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US Senate Investigation May 2012: JCAHO 5th Vital Sign – paid for by Purdue Pharma – causing the epidemic of “iatrogenic” addicition (caused by physicians/medical community).

Swing is alive - OxyContin cd

 Purdue Pharma marketing tool for their fatal/addictive prescription drug OxyContin.
4/5 heroin abusers started with physician prescriptions.

When will this US Senate Investigation be complete?

Lives continue to be lost and addiction is proliferating. We have been at an epidemic status for years.  How many more lives will this cost until this investigation is completed?  This is simply unacceptable to the citizens of the United States.  The citizens you are charge to protect.  The public health safety of the United States continues to be jeopardized by this inaction.

 

Senate_Investigation_Letter

 

May 8, 2012
John H. Stewart
President and Chief Executive Officer Purdue Pharma L.P.
One Stamford Forum 201 Tresser Boulevard
Stamford, Connecticut 06901-3431

Dear Mr. Stewart:
As Chairman and a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, we have a responsibility to the more than 100 million Americans who receive health care under Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP.  As part of that responsibility, this Committee has investigated the marketing practices of pharmaceutical and medical device companies as well as their relationships with physicians and non-profit medical organizations.

It is clear that the United States is suffering from an epidemic of accidental deaths and addiction resulting from the increased sale and use of powerful narcotic painkillers.  According to CDC data, “more than 40% (14,800)” of the “36,500 drug poisoning deaths in 2008” were related to opioid-based prescription painkillers.1  Deaths from these drugs rose more rapidly, “from about 4,000 to 14,800” between 1999 and 2008, than any other class of drugs,2   killing more people than heroin and cocaine combined.3  More people in the United States now die from drugs than car accidents as a result of this new epidemic.4  Additionally, the CDC reports that improper “use of prescription painkillers costs health insurers up to $72.5 billion annually in direct health care costs.”5

In Montana, prescription drug abuse is characterized by the state’s Department of Justice
as an “invisible epidemic” killing at least 300 people per year and contributing to increases in addiction and crime.6 According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today, a “network of national organizations and researchers with financial connections to the makers of narcotic painkillers helped create a body of dubious information” favoring opioids “that can be found in prescribing guidelines, patient literature, position statements, books and doctor education courses.”13  For example, the Sentinel
reported that the Federation of State Medical Boards, with financial support from opioid manufacturers, distributed more than 160,000 copies of a model policy book that drew criticism from doctors because “it failed to point out the lack of science
supporting the use of opioids for chronic, non cancer pain.”14

In a ProPublica story published in the Washington Post, the watchdog organization examined the American Pain Foundation, a “health advocacy” organization that received “nearly 90 percent of its $5 million funding from the drug and medical device industry.” 15   ProPublica wrote that its review of the American Pain Foundation’s “guides for patients, journalists, and policymakers play down the risks associated with opioids and exaggerate their benefits. Some of the foundation’s
materials on the drugs include statements that are misleading or based on scant or disputed research.”16

In 2003, a GAO report pointed to Purdue’s partnership with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) as possible means for Purdue to have “facilitated its access to hospitals to promote OxyContin.”17   The report revealed that Purdue “funded over 20,000 pain-related educational programs through direct sponsorship or financial grants” in addition to
funding the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization’s (JCAHO) pain management programs.18

Although it is critical that patients continue to have access to opioids to treat serious pain, pharmaceutical companies and health care organizations must distribute accurate information about these drugs in order to prevent improper use and diversion to drug abusers.

As part of our effort to understand the relationship between opioid manufacturers and non-profit health care organizations, please provide the following information:

1)  Provide a detailed account of all payments from 1997 to the present between Purdue and the following organizations in table format:

a.   Organizations
i.  The American Pain Foundation
ii.  The American Academy of Pain Medicine
iii.  The American Pain Society
iv.  The American Geriatric Society

v.  The Wisconsin Pain and Policy Study Group
vi.  The Alliance of State Pain Initiatives
vii.  The Center for Practical Bioethics
viii.  Beth Israel Medical Center, Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care
ix.  The Joint Commission (and all related entities)
x.  The Federation of State Medical Boards

