Monday, June 26, 2017

Antitrust Suit Against AOA Proceeds to Discovery Phase in New Jersey

The United States' primary certifying body for osteopathic physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, is set to proceed to discovery in a fraud and antitrust suit in the District of New Jersey after a federal judge in Camden denied the association's motions to dismiss a suit by doctors.

The physician-plaintiffs who sued the American Osteopathic Association have sufficiently stated antitrust claims at the pleading stage stemming from the agency's alleged practice of tying board certification to association membership, U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman ruled Monday. The judge also ruled that the plaintiffs stated a viable claim under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act with their assertions about renewal fees imposed on doctors who had been promised their certifications would not expire.

Hillman also rejected the association's motion to transfer the case to the Northern District of Illinois, near the group's headquarters. The association did not argue that the District of New Jersey is an improper venue, but merely sought a transfer for its own convenience, he said.

This last detail is important, because the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons anti-trust suit against the American Board of Medical Specialties that was originally filed in New Jersey, was allowed to move to the Northern District of Illinois and has languished there since January 2015.


Reference: Duane Morris LLP website press release.


Timothy said...

Glad to see this important anti-trust case moving forward to the discovery phase. In light of the fact that the suit will continue in New Jersey and not in Chicago, shows that this NJ judge has exercised fairness to the injured parties--the AOA-member plaintiff physicians in New Jersey and Pennsylvania who are forced into contract with the AOA through unfair business practices. This will remove the obstacles to justice of procedural stalling and stonewalling by the AOA attorneys. The plaintiffs will now have, we hope a fairer chance to prove that AOA clearly violated federal anti-trust and consumer laws of New Jersey.

The judge is not swayed by the "inconvenience argument" made by the defendants to move the venue to AOA headquarters in the Windy City, where it might also languish forever.

"The place of venue of the plaintiff shall not be lightly disturbed." The judge ruled correctly on this.

Why could not that same legal argument be made in the ABMS anti-trust law suit brought by the AAPS. It was moved to Chicago and has not budged much at all. The judges in that case, if my memory serves, have either died or had some personal traumatic events. Sounds just like the Chicago of old.

Objectively speaking, that ABMS anti-trust case should be moved back to New Jersey as the change in venue to Chicago has only harmed an important case brought by one of the few physician-led organization in America with a backbone.

In that anti-trust case, AAPS versus ABMS, the judge seemed to show bias in favor of the ABMS. Such arbitrary action to move the case to Chicago also perhaps set a biased tone in an attempt to trivialize the claims of the AAPS as somehow frivolous.

But the arguments in that case are far from frivolous. They summon the need to address and act on the same untenable conditions and core of violatory acts, which calls for immediate relief and strong legal protections. This call for remedy and damages paid is very similar to what the AOA anti-trust suit alleges and seeks relief from.

What about Bob and IPC The Hospitalist? said...

Lost in the Chicago Translation

Even ABMS' political spokesperson Bob Wachter, former ABIM chairman and author of more than one ABMS-biased and corporate sponsored blog, trivialized the AAPS and categorized anyone who opposes the ABMS (ABIM) as somehow marginal people when he called the AAPS members to be part of a "fringe group" in America. Wachter implied that his political views represented the vast majority of the country, which Dr. Wachter found out later to be dead wrong.

It was not just a fringe group reaction to MOC and blatant anti-trust violations. As Robert Wachter expressed it correctly later when he realized there is a vast majority of Americans who oppose the tyranny of mandatory MOC. Wachter stated, "The ABIM is in a fight for it very survival." And rightfully so.

Bob "Elton John" Wachter has not published a thing on the subject of MOC since the time he published his apologetic treatise on behalf of the ABIM/ABMS and his close personal political ally and friend Richard Baron.

Incidentally, a whistleblower false claims act lawsuit filed in Chicago against Adam Singer and Robert Wachter's former company, IPC, the Hospitalist, seemed to also languish in court until after a dramatic presidential election altered the political climate and landscape. That case was almost immediately settled and Wachter's company paid $60,000,000.00 to the Department of Justice against charges of billing fraud involving several federal payers.

