being an impaired physician, leaving necessary treatment against medical advice”42  which would mean the loss of his licensure. However, Masters was not an alcoholic. According to his attorney, Eric. S. Block,  “No one ever accused him of having a problem with alcohol. Not his friends, not his wife, not his seven children, not his fellow doctors, not his employees, not his employers, No one.” 43  He was released 4 months later and forced to sign a five-year “continuing care” contract with the PHP, also under continued threat of his medical license. Talbott faced no professional repercussions and no changes in the treatment protocols were made. Talbott continued to present himself and ASAM as the most qualified advocate for the assessment and treatment of medical professionals for substance abuse and addiction up until his death last year.44

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Same System Imposed on Doctors Today—Institutional Injustice Worse due to Laboratory Developed Tests. Fortified Scaffold and Tightened the Noose.

In almost all states today any physician referred for an assessment for substance abuse will be mandated to do so in a facility just like Ridgeview. There is no choice. There is one difference however.   When the Ridgeview suicides occurred the plethora of laboratory developed tests were not yet introduced. A decade ago Dr. Gregory Skipper introduced the first laboratory developed test for forensic testing and used it on doctors in physician health programs.   These non-FDA approved tests of unknown validity presented a new unpredictable variable into the mix with a positive test necessitating another assessment at an out of state treatment facility—a “PHP-approved” assessment facility. The addition of this laboratory Russian Roulette renders the current system much worse than it was at the time of the Ridgeview suicides.

And if a positive test occurs there are no safeguards protecting the donor. LDTs are unregulated by the FDA. There is no oversight and no one to file a complaint with.

In addition the PHPs have no oversight by the medical boards, departments of health or medical societies. They police themselves. The PHPs have convinced law enforcement that when it comes to doctors it is a “parochial issue” best handled by the medical community. I have been hearing from doctors all over the country who have tried to report crimes to the local police, the state Attorney General and other law enforcement agencies only to be turned back over to the very perpetrators of the crimes. “He’s a sick doctor, we’ll take care of him.” The “swift and certain consequences” of this are an effective means of keeping the rest of the inmates silent.   Likewise doctors have been going to the media only to have the door slammed in their faces because the media has generally bought in to the “impaired” and “disruptive” physician construct these same people developed through propaganda, misinformation and moral panics and crusades.

tireddoctor

Urgent Need to Admit to the Problem

There has been an increase in physician suicide in the past decade.   By my estimate the numbers are going to be far higher than the oft-cited 400 per year. The speculation as to cause has been unenlightening and in fact frustrating.   Knowledge of anatomy, access to dangerous drugs, increased workload and even student loans have been proposed as contributing factors. Although there has been some tangential mention of physician health programs it has been indirect. Direct and defined discussion is necessary and state PHPs need to be named as a possible contributor to suicide.  Admitting the possibility there is a problem is the first crucial step in defining and addressing the problem.    The 1980s historical precedent is correlated with physician suicide.  The current system is not only based on Ridgeview but has been fortified in scope and power.  The physician health movement has effectively removed due process from doctors while removing answerability and accountability from themselves. And they have not only fortified the scaffold but widened it from substance abusing doctors to all doctors. “Potential impairment” and “relapse without use” were introduced without any meaningful resistance and they are now using a panoply of non-FDA approved laboratory developed tests of unknown validity to test for substances of abuse in a zero-tolerance abstinence based monitoring program.  With no regulatory oversight the stage is set not only for error but misuse as witch-pricking devices for punishment and control.  Doctors across the country are complaining of the very same abuses Leonard Masters did–false diagnoses, misdiagnosis, unneeded treatment and fraud.

In summary, any doctor who is referred to their state PHP today is required to have any assessment and treatment at a “PHP-approved” facility based on Ridgeview.  It is mandated.  There is no choice.  Coercion, control and abuse at Ridgeview was associated with multiple suicides in doctors in the 1980s.  The use of non-FDA approved tests of unknown validity worsens the abuse and fits the “cry of pain” model of hopelessness, helplessness and despair. Locus of control is  lost.  Organizational justice is absent.