b.  Individuals
i.  Russell K. Portenoy, M.D. – Chairman, Department of Pain Medicine And Palliative Care at Beth Israel Medical Center
ii. Scott M. Fishman, M.D. – Chief, Department of Pain Medicine, University of California, Davis
iii.  Perry G. Fine, M.D. – Professor of Anesthesiology, Pain Research Center, University of Utah School of Medicine
iv.  Lynn R. Webster, M.D., F.A.C.P.M., F.A.S.A.M. – Medical Director and Founder, Lifetree Clinical Research & Pain Clinic
v. Rollin M. Gallagher, M.D., M.P.H. – Director of Pain Management, Philadelphia Veteran Affairs Medical Center
vi.  Bill McCarber, M.D. – Founder of the Chronic Pain Management Program for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA
vii. Martin Grabois, M.D. – President, American Academy of Pain Medicine
viii.  Myra Christopher – Kathleen M. Foley Chair for Pain and Palliative Care, Center for Practical Bioethics

c.   For each organization or individual identified in 1(a) and 1(b), provide:
i.  Date of payment.
ii.  Payment description (CME, royalty, honorarium, research support, etc.).
iii.  Amount of payment.
iv.  Year-end or year-to-date payment total and cumulative total payments for each organization or
individual.

2)  All documents and communications from 2004 to the present pertaining to the book, “Responsible Opioid Prescribing: A Physician’s Guide,” distributed by the Federation of State Medical Boards.
a.   Provide the names, titles, and job descriptions of all employees who collaborated with the Federation of State Medical Boards, Dr. Scott Fishman, or third-party contractors on the development of this book.
b.  For each employee identified in 2(a), provide a summary of the work performed pertaining to the book.

3)  All documents and communications from 2007 to the present pertaining to the development or changes to JCAHO’s19 pain management standards, including but not limited to communications with the American Pain Society and other organizations involved in developing JCAHO pain management standards.

4)  All documents and communications from 2007 to the present pertaining to the development or changes to The American Pain Society’s pain guidelines.

5)  All documents and communications from 2004 to the present pertaining to theAmerican Pain Foundation’s Military/Veterans Pain Initiative.

6)  All documents and communications from 2007 to the present pertaining to any policies, guidelines, press releases and/or position papers distributed by the American Pain Foundation.

7)  All presentations, reports, and communications to Purdue’s management team or board of directors from 2007 to the present pertaining to the funding of and/or collaborations with of any of the organizations or individuals specified in request 1(a) or 1(b).

In cooperating with the Committee’s review, no documents, records, data, or other information related to these matters, either directly or indirectly, shall be destroyed, modified, removed, or otherwise made inaccessible to the Committee.

We look forward to hearing from you by no later than June 8, 2012. All documents responsive to this request should be sent electronically, on a disc, in searchable PDF format to my staff. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Christopher Law with Senator Baucus at (202) 224-4515 or Erika Smith with Senator Grassley at (202) 224-5225.

Sincerely,
Charles E. Grassley                                       Max Baucus Senator
Chairman

 
1 CHS Data Brief, No. 81, December 2011 at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db81.pdf.
2 Id.
3 CDC Press Release, “Prescription painkiller overdoses at epidemic levels,” November 1, 2011 at
http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p1101_flu_pain_killer_overdose.html.
4 LA Times, “Drug deaths now outnumber traffic fatalities in U.S., data show,” September 17. 2011
at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/17/local/la-­‐me-­‐drugs-­‐epidemic-­‐20110918.
5 International Business Times, “Prescription Painkiller Overdoses Cost Insurers $72.S Billion Yearly: CDC,”
November 3, 2011 at http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/242437/20111103/prescription-­‐painkiller-­‐overdoses-­‐cost-­‐
insurers-­‐72-­‐5.htm.
6 See the Montana Department of Justice website at http://doj.mt.gov/prescriptionabuse/.
7 Bureau of Business and Economic Research, “The Economic Cost of Prescription Drug Abuse in
Montana”, June 2011    at http://mbcc.mt.gov/PlanProj/Projects/PDMP/Prescription%20Drug%20Abuse%2020110629.pdf.
8 Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, “Iowa Drug Control Strategy: 2012,” November 1, 2011 at
http://www.iowa.gov/odcp/drug_control_strategy/Strategy2012.Final.pdf
9 Id.
10 NY Times, “Tightening the Lid on Pain Prescriptions,” April 8, 2012 at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/09/health/opioid-­‐painkiller-­‐prescriptions-­‐pose-­‐danger-­‐without-­‐oversight.html. 11 NY Times, “In Guilty Plea, OxyContin Maker to Pay $600 Million,” May 11, 2007 at  http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/business/11drug-­‐web.html.
12 See Senate Finance Committee, “Staff Report on Sanofi’s Strategic Use Of Third Parties to
Influence the FDA,” at http://finance.senate.gov/newsroom/chairman/download/?id=69451e85-­‐4d4c-­‐403b-­‐93e0-­‐2d5e7b4010be; ProPublica, “Financial Ties Bind Medical Societies to Drug and Device Makers,” May 5, 2011 at http://www.propublica.org/article/medical-­‐societies-­‐and-­‐financial-­‐ties-­‐to-­‐drug-­‐and-­‐device-­‐makers-­‐industry;       and NYTimes OpEd, “Cleaning Up Medical Advice,” April 30, 2010 at www.nytimes.com/2010/05/01/opinion/01sat3.html.
13 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today, “Follow the Money: Pain, Policy, and Profit,” February
19, 2012 at http://www.medpagetoday.com/Neurology/PainManagement/31256.

