Board of Physicians Seeks a Whitewash...
Opinion by Consumer Advocate
December 4th, 2011
Health care is a serious business, but
sometimes I just have to laugh out loud
at the antics of those "we the people"
have been dumb enough to entrust with
administrative function in our health
care system - example: The
Maryland Board of Physicians.
As we all know, the Maryland legislature
issued a two-hundred page report
virtually declaring the physician board
incompetent last week, and hearings have
been scheduled to bring the board to
So, what is the board's response to the
legislature's blast? Two parts:
(1) "We're doing just fine.
The legislature doesn't know what they
are talking about. Look at how we
went after the Geiers," and (2)
"We should bring in an expert to help
us get organized..."
So what expert does the board,
represented by Joshua Scharfstein, want to bring in?
Read the excerpt from the Baltimore Sun, just below:
testimony before the lawmakers, Dr. Joshua
M. Sharfstein, department secretary,
recommended that the board bring in Dr. Jay
Perman, president of the University of
Maryland at Baltimore, to conduct an outside
review. Sharfstein suggested he provide
an interim update during the 2012
legislative session and a full report
afterward – to which Elder said he was
This would require the lawmakers to
extend the board's sunset for another year
so Perman's review could be considered
during the 2013 legislative session. The
auditors suggested that the lawmakers could
consider withholding some of the board's
budget as a means of encouraging more swift
compliance with laws and recommendations in
the meantime. The appropriation in fiscal
2012 was $8.6 million and there were 68 on
staff, 10 fewer than in 2008.
Sharfstein told the committee this was
the time to push for change.
"The sunset review process is one of the
only opportunities for my department and
your committee to assure that the Board of
Physicians is headed in the right
direction," he said.
Let's put Scharfstein's
recommendation into perspective. Basically
mega-arrogant Scharfstein is telling the elected
Maryland legislature that it is they, the
legislature, that is dysfunctional and incompetent,
and that he, Scharfstein, demands that the
legislature SUBMIT their committee analysis of the
Board of Physicians to an outside reviewer of HIS,
Scharfstein's choice. He picks the president
of the University of Maryland Dr. Jay Perman, and
holds up Perman as an independent reviewer.
Perman is an Independent
reviewer? (snort here). The University
of Maryland has FOUR Departments totally tied into
vaccine mega-promotion. The School of Medicine
alone has 468.5 million in grants, a significant
part of which comes from the very US department that
wants to increase mandatory childhood and adult
vaccines, evidenced in the revised 2011 National
Vaccine Plan. It is ranked 17th countrywide in
More, the School of Medicine
has in place the "Center
for Vaccine Development" (CVD). According to
"The CVD is engaged in the full range of vaccinology,
from basic science through vaccine development,
clinical evaluation and field studies."
"The Center heads a
coalition of 16 Middle Atlantic region institutions
seeking to develop improved vaccines, diagnostics,
and therapeutics against smallpox, anthrax,
hemorrhagic fever viruses such as Ebola, and
potentially deadly forms of bacteria such as
E. coli and Shigella.
Faculty and staff
consult with international agencies such as the
World Health Organization, Pan American Health
Organization, Agency for International Development,
World Bank, and the Global Alliance on Vaccines and
Immunization, as well as with individual
Even more of interest is that
an important part of their mission is in:
"Measuring human immune responses to vaccines."
I looked carefully at every
study, research project, etc., I could find on their
website. No where did I find any reference
to any accomplishment of
"Measuring human immune responses to vaccines."
I guess investigating the
effect of an increased vaccine offering, in total,
is simply beyond their abilities (sarcasm intended).
Even though their funding is SIGNIFICANT. You
can see all of that funding
about the idea of an "Independent Monitor?
In November of 2005 I wrote an
Medical Board Hears FINAL "Enforcement Monitor"
Report - and Changes Direction..."
It started out saying:
"This story is about the biggest victory in the
history of health freedom battles EVER.
It was a banner day,
last Thursday, November 3rd, 2005, in California,
for the powerful North American Health Freedom
Movement. Years of hard work, organizing,
button-holing of legislators and the governor's
office, educating the media, making alliances where
we never had before - paid off. In spades...
The once powerful
influence in California health care politics was
broken, years ago now, and, as of last Thursday, the
apparatus it set up to control health care in
California has been dismantled. Health care quality
has, once again, been brought under the control of
the citizens of California. And, things are about
to change radically.
For the California Medical Board is the first State
to officially shift its focus - and will now target,
en masse, and with new muscle, and new funding,
those responsible for
medicine" being the number one killer of
"So, what actually happened?
California Medical Board heard the FINAL report of
Monitor," thrust on them, at our request, by
the California legislature. The Board, and the
board staff, have already adopted, and put in place,
fifty (50) of the sixty-five (65) recommendations in
the FINAL report. Within that report is a
significant change in focus - and the setting up of
the apparatus, including the legislation, and the
additional funding necessary, to go after
doctors - with a vengeance.
