his is tape # 5 – Fraudulent Medical Practices

James R Wenn, MD – Moderator – Thank you very much, Dr. Porter, The panel is coming up and taking their seats. I certainly would like to take this opportunity to express my pleasure at all those individuals who have come to be with us today and have taken time out from their hectic schedules to attend this year’s annual meeting. I won’t be able, probably, to personally get around and offer my welcome to you as I would like to, but I would like at this point to tell you collectively, ‘Welcome to Chicago’, and ‘Welcome to the Federation’s 84th Annual Meeting.’ The Federation staff, Board of Directors and leadership is certainly glad that you have chosen to be with us today.

Our first session this morning is entitled: “Fraudulent Medical Practices: Watch and Be Wary.” This topic is particularly timely because of the increased attacks on medical practice acts around the country by a number of proponents and practitioners of alternative medicine. And I think we can agree that some of the unconventional medical treatments DO have merit and at times may be truly medically indicated. But the real problem is how do you differentiate between these types of treatments and the treatments that are harmful, dangerous, or simply worthless. That’s the question that we ask our presenters to discuss today.

Before introducing our speakers, I’d like to remind everyone, that the sessions throughout the meeting are being tape recorded. I would ask our presenters speak clearly and into the microphone and that during the question and answer period repeat any question from the audience.

Our first speaker this morning, is Dr.William Fleming. Dr. Fleming is a member of the Federation’s Board of Directors, and Chair of the Federation’s Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Fraud. Dr. Fleming is also the Chair of the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners and has been a member of that Board since 1990. A Board Certified neurologist, Dr. Fleming received his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine and he is a partner with Memorial Nuerological Associates in Houston, Texas. I ask that you welcome Dr. Bill Fleming.

William H. Fleming, MD – Dr. F: Thank you. As Dr. Wen mentioned, I am Dr. Bill Fleming, currently the Chair of the Federation’s Ad Hoc committee on Health Care Fraud. I must say this has been one of the most entertaining and enjoyable committees with which I’ve been involved throughout my career. I’ve had the chance to work with several outstanding and knowledgeable individuals, two of which you’ll hear from later on this morning and you’ll get a chance to see what I’m talking about.

In April of 1995, Dr. Robert Porter, the President of the Federation, established the Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care Fraud. The members of that committee, include Drs. Joanne Levitt, Paul Steingard, Ralph Stuart, Bryant Golusha and Marilyn Turner. Dr.John Renner, representing the National Anti-Health Care Fraud Committee, Matt Daynard of the FTC, and Dr. Tim Gorski of the Dallas/Fort Worth Council Against Health Care Fraud serve as consultants. Dr. Robert Porter and Dr. Jim West serve as ex officio members. Not included on this slide is Larry Dickson, Executive Director of the Alabama Board who joined the Committee in November.

The charge of the committee was to research, review and evaluate the current status of questionable health care treatment, procedures and/or promotions which may be unsafe and thereby considered a risk to the public’s health, safety and welfare; to research, review and evaluate the current status of questionable health care treatments and procedures and/or promotions which may be worthless and thereby likely to deceive or defraud the public; to develop strategies for recommendations to state medical boards for the regulation and discipline of physicians who engage in unsafe and/or deceptive practices. The committee also agreed to expand this charge to include an educational component, to provide objective information to medical boards, legislatures, physicians and the public regarding the efficacy and potential risk of such questionable health care treatments, procedures and/or promotions.

The committee met twice; once in August and once in November of 1995. We developed preliminary recommendations designed to limit the proliferation of quackery and health care fraud. In its review of health care treatments, procedures and/or promotions likely to deceive or defraud the public, the committee concurred that for the purpose of this report, to limit its recommendations to such practices likely to be provided by allopathic and/or osteopathic physicians. I stress that there’s much work left to be done by the committee, and that this report should in no way be construed as a final report.