Post election the threats to freedom in medicine have never been greater
Jane M. Orient, MD
Post election the threats to freedom in medicine have never been greater

Dear Colleague,

Post election 2012, the threats to freedom in medicine have never been greater.

We face it on every front: Medical boards, insurance companies, hospitals, and the federal government. Nearly every government and corporate entity is trying to interfere with the practice of medicine.

Medical boards are harassing physicians. Insurance companies are refusing to pay for out-of-network physicians. Sham peer review at hospitals is driving out good physicians. Patients are even losing their ability to obtain a genuine second opinion anymore.

And if that weren’t enough, onerous maintenance of certification requirements burden us further. Some States are even seeking to make costly maintenance of certification a condition of licensure!

Our legal efforts to defend the practice of private medicine have never been busier, or more important. With your help, AAPS is doing more than ever to save our profession.

Here are some highlights of what we have achieved in 2012:

In October we put the Texas Medical Board, which bullies physicians at four times the rate of other States, on trial in federal court. This precedent-setting trial, for which there will be closing arguments in February, has sent a strong message of reform and accountability to all state medical boards. We put its Executive Director on the witness stand.

We also stood up against a hospital that summarily suspended one of our members, and our General Counsel obtained a federal court order restraining and forbidding the hospital from reporting the summary suspension to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) – perhaps the first federal injunction of its kind ever.

Unlike most other medical societies, AAPS defends practicing physicians. Many others gave up when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare in June, but we moved forward with our AAPS lawsuit that raises important claims never addressed in the unsuccessful States’ case.

We will present to a U.S. Court of Appeals our argument that ObamaCare violates the Fifth Amendment protection against a “taking” of private property. Our lawsuit against ObamaCare will give the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to correct its mistake last June.

We consistently help physicians in legal cases that matter most to the entire profession, and when no one else will. But our continued work on these important issues depends entirely on your support.

When a member of AAPS was excluded from a hospital after criticizing its administration, AAPS successfully filed an amicus brief on his behalf with a U.S. Court of Appeals.

The hospital refused to consent to our amicus brief, which is typical behavior by hospital attorneys and administrators. But then the federal appellate court ordered the hospital to respond to our filing, and the court fully accepted our brief.

And here is another highlight from 2012: when we learned that Ohio was a pilot state for imposing board recertification as a requirement of licensure, we stood up against allowing private certification boards to impose their costly burdens on all physicians as a condition of practicing medicine.

With our members in Ohio, AAPS sounded the alarm bells, demanded and obtained internal records about this from the state medical board under the Public Records Act, and woke up our colleagues who were not aware what was being done to them. As a result, the Ohio medical board voted NOT to impose board recertification as a condition of maintenance of licensure, AND ITS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR THEN RESIGNED.

We cannot achieve these stunning results without your support. Unlike the AMA with its lucrative coding monopoly, AAPS is supported entirely by the support of individual physicians.   If you are not already a member, please join us today!

If you are already a member or are not quite ready to join, a tax-deductible donation to our legal arm, the American Health Legal Foundation (AHLF), will help its important work continue. THANK YOU!

Yours for freedom,

Jane M. Orient, M.D., Executive Director