Correspondence from Ken Christman, MD:
You guys are fantastic! Thanks for uncovering the Chuck Denham story and the $11.6 million bribe, with the connection to National Quality Forum (NQF). This is a real smoking gun, and we should devote all our journalistic expertise to uncovering more and publicizing this corruption. I think it is also very relevant to the antitrust lawsuit against ABMS.
In my last article on MOC/MOL in the Journal of AAPS, I detailed some of the circuitous connections between Christine Cassel and Richard Baron (ABIM) and National Quality Forum. Christine left her lucrative job at ABIM to head up NQF, while Richard Baron left NQF to head up the ABIM!! Coincidence? I think you can safely say that there is a serious connection between MOC and NQF. Who funds NQF? Well, lots of folks do, including CMS (Medicare/Medicaid). Furthermore, NQF has direct access to federal legislators! It is a built-in lobbying machine.
Just a little side trip about Medicare, which claims healthcare is so tight that it cannot afford to pay doctors for what they do. Rather, they use a flawed SGR system in which they yearly threaten to DECREASE the already miniscule physician compensation schedules by 20 to 25%. Meanwhile, hospitals and other preferred entities enjoy huge yearly INCREASES in Medicare reimbursements. Please also be aware that hospitals are compensated at roughly 180% for facility fees for the EXACT SAME THING as compared to physician reimbursements. Talk about discrimination and favoritism. Well, the AMA pretends to be very concerned about SGR and is “trying to fix it”. For the most part, whenever the AMA tries to “fix anything”, watch out. If the AMA seriously wanted to fix SGR, they could have insisted that the fix be part of ObamaCare, but no, the AMA endorsed ObamaCare without the fix. Now, the AMA is claiming that both sides of the dangerous and notorious aisle are interested in solving SGR. But, they’re saying that balance billing is a non-starter. Furthermore, the AMA is now saying that we might have to agree to 10 years of no reimbursement increases in order to get rid of SGR!!! What? That’s not a fix at all. We’ve already had 12 years of virtually no increases in reimbursements, thanks to SGR, and the AMA wants to voluntarily commit to another 10 years!! The AMA is totally nuts, and we need to expose what they’re doing to us, and, quite frankly, make it clear that the AMA does NOT represent us. Well, one point of this little detour is to pose the question of the government not being able to afford reasonable physician compensation, but yet can afford huge amounts of subsidies to a public-private venture called NQF? Isn’t this way off limits to Medicare?
Well, back to the corruption scandal at NQF and Dr. Chuck Denham. It seems that Bob Wachter, who himself was chair of the ABIM, runs in the same circles as Chuck Denham and the rest of the criminals. However, now that Dr. Denham has been caught in this little bribery scheme, wherein he was promoting products of CareFusion through his committee chairmanship at NQF, all his previous buddies are deserting him. Wachter, pretending to be truly concerned about “quality”, says he should have listened to his “spidey sense”, whatever that is. If he is referring to a spider’s web, we can all be certain that there is a labyrinthine web that still has to be uncovered, and we need to hone in on this thing. These people are all criminals, and are all involved in so many of these “quality” entities that it isn’t even funny, and they are feeding each other. If you check out Dr. Patrick Romano, he actually looks like part of the mafia with those dark shades. And. Romano claims he didn’t know anything about this. Of course not. Neither did Dr. Peter Provonost, who has been advocating a whole bunch of stuff in the name of quality. NQF is so full of “quality” people, and there are so many committees, I’m sure Christine Cassel has not been able to sort them out yet. Of course, she’s claiming Dr. Denham was long gone by the time she got there. But, she herself has her own agenda, as does Richard Baron. They’re scamming physicians via MOC, and there is a clear conflict of interest. They are all criminals, and they are all trying to enrich themselves in the name of quality. There is a lot here, and I think this corruption needs our full attention, investigation, and perhaps even ABMS depositions can uncover more fraudulent activities, which I am absolutely certain is there.
I have written an article entitled “Why Patients Should Avoid Doctors Who Re-certify”, and I suppose it will be in the next issue of the Journal of AAPS. The purpose was to primarily expose the mechanisms involving NQF, Choosing Wisely, MOC, governments, insurers, hospitals, and all the other “stakeholders” to control physician behavior. THIS WILL BE CONTROLLED via MOC, and it is already beginning. Patients need to know this, and my intent was to have physicians distribute copies of this article to all their patients, friends, legislators, etc., in order to counteract the garbage the public is being fed about MOC being necessary to “protect” the public interest. Perhaps another article needs to be written about the current corruption of Denham/CareFusion/NQF? By the way, CareFusion is doing so well, in spite of its $40 million fine, that I saw financial experts advising the purchase of call options on this company today!
There is a lot of educating to do. Many legislators are of the mind-set that the public must have MOC for its protection. Even the occasional reasonable and honest legislator is often not aware of the criminal nature of all these “quality” entities like NQF. These entities are everywhere, they are corrupt, and you can bet that they all have their pet products to push in the name of quality.
So, forgive this long e-mail. I hope you’ve read it this far. We must get to work and expose this spidery web.