California, to its
credit, has become the first State to proactively
address the horrifying fact that
medicine" is the number one killer of
Americans - and do something about it.
I applaud the members
of the California Legislature and the Medical Board
for this LANDMARK action.
The report, frankly a
model for every State, addresses seven basic issues
of enforcement - in detail. The report, upwards of
two hundred (200) pages outlines how an enforcement
agency actually works, and makes recommendations on
how to improve it. Download a copy of this
startling report for yourself, by clicking
In short, the story talked
about, and linked to the final report of the
"Enforcement Monitor" shoved on the California
Medical Board two years before. The board had
NO CHOICE but to follow the orders of the monitor.
The monitoring was provided by the University of San
Diego School of Law,
Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) Division
under the guidance of CPIL
Administrative Director/Supervising Attorney.
Is this what
the Maryland Board of Physicians needs?
Probably - or something even stronger.
The situation that caused the
"Enforcement Monitor" to be shoved on
the California Medical Board was very
similar. I wrote about that back
in 2002. I said:
California Medical Board
Appointees "In Shock" over Accusations...
Sunday, May 12,
Opinion by Consumer
Advocate Tim Bolen
On May 1, 2002, the
California Legislature, angered at poor performance
described by consumers, ordered an "Enforcement
Monitor" on the operation of the Medical Board of
California. An independent contractor, hired
specifically for this task, will report to
higher-ups in the Department of Consumer Affairs.
The 18 appointed
members of the Medical Board of California (MBC)
were called into an emergency meeting Wednesday,
April 24, 2002 in San Diego and asked to answer 115
questions about their "board operation" before the
May 1, 2002 meeting of the State of California
combined-legislative "Sunset Review" committee.
They (the appointed
members) were in shock - no doubt about it. They
were unable to comply with the Legislature's demand.
Why? Because the
staff, wholly responsible for the problems the
"sunset" committee was investigating, had NEVER
BEFORE TOLD THE APPOINTED BOARD MEMBERS ABOUT THE
PROBLEMS. Although complaints had come to the staff
for years - this is the first time the appointed
members had heard about the problems. The board
members, appointed by the Governor and the
Legislature, are ultimately responsible for the
The meeting, set up
by the staff, was obviously a trick to soft-pedal
the problems to the appointed members. The staff's
report (history of the problem) was an obvious
Then, at the
regular meeting of the Board on May 10, 2002 the
staff presented their so-called "operation" to the
Board Members. In response, the questions asked of
the staff, by the Board members, weren't friendly.
It was clear the Board members didn't like being
treated like mushrooms.
Can you believe
that the STAFF of the California Medical Board has
never, before, felt it necessary to tell their
BOSSES how they operate? How they pick their
The MBC staff is in
It looks to me,
that in California, right now, MDs that are part of
the good-ole-boy network can do whatever they want
without fear of MBC investigation - and I mean
literally ANYTHING... But MDs that suggest an
exercise program, a nutrition program, or a change
of lifestyle or eating habits, are targeted with the
FULL, AND UNWAVERING INTERESTS, of the MBC
gun-toting investigative brigade.
The Orange County
Register, California's third largest newspaper, is
running a CONSTANT investigative report on the MBC
staff's SLEAZY operation. You can read all of their
articles by going to http://www.ocregister.com/features/doctors/index.shtml.
All of the problems
of the MBC are the result of staff manipulations.
The "decision tree" process, used to decide the fate
of the 10,600 complaints received, per year, in the
MBC office is CORRUPT. About 500 of these complaints
per year are selected for "accusation," and further
action by representatives of the Attorney General's
And that is where
the problem is...
It is in the "who
makes the decisions, using what guidelines" process
that there is so much abuse. The factors used to
determine who gets disciplined, and who doesn't, are
a well-kept secret. Absolutely BAD doctors, because
of their "connections(?)" with MBC staff and
so-called expert consultants, need not fear action
by the MBC. In fact, it is believed that those BAD
doctors may even be "leaked" information about
complaints made about them to the MBC - so that
their attorneys can send threatening letters to
those that complained...
BUT THE STAFF'S
DAYS ARE NUMBERED...
For two reasons:
(1) The "Sunset
Review" committee appointed an "Enforcement
Monitor," to watch the staff on a daily basis. I
know who that's going to be, and I have their phone
number, etc. It is someone whom we've worked with
for years on this problem, already...
(2) Keep the word
"indictment" in mind. I predict that the
investigation by the OC Register, the San Francisco
Tribune, the Legislative "sunset committee," etc.,
is just the beginning. Where the real action is - is
when the State Auditor takes a hard look. We are
pushing very hard to see that this gets done - and
we'll be providing all the information we have - all
that the staff kept us from telling the appointed
members of the board about, before...
We know where the
bodies are buried...
Yup - We know where the bodies are
buried in Maryland, too. The fun
is just beginning.
Tim Bolen - Consumer