June 24-- Session
ended today with three of the other OPMC bills (7753, 7755, 7756)
passing the Assembly but nothing passing the Senate.
bills were introduced for 2005. Since
the Governor's veto of the 2004 bill, that omnibus bill language
has been broken into 5 seperate bills in order to isolate the controversial
sections from the primary objective of due process reform. The
new DUE PROCESS bill number is S.5057/A.7757
Rights ARE Physician Rights
Rights ARE Patient Rights
bill 5057 / Assembly Bill 7757
Reform the Office of Professional Medical Conduct
there is a well-spring of public protest against OPMC
investigating and penalizing doctors under suspicious circumstances.
Lyme patients have protested OPMC's prosecution of one side against
the other in the debate over chronic Lyme disease. Other patients
in the thousands from mid-state have written letters mourning the
loss of their doctors when OPMC prosecutes vendettas among colleagues.
Complementary and alternative physicians remain targets for harassing
investigations over their genuine differences of medical opinion,
despite the 1994 Law allowing non-conventional
it's important to protect the public from dangerous physicians,
but everyone knows how jealous the profession is -- medical
plots provide most of our public entertainment after murder mysteries!
It stands to reason that if the policing of the medical profession
is too secretive and lacks due process, then it can be used to enforce
bias, suppress science, and oppress the patients of good doctors
who fall out of favor with insurers or competitors.
would fix the system so that both the good doctors and the bad doctors
would find the justice they deserve?
The American answer to that question, since
the Declaration of Independence, has been
- More timely
notice to licensees of the existence and progress of investigations
against them, including a type of bill of particulars so that
they may prepare to mediate or settle disputes sooner in the process.
of the powers and duties of the BPMC, giving the investigative
committees more control over the progress of investigations that
are currently controlled by OPMC staff .
notice to licensees before investigative interviews by OPMC staff.
for licensees to appear before the investigative committees which
may result in settlement or closure more quickly, well before
an adversarial hearing begins.
- Rules of
evidence to include medical and scientific literature for defense
of the practice as well as exculpatory evidence known to the OPMC.
- Rules for
discovery in relation to the qualifications/bias of experts used
by both parties.
- Empower the
ARB to consider new evidence that could exonerate a convicted
hearing on OPMC Process on January 31, 2002 in NYC was attended
by hundreds of patients upset about the treatment of their physicians
by OPMC who they alledge is depriving them of their rights by depriving
them of their doctors. The legislature grilled OPMC leadership for
three hours. Much testimony over the 11 hour hearing targeted HMO
use of OPMC to punish doctors they just don't like.
See FAIM's written testimony
DOH/OPMC's oral testimony transcript
See OPMC controversy in the news
Letter from the Medical Society of the State of New York cited by
the Governor in his veto of the 2004 bill (PDF download).
Email your support to the Governor!
Just say that you support S.5057/7757, the OPMC Due Process bill!
on Specific Cases:
on OPMC Reform:
The Office of
Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), part of the New York State
Department of Health, investigates all reports of possible professional
misconduct by of physicians. Recent prosecutions have revealed serious
flaws in this physician discipline system. Despite the progress
FAIM has fought to gain through the Alternative Medical Practice
ACT of 1994, doctors using complementary or non-conventional therapies
are still suffering in this system when their practices are challenged
50 doctors in th U.S. are being investigated and persecuted for
using effective alternative approaches to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD), Lyme Disease, Allergies, Diabetes and other complex
syndromes causing pain and misery. While many of these physicians-good
reputable docs--are struggling to rescue their reputations, incomes,
and professional lives, their very public ordeals erode the status
and practice of alternative medicine.
who might use new or holistic therapies will instead shy away from
the backlash. Welcome to the Chilling Effect: OPMC can deprive you
of the treatment that could save your life. This article looks through
the heroic struggle of physicians and focuses on the other casualty
of this war against alternative medicine-the patients who use alternative
distracted, the doctor of alternative therapies who is being persecuted
by OPMC, is worried about accruing debt, or even going under in
a legal process which gives little or no recourse but to mount a
very costly defense. When that alternative provider stops treating,
as do other providers offering the same treatment what happens to
Flip Side of Your Right to Choose
Is Your Physician's License to Provide.