14 Id.
15 ProPublica, “The Champion of Painkillers,” December 23, 2011 at http://www.propublica.org/article/the-­‐   champion-­‐of-­‐painkillers.
16 Id.
17 GAO, “OxyContin Abuse and Diversion and Efforts to Address the Problem,” December 2003 at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04110.pdf.
18 Id.

A License to Kill

As pills killed kids, the state shrugged

State health officials fretted about pill mills, and how adult addicts were dying. Nobody realized that the storefront drug dispensaries were killing kids by the dozens.

“In the nondescript shopping plazas dotting Florida, the unchecked prescription drug marketplace was thriving. Called pill mills, the storefront cash businesses operated with the rush and thrill of candy stores, with long lines of pill-popping addicts chasing their next high. Collectively, it was an incubator for child deaths. Since 2008, 123 children have died after DCF had been told that one or both parents were abusing prescription drugs, a Miami Herald investigation found. More than 85 percent of the children were 2 or younger.”

LINK:  http://media.miamiherald.com/static/media/projects/2014/innocents-lost/stories/pill-mills/

Bernard Cantor, MD

Primary prescribing and dispensing physician at this DEA busted Pill Mill

The “owner” of this clinic and many other clinics, Vincent Coangelo, is sitting in federal prison.

LINK:  http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2012/07/vincent_colangelo_gets_20_year.php

Dr. B Cantor is now rising star now, he is teaching medical students!

He has a clear and active medical license and no discipline on file with the FL Board of Medicine

cantor web

DSC_6092

cantor 291 E commercialcantor 1409

 sfl-2011-year-in-photos-20111220-068

License Verification

 

Are you ok with this type of “public health safety”, the mission of the FL DOH/MQA and Boards of Medicine and Osteopathy?

 

Overdose deaths thru 2013

Visit www.stoppnow.com; Dishonorable Tab: “Wall of Shame”

Let’s place the shame where it belongs!

Pill Mill Closed: Doctors STILL Practicing Medicine

Clinic owner charged with running $15 mill. pill mill

Wellness Center of Broward is closed.  But, guess who still retains the privilege of practicing medicine in the state of Florida today 10/23/14?

Dana Richard, DO and George P Jones, MD.

Dr. Richard was previously disciplined for over-prescribing narcotics.

Dana Richard, DO  Dana Richard, DO

This PHYSICIAN prescribed drug epidemic will never end until the FL Medical and Osteopathic Boards do their job, and uphold their mission of “protecting the public health safety of FL citizens”.

 The owner was extradited to Kentucky – yet the physicians are still practicing medicine.  You can’t have a “pain clinic/wellness center/urgent care center without a PHYSICIAN.

The PHYSICANS are the root of this national epidemic.

Joel Shumrak
image002

The owner of a South Florida pain clinic is accused of writing prescriptions for trouble, supplying out of state dealers and drug addicts with some popular pain pills. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has the exclusive.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) — According to federal authorities, $15 million in pain pills traveled through the Pain Center of Broward and into the hands of addicts and drug dealers in Kentucky.