It can be argued that the Chicago venue and the DoJ attorneys there--regarding Singer/Wachter and their company's false-claims-act whistleblower case--discouraged indictments against Adam Singer, his executive team, and folks like their safety chairman Bob Wachter. We can only speculate as to their reasons.

It is puzzling, however, to many judicial and law enforcement observers why no personal indictments were handed down to the executives and board of IPC, The Hospitalist Company, who were obviously involved in a conspiracy to defraud the federal government, Medicare beneficiaries and other federally protected retirees.

The IPC lawsuit involved only abuse of federal funds and did not include all patient populations served and violated by an aggressive profitable hospitalist company which offered lucrative stock on the US stock exchange.

The charges against other involved states, which were dropped for lack of DoJ manpower to thoroughly investigate the case, and choosing to drop individuals involved in the allegations was plainly wrong. The latter decisions a complete mystery and a disappointing moment in the case.

This individual fraud and accountability goes to the heart of the problem we face with fighting corruption in this country. The fraud continues unabated. Nobody loses their jobs, especially the elitist high-profile ones. In fact they get promoted telling us something about the attitudes of esteemed state and federally funded institutions.

Lost in the Chicago Translation said...

Who always pays in the end

Adam Singer as "corporate innovator" developed real-time monitoring of his Hospitalists. Every hour and minute accounted for. Bob Wachter as innovator and politico "father of the hosptialist movement was fascinated and drawn to the this new tech tool and lucrative company.

An important point has never been brought out in this case. All executives were fully aware of the medicare overfilling in real time through this precise innovative new proprietary software with its monitoring innovations keeping track of key metrics of employees and patients.

What is tragic for justice and law and order in America, there were executive/staff memos and emails which confirmed corporate policies encouraging hospitalists and staff to cheat, based on confirmed verbal and written encouragement to do so. The purpose was to log more hours than actual hours worked. This was done in order to get cash bonuses offered in contract and encouraged through trainers and company pressure far above the base salary.

Hospitalits were being overworked consciously and monitored in real time by executives who marveled at their own ingenuity. These executives were rewarded far above the value of their work with lucrative stock/cash incentives, which were given provided employees met the company's growth models.

Singer and when Wachter "came on board" created the perfect storm for financial success, eschewing safety and honest financial practices, and they concealed this from the public consciously through "institutional masking", manipulation of the narrative through the media and "personal networking".

They did this masterfully and sold the company quickly in a cunning step process, thus closing the door to legal liability for themselves. The 60 million was passed on the the investment firm who bought out the company Team Health, who assumed the debt/liability. The cycle of larceny was complete when the liability and cost was all passed on to unwitting investors.

But what about those reported tragic deaths in Texas as a result of such corporate fraud? Do the investors know about them? Who is accountable for their truncated lives and the families' loss?

The fraud and deaths have still not been addressed in any public forums, talks or debates on safety by the company's wealthy "entrepreneur innovator" or IPC The Hospitalist's "paternal professor".

Anonymous said...

Read the documents and look at the facts involving the AOA's assault on consumers and blatant acts of public fraud. Did I not see racketeering in the complaint?

And what about price fixing and rigging the "MOC markets" in cahoots with the ABMS? Where is the DoJ?

Regardless of what the AOA attorneys do, the only question remains will the AOA settle and make real amends? (We advise the ABMS to follow suit and end the racketeering!)
Or will the AOA (and ABMS) take their chances in court?

Discovery will prove painful and shameful and a jury of their peers will eat them alive.

'T' said...

Meanwhile in Chicago the ABMS mulls their options (choosing poorly)

The American Board of Medical Specialties still does not get it, that times are changing and people have awakened to their thuggery and well-heeled polished scams.

Really to use a felon to protect their racket and attack physicians so ruthlessly! Pure deceit and evil. Violating thousands of innocent people, abusing civil liberties.