The temporal relationship is clear.

Why is this still the elephant in the room?

This needs to be named, defined and openly discussed and debated.  How many more must die before we speak up?

Please help me get the conversation going.

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  20. Fridner A, Belkic K, Marini M, Minucci D, Pavan L, Schenck-Gustafsson K. Survey on recent suicidal ideation among female university hospital physicians in Sweden and Italy (the HOUPE study): cross-sectional associations with work stressors. Gender medicine. Apr 2009;6(1):314-328.
  21. Fridner A, Belkic K, Minucci D, et al. Work environment and recent suicidal thoughts among male university hospital physicians in Sweden and Italy: the health and organization among university hospital physicians in Europe (HOUPE) study. Gender medicine. Aug 2011;8(4):269-279.
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  25. Heponiemi T, Kuusio H, Sinervo T, Elovainio M. Job attitudes and well-being among public vs. private physicians: organizational justice and job control as mediators. European journal of public health. Aug 2011;21(4):520-525.
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  28. Hayashi T, Odagiri Y, Ohya Y, Tanaka K, Shimomitsu T. Organizational justice, willingness to work, and psychological distress: results from a private Japanese company. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Feb 2011;53(2):174-181.
  29. Lang J, Bliese PD, Lang JW, Adler AB. Work gets unfair for the depressed: cross-lagged relations between organizational justice perceptions and depressive symptoms. The Journal of applied psychology. May 2011;96(3):602-618.
  30. Gonzales L. When Doctors are Addicts: For physicians getting Molly Kellogg is easy. Getting help is not. Chicago Reader. July 28, 1988, 1988.
  31. King M, Durcanin C. The suicides at Ridgeview Institute: A Doctor’s treatment program may be too tough, some say. Atlanta Journal and Constitution. December 18, 1987a, 1987: A12.
  32. Durcanin C, King M. The suicides at Ridgeview Institute: Suicides mar success at Ridgeview with troubled professionals. Atlanta Journal and Constitution. December 18, 1987, 1987: A13.
  33. Bissell L, Royce JE. Ethics for Addiction Professionals. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden; 1987.
  34. Addiction Scientists from the USA: LeClair Bissell. In: Edwards G, ed. Addiction: Evolution of a Specialist Field. 1 ed: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated; 2002:408.
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  36. Ricks WS. Ridgeview Institute loses $1.3 million in suit over suicide. Atlanta Journal and Constitution. October 11, 1987, 1987: A1.
  37. King M, Durcanin C. The suicides at Ridgeview Institute: Many drug-using doctors driven to Ridgeview by fear of losing licenses. Atlanta Journal and Constitution. December 18, 1987b, 1987: A1.
  38. Bissell L, Haberman PW. Alcoholism in the Professions. Oxford University Press; 1984.
  39. White W. Reflections of an addiction treatment pioneer. An Interview with LeClair Bissell, MD (1928-2008), conducted January 22, 1997. Posted at http://www.williamwhitepapers.com. 2011.
  40. Williams c. Health care field chemical dependency threat cited. The Tuscaloosa News. January 16, 1988, 1988: 16.
  41. Peele S. In the Belly of the American Society of Addiction Medicine Beast. The Stanton Peele Addiction Website (accessed March 28, 2014) http://web.archive.org/web/20080514153437/http://www.peele.net/debate/talbott.html.
  42. Ursery S. $1.3M verdict coaxes a deal for doctor’s coerced rehab. Fulton County Daily Report. May 12, 1999b 1999.
  43. Ursery S. I was wrongly held in alcohol center, doctor charges. Fulton Count y Daily Report. April 27, 1999a 1999.
  44. Parker J. George Talbott’s Abuse of Dr. Leon Masters MD ( http://medicalwhistleblowernetwork.jigsy.com/george-talbott-s-abuse-of-leon-masters ). Medical Whistelblower Advocacy Network.

