February 13, 2002
Judith A. Holtz-Rock
Dear Ms. Holtz:
I have received your letter of February 6th in response to mine of September 27th, 2001. In this letter, you simply dismiss the matter of Dr. Krizek, stating that the matter is closed. That may be true with respect to the courts. The action, however, was instigated by your office, and your office is now allowing aggressive and callous efforts to collect an unjust penalty, calculated by an arbitrary method. That effort can and should be simply stopped.
Attorneys for the Department of Justice are simply agents for the principal (in the case, the OIG). Courts are arbiters for the contesting principals. The OIG must be accountable for its use (or misuse) of the court system. It cannot simply wash its hands after a defendant has been unable to overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles to righting a wrong.
Dr. Krizek and his wife are being pursued for a $300,000 judgment that they cannot pay. I think the current status is that the government is not going to evict them from their home and throw them out into the streets of Washington, DC-maybe because it could generate bad press-but it may seize their rental properties on which they are dependent for income in their old age, Dr. Krizek having been unable to earn a dime from practicing his profession, while paying legal fees, since the OIG began to pursue him in the early 1990s. The property may be worth more than the judgment, but lenders are reluctant to make a loan to anyone who has a government judgment hanging over his head.
What has happened to the Krizeks is not supposed to happen in the United States of America. The government never suffered a demonstrable loss, and many impoverished, severely ill patients received dedicated care. In fact, Dr. Krizek was probably very much underpaid. Throughout the Kafkaesque procedure, there were violations of due process and outright disregard for the truth. Yet the government continues to proclaim that physicians are not punished for honest errors!
If the Public Affairs Office is powerless to intervene, you could at least make a referral. I understand that there is an Office of Professional Integrity, which is open to complaints about abuses by investigators, prosecutors, and other persons within the executive branch of our government. Could you provide contact information?
Jane M. Orient, M.D.