to the voices of the patients whose doctors are being prosecuted
by OPMC in New York. The truth of their voices may help you see
how your own rights are threatened.
of the NYS Office of Professional Medical Conduct begins its report
of the Charles Gant case by listing a series of charges brought
against him in highly inflammatory and misleading language. Only
if you really like reading long text on computer screens would you
ever get to the part where it is revealed that the charges relating
to the quality of his medical care have been overturned by a OPMC
hearing panel. In fact, the hearing panel upheld Dr. Gant's methodology,
which relies heavily on using nutritional supplements to treat many
conditions by rebalancing biochemistry, most notably, attention
deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) in children. Further, they
found that, contrary to the charges, Dr. Gant had done no harm to
any of his patients:
unanimously agreed that the Respondent's license should not be revoked.
The record in this case established Respondent was not incompetent
nor did his conduct amount to gross negligence. Nor did they find
that his diagnostic or testing practices were an attempt to reap
excessive financial gain. He was well versed in his type of practice
and was not trying to take advantage of his patients. In mitigation
of the findings of fraud, the committee notes that the use of erroneous
codes was not done for the Respondent's financial benefit since
his practice was one of fee for service."
a quick update on Gant's case
and the "No Science" of OPMC
Trish Monsen has been taking antibiotics regularly for more than
five years under the care of Dr. Burrascano. She is aware of the
risks of long-term antibiotics, she says, but chooses that risk
over the daily battle with painful symptoms. By the time she found
Dr. Burrascano, she had all but given up. "He saved my life, he
really did," Ms. Monsen said. "If it wasn't for him, I can't imagine
what would have happened to me . . . I would be totally devastated
if Dr. Burrascano could no longer treat me. . . .Through this whole
thing, the only thing more scary than being sick was having nobody
to treat me."
Long Island physician Dr. Joseph Burrascano stood trial before OPMC
on negligence charges for medicating some patients for extended
periods of time. The charges focused on the number of weeks a patient
may be prescribed antibiotics, while the "standard preferred by
OPMC would limit the treatment to two to three weeks. Dr. Burrascano's
patients have had good to excellent results with much longer-term
treatment. In the end this truth prevailed and he won, yet the investigations
of other doctors treating lyme disease continue.
The issue centers not only on short term recommended for antiobiotic
treatment vs. the long term used by Dr. Burrascano. True, the medical
community is divided on the dangers and benefits of both approaches,
but the dispute should be fought out in a professional collegial
manner. But further, Dr. Burascanno is a published Lyme expert who
has testified before Congress, has treated 7,000 people from 42
states and 11 countries. Over sixty doctors from 10 states, and
two countries have petitioned for his exoneration calling Dr. B.
"an international leader in establishing comprehensive medical and
ethics standards for the diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses."
New York State's charge against him-that he mistreated nine patients-has
been nullified by the patients themselves who have mobilized in
is a distinguished scientist and healer. Moreover, OPMC only uses
Lyme disease research which sees Lyme as an over-diagnosed and over-treated
illness easily cured. OPMC does not appear to include a single one
of the many legitimate peer reviewed scientific articles which conclude
otherwise. As Monica Miller, FAIM's lobbyist points out, "The State
is taking enforcement measure based on no science" in the Burrascano
investigation. " It goes in the opposite direction of good science
and it is an enforcement measure based on bias [against the alternative
treatment approach]." In addition, insurance companies, especially
HMO's, do not want to pay for these treatments and call them medically
quick update on Burrascano's case
See details on the Hearing Panel's exhonoration
of Dr. B
H. and OPMC's Stingy Testing Code
Mary Jo H. comes all the way from Delaware to New York on a regular
basis to be treated by Dr. Corsello at her office in Manhattan.
The prospect of Dr. Corsello's losing her license creates a nightmare
of contingencies for Mary J. and her progress toward good health
after many years of feeling ill. In her letter to the Chief Counsel
at OPMC she asks the question: "Should you or someone dear to you
be suffering from: a yeast overgrowth; unexplained brain seizures;
hormonal imbalances; depression; fatigue; mercury poisoning; eczema;
hair loss; anxiety attacks and hypoglycemia and not choose to accept
the quick fix of prescription drugs, what right does anyone have
to deny them the hope, skill and knowledge of Dr. Corsello?"