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Report: Shortage of 90,000 Physicians by 2025

Hoosier Econ

tireddoctor

In a report prepared for the Association of American Medical Colleges a grim outlook was given concerning physician supply in the United States. Here is what was found:

    Demand for physicians continues to grow faster than supply, leading to a projected shortfall of
    between 46,100 and 90,400 physicians by 2025

The report can be read here. Much of the shortage will be from stronger demand of people getting on Obamacare.

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The Elephant in the Room: Physician Suicide and Physician Health Programs

The Elephant in the Room: Physician Suicide and Physician Health Programs.

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Accountability is  rooted in organizational purpose and public trust.  Unfortunately, humanitarian ideals have been trampled by the imposition of corporate front groups who advance  hidden agendas under guises of science and scholarship  and patinas of benevolence.  Rife with conflicts of interest, these groups obfuscate, mislead and exploit us to further an underlying political and corporate agenda.  Healthcare and medicine has been infiltrated by various groups that pose a serious threat to both the humanitarian and evidence based aspects.

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Physician Suicide

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Physician Suicide 101: Secrets, Lies & Solutions by Dr. Pamela Wible, M.D.,  will hopefully serve as a stepping-stone to start discussing the elephant in the room; Physician Health Programs (PHPs) and their relationship to physician suicide.

The current state-of-affairs in these once benevolent programs that served a dual purpose of helping and protecting the public from “impaired” physicians is one of unrestrained managerial authority and absolute power with no meaningful oversight, regulation or accountability.

Moreover, the authority bestowed on this group is both illegitimate and irrational. The Federation of State Physician Health Programs is composed of American Society of Addiction Medicine “specialists” in “Addiction Medicine.”

The ASAM is not even recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties as a bona fide specialty. It is a Self-Designated-Medical-Specialty; an AMA term used to keep track of what any group of doctors is calling themselves.

In fact, American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABMS) “board certification” is little more than a diploma mill.

Yet these “specialists” are now in charge of ALL things related to PHYSICIAN HEALTH.

Many of the physicians running these programs had their licenses revoked and got them back by claiming salvation through the good graces of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step methodology. Many have felony convictions. Some have double felonies.

At best we have unqualified zealots. But one major problem I have heard over and over again from physicians forced into these programs is an absolute lack of justice, empathy and even civility by those in charge.

Misconduct, fraud, and even crimes are being reported.

Perhaps the 12-step salvation is just a ruse for some of them; a convenient cloak under which to hide all manner of abuse with impunity and immunity.

These individuals have been granted unrestrained managerial prerogative and absolute power over doctors. They decide not only who to monitor but how that monitoring proceeds in every last detail. Our fates, literally, lie in the hands of this group. No more physicians should die by this system of institutional injustice, bullying and pseudoscience. The conflicts-of-interest are abhorrent and would be incomprehensible in any other venue.

Isn’t it time we take charge? And the solution is fairly simple.

Oversight, regulation, and auditing by OUTSIDE groups. That is how it’s done everywhere else. Why do these guys get a pass?  Why would anyone be against procedural fairness and transparency in any situation? These are legitimate questions.

State Medical Societies, Departments of Public Health, the American Medical Association, the American Council on Graduate Medical Education, the Institute of Medicine and other Accreditation and Professional Organizations need to start addressing this.

It is a public heal emergency that is not going away.  It needs to be addressed directly and with urgency.

Accountability is without exception.   Hopefully this article will succeed in framing certain questions for the medical profession; questions that we all need to think about now before the door closes for good.

Physician Suicide 101: Secrets, Lies & Solutions by Pamela Wible, M.D.

Physician Suicide, the “Impaired Physician Movement” and ASAM:  The Dead Doctors at Ridgeview Institute under G. Douglas Talbott, by Michael Langan, M.D.

http://youtu.be/FNoLigQzp5M

Disrupted Physician

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

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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.

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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.

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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”

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

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

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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

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