What the heck were they thinking? Do they think we are stupid or will go back to sleep? This is not possible and they must be held accountable for the palpable crimes they have committed and the ethical breeches they commit daily in lying to us and fear mongering.

Because of their incapacity for doing the right thing and end mandatory MOC, they are now but a standing hollow trunk, where once stood a tree. A withered circle without trust.

It took them a year to go into locked committees with the rest of their ministry of propaganda (which they dare to call a "quality commission") and this is all they could come up with?

All Things Must Pass - MOC Has Seen Its Last Client said...

From Merry-Land to the AMA to the Federal Elections Commission and Hard Rock Cafe

"Take Five" and learn about history of jazz music and burlesque in DC . . .
and then along came the AMA and the Hard Rock Cafe!

"Douglas Development purchased 999 E Street N.W.
Price: $83,500,000
Seller: The Bluestone Group, NY,NY
Building: 174,072 Sf
Tenants: Federal Elections Commission, Hard Rock Café etc.

Fern Beuretta of Colliers International and Duke Brannock of Summit Commercial Real Estate were the cooperating brokers representing the buyer Douglas Jamal.

In 1983, Duke Brannock represented The American Medical Association and purchased 999 E Street from PEPCO. Brannock also leased the Hard Rock Café the restaurant in 1983."

FEC Moves in on the AMA said...

Moving on, thinking ahead

The irony of it! 999 E Street is no longer the home of the AMA in DC.
999 E Street is now the Federal Elections Commission and Hard Rock Cafe.

Who will move into the offices of the ABMS in Chicago when they're just a memory?
The DoJ? Ben and Jerry's? The Practicing Physicians of America?

AMA Has Plenty of Firepower to Help End Coerced MOC said...

Will the real AMA please stand up


TOTAL RECEIPTS $2,114,478.16 [2015-2016]
Total individual contributions $2,099,958.16
Itemized individual contributions $1,330,350.37
Unitemized individual contributions $769,607.79

The ABMS and AOA Need Guidance from the Wise AMA House of Delegates - no mandatory MOC!

Early signs of cooperation between AMA and AOA (2001 conference credits)

Physicians and patients need a break from mandatory MOC. The AMA should help them out.

A Great Academician said...

Dr. Cohen has smartly never wasted his time on being a MOCademician.
He is grandfathered with an active certificate in internal medicine.

Jordan let ABIM take his critical care certification away after not re-certifying. But ABIM at least shows on their website the original date of certification--at this point anyway.
That may change, we just don't know what they are planning.

And it appears after a fellowship in nephrology Dr. Cohen never felt it was important to certify in nephrology. However, Dr. Cohen has been prolific on the subject with many published articles in major journals.

My objective question is: does the ABMS (ABIM, etc) make one a better physician getting that certification or does it just make one feel better. Kind of a rite of passage.
I am inclined to believe that even certification may be an overvalued piece of paper that even the head of the AAMC did not value enough to get "boarded up" or to keep himself "boarded up".

I think the ABIM and the other boards would be far better off doing certifications and focusing on that, because right now their paper is worth the same as their word--almost zero. Later after a period of probation they could branch back into educational materials, but not mandated ones tied to certification. They are not capable of doing a test, so how could they claim to be expert at CME. Better get it from trusted sources. Reliable ones that are not trying to do harm to you. If they are such educators, they should have realized this by now and not been so stupid and absolutely suicidal.

Moral compass versus the AOA and ABMS said...

Putting "respectable racketeers" ABMS and AOA under the scope

It's not just about anti-trust it is also about academic, personal and public trust.

How about getting all of their testing processes including the copyrighting of scientific knowledge held up to the light of legal, scientific and public scrutiny?

We do not and cannot trust them.

And how about the felonious protection of those "copyrights" evidenced by the insidious violations of constitutional guarantees and personal privacy inflicted by the ABMS/ABIM?

We have been harmed repeatedly and we want those violations to end.

When we hold these organizations and their leadership under the lens and bright light we see pools of hypocrites and cheats.