California Medical Board Appointees "In Shock" over Accusations...

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

On May 1, 2002, the California Legislature, angered at poor performance described by consumers, ordered an "Enforcement Monitor" on the operation of the Medical Board of California. An independent contractor, hired specifically for this task, will report to higher-ups in the Department of Consumer Affairs.

The 18 appointed members of the Medical Board of California (MBC) were called into an emergency meeting Wednesday, April 24, 2002 in San Diego and asked to answer 115 questions about their "board operation" before the May 1, 2002 meeting of the State of California combined-legislative "Sunset Review" committee.

They (the appointed members) were in shock - no doubt about it. They were unable to comply with the Legislature's demand.

Why? Because the staff, wholly responsible for the problems the "sunset" committee was investigating, had NEVER BEFORE TOLD THE APPOINTED BOARD MEMBERS ABOUT THE PROBLEMS. Although complaints had come to the staff for years - this is the first time the appointed members had heard about the problems. The board members, appointed by the Governor and the Legislature, are ultimately responsible for the staff's actions.

The meeting, set up by the staff, was obviously a trick to soft-pedal the problems to the appointed members. The staff's report (history of the problem) was an obvious "misdirection."

Then, at the regular meeting of the Board on May 10, 2002 the staff presented their so-called "operation" to the Board Members. In response, the questions asked of the staff, by the Board members, weren't friendly. It was clear the Board members didn't like being treated like mushrooms.

Can you believe that the STAFF of the California Medical Board has never, before, felt it necessary to tell their BOSSES how they operate? How they pick their victims?

The MBC staff is in BIG TROUBLE.

It looks to me, that in California, right now, MDs that are part of the good-ole-boy network can do whatever they want without fear of MBC investigation - and I mean literally ANYTHING... But MDs that suggest an exercise program, a nutrition program, or a change of lifestyle or eating habits, are targeted with the FULL, AND UNWAVERING INTERESTS, of the MBC gun-toting investigative brigade.

The Orange County Register, California's third largest newspaper, is running a CONSTANT investigative report on the MBC staff's SLEAZY operation. You can read all of their articles by going to http://www.ocregister.com/features/doctors/index.shtml.

All of the problems of the MBC are the result of staff manipulations. The "decision tree" process, used to decide the fate of the 10,600 complaints received, per year, in the MBC office is CORRUPT. About 500 of these complaints per year are selected for "accusation," and further action by representatives of the Attorney General's office.

And that is where the problem is...

It is in the "who makes the decisions, using what guidelines" process that there is so much abuse. The factors used to determine who gets disciplined, and who doesn't, are a well-kept secret. Absolutely BAD doctors, because of their "connections(?)" with MBC staff and so-called expert consultants, need not fear action by the MBC. In fact, it is believed that those BAD doctors may even be "leaked" information about complaints made about them to the MBC - so that their attorneys can send threatening letters to those that complained...

BUT THE STAFF'S DAYS ARE NUMBERED...

For two reasons:

(1) The "Sunset Review" committee appointed an "Enforcement Monitor," to watch the staff on a daily basis. I know who that's going to be, and I have their phone number, etc. It is someone whom we've worked with for years on this problem, already...

(2) Keep the word "indictment" in mind. I predict that the investigation by the OC Register, the San Francisco Tribune, the Legislative "sunset committee," etc., is just the beginning. Where the real action is - is when the State Auditor takes a hard look. We are pushing very hard to see that this gets done - and we'll be providing all the information we have - all that the staff kept us from telling the appointed members of the board about, before...

We know where the bodies are buried...

Tim Bolen

Consumer Advocate