September 27, 2001
Dear Ms. Holtz:
I have received a draft of an article by David Kettlewell entitled "On the Criminalization of Medicine....In Search of Justice." In this article you are quoted as saying that the OIG is open to complaints and that an OIG investigator found to be taking advantage of physicians would be reprimanded. You state "We have always said, if you know of a case where you feel someone was unjustly accused, send us what you have and we will look into it."
At a recent meeting of the American College of Legal Medicine in Atlanta, I posed the question to Eric Holder as to what could be done once a physician's life was ruined by an unjust investigation. He said be sure to report it to somebody before it was too late. Well, in some instances it is too late already in that a physician may have committed suicide. It is certainly too late to undo five to seven years of torment and legal bills, or to restore the ruined career of an older physician. However, I wonder if the government could not at least stop pursuing the physician in an effort to seize his retirement nest egg. I am referring specifically to the case of U.S. versus Krizek and I refer you to our website www.aapsonsline.org. Under issues and prosecutions, you will find testimony of Mrs. Krizek before Congress in 1998, and a couple of excellent briefs that detail how the government completely misrepresented the CPT Codes in an effort to show that Dr. Krizek had overcharged for his care of Federally insured patients. One can make a very good case that in fact he was underpaid for his services. Apparently the government never backs off or apologizes.
I don't know how many cases of abuse that it takes for physicians to lose confidence in the integrity of the process. I think that one is too many. I would like to hear your thoughts on this specific case. There are many others, but this is the one that offers an opportunity to stop an outrage that is still in progress.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Jane M. Orient, M.D. Executive Director
P.S. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions. This case has been followed extensively in AAPS News and I could send you a compendium of those articles as well as other materials if you are genuinely interested in pursuing this.