Dr. Corsello has been under attack for l5 years by OPMC, having
spent an enormous amount of time, energy and money to defend her
practice. Some of her devoted patients have established the Corsello
Patient Coalition demanding, through letter writing campaigns, that
the charges be dropped. Another patient, an 80 year old holocaust
survivor, has pleaded: "It would be greatly detrimental to many
sick people if Dr. Corsello would not be allowed to practice. Her
dedication is unquestionable . . . We need her and every physician
like her desperately."
The preeminent accusation against Dr. Corsello by OPMC is of doing
unnecessary testing- comprehensive alternative testing that saves
patients' lives. Because a central tenet of alternative medicine
is the sovereign power of the immune system, one of her major approaches
has been to determine those toxins which are compromising a patient's
natural healing powers. OPMC judgments about testing are based upon
"standard medical practice" which limits the type of testing to
those done by conventional doctors. In addition, insurance companies,
especially HMO's, do not want to pay for these tests and call them
on the Corsello Case,
Phillip P., Kathy S., and Angela R. all have various health complaints
which Dr. Jennifer Daniels of Syracuse has treated successfully
over the years, from Lupus to planter's warts. Their primary fear
is that they will lose the power of preventive medicine that Dr.
Daniels practices, for she is a true integrative physician who combines
both traditional and alternative therapies. Phillip P. says that
should Dr. Daniels stop practicing for good, he would not know where
to turn because he has lost all trust in conventional doctors. For
a decade, Kathy S. has learned the value of diet and lifestyle changes
on her health, and does not want to revert back to more conventional
medical approaches, such as using drugs. Virginia T, sufferng from
Lupus, said "I don't take steroids. With Dr. Daniels, I use herbal
preparations and diet. Frankly, [without her practice] I don't know
what I would do."
Dr. Jennifer Daniels is a superb example of a physician deeply enmeshed
in the community in which she lives. Her activism in protecting
the welfare of her Syracuse inner city has created a level of visibility
for her and her practice that may have instigated opposition to
her communal role as well as to her medicine. In order to defend
herself against OPMC charges of negligence, she has temporarily
closed her medical practice. Once again, a coalition of patients
has come to her support.
Jennifer Daniels is being prosecuted over the treatment of a 21-year-old
man whom she had treated for diabetes and allergies through a combination
of dietary and conventional medicine. After 8 months of non-compliance
to her treatment, he ended up in the ER and a report was submitted
to OPMC citing her negligence. OPMC is clearly punishing Dr. Daniels
for the patient's noncompliance after he stopped seeing her. Dr.
Daniels' case is perhaps one of the most politicized investigations
before the OPMC because of her community activism. In light of her
almost heroic status in the her local area, and the apparent weakness
of the OPMC case against her, this instance clearly demonstrates
the bias of the OPMC against doctors who practice alternative medicine.
on the Daniels Case,
You Can Do to Protect Y our Rights-
The OPMC is on a rampage to slash and burn alternative medical providers
in New York for doing too much testing or using medical therapies
which the Federation of State Medical Boards does not approve. Meanwhile,
the OPMC is exonerating other doctors who kill people (see The New
York Times, "New York Surgeon Cleared of Treating Wrong Side of
Brain") The patients whose doctors are threatened are telling us
in their own words that without these doctors, their well-being,
their health progress, in some cases their very lives are endangered.
of OPMC is, according to their website, "to protect the public through
the investigation of professional discipline issues involving physicians.
. .," a watch-dog mandate for patient care and consumer protection.
Instead, this regulatory agency has demonstrated a dangerous disregard
for patient freedom of choice and a decided bias in their attempt
to destroy the practitioners of alternative medicine.
have no freedom of treatment choice
if your doctor
no license to provide it
public is not served by a run-away agency with the police power
to drive any doctor from the state without
ROOTS ACTION -- CONTACTING LAWMAKERS
At this time supporters of OPMC Reform are urged
you call, you will likely be asked for your zip code, provide that,
and urge that the senator or the governor "Support OPMC
Due Precess Reform, Senate Bill 5057"
may want to use the emails of you wish to say more than just urging
support. If you do, please keep your content brief and to the point,
and be sure to add a "thank you."