7Skyforce hovered over the scene on Tuesday as the Fort Lauderdale clinic was raided and the clinic’s owner, Joel Shumrak, was arrested. The 66-year-old is accused of running a pill mill.

Carmel Cafiero: “Good morning. Are you Mr. Shumrak?”

Joel Shumrak: “No.”

Carmel Cafiero: “You’re not?”

It was 2012, and it was Shumrak. Carmel Cafiero was questioning Shumrak about Dr. Leonard Haimes, who worked for Shumrak until the doctor’s license was suspended.

The state accused him of prescribing more than 10,000 highly addictive oxycodone and other pain pills to five patients.

Cafiero: “I’d like to talk with you about Dr. Haimes and the suspension.”

Shumrak: “I can’t talk about Dr. Haimes.”

Cafiero: “Why not? This is your clinic. He’s been accused of failing to…”

Shumrak: “Dr. Haimes doesn’t work here anymore.”

Cafiero: “Right, but he was working here when the state claimed.”

Haimes’ license was later revoked, but Shumrak continued in business, until now.

“Thank you, God, that the DEA in Kentucky worked in conjunction with our DEA, federal and closed them down,” said Janet Colbert of  STOPP Now, a group that rallies against pill mills.

Activists have protested at the clinic for years and consider Shumrak’s arrest a success.

Maureen Kielian, also of  STOPP Now, asked, “My question now, this clinic’s closed, what about the doctors? Because you can’t have a pill mill without a physician. They are the root problem. Florida has failed its citizens.”

The clinic was accused of causing the overdose deaths of two of those citizens. Heather Belleme and her boyfriend, Chance Wilson. The claim was settled, but the families’ attorney thinks the clinic should have been closed long ago. “How was he permitted to operate this clinic on a federal highway for three years after my clients had died?” said Attorney Jeffrey Fenster. Federal authorities have seized Shumrack’s assets, including 43 bank accounts, three cars and his Boca Raton home. The business is closed, and there is an eviction notice on the door.

Today (6/5/14) the only ones celebrating are activists who worked to get the clinic closed.

Shumrak will be sent to Kentucky to face the charges. His attorney said his client is pleading not guilty.

LINK:  http://www.wsvn.com/story/25706925/clinic-owner-charged-with-running-15-million-pill-mill

doctors 2 eviction 2image009image013

For rent 2 Front door - doctors patient visit photoimage008

image006DSCN1206Maureen pic for websiteIMG_8637

A doctor’s office with an armed security guard is

“good medicine”?

Yep, that’s Florida!

 

 

pen

facebook cover photo

 

 

“You sold your souls to the devil Ms. Blackburn and Mr. Marino — at the cost of loss of lives in the tens of thousands to addiction and death. “

Congressman Tom Marino (PA) and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN) “prescribe” Walgreens be unaccountable for errors in loss of lives… Why?

“Representatives from Stoppnow attended the Fed Up Rally in Washington, DC last month and scheduled a meeting with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN) to discuss a bill co-sponsored by the congresswoman — HR 4709. The bill was sponsored by Congressman Tom Marino (PA) and passed unanimously in the House of representatives and is on its way to the Senate.”

LINK: http://www.globalnewscentre.com/congressman-tom-marino-pa-and-congresswoman-marsha-blackburn-tn-prescribe-walgreens-be-unaccountable-for-errors-in-loss-of-lives-why/#more-4726

(10/20/14)

Making Change

Stoppnow attended the Fed Up Rally this weekend,September 28th 2014 and marched to the White House. Much needs to be done as evidenced by the 2000 in attendance and those also suffering loss that weren’t able to attend. The reception was held Saturday 9/27/14. As they were showing pictures of lost loved ones I could hear sobbing and visually see uncontrollable shaking from the person sitting next to Maureen. It turned out to ba a young man. Mark was there from Massachusetts with his sister. They had just lost their mother 4 weeks earlier. Mark said that the pills are still coming from Florida.
We had scheduled meetings with offices of Senators and Representatives. One must wonder where the Surgeon General is in all of this. The CDC has named the prescription drug deaths to be a national epidemic for years now. gone are the days when we had a Surgeon General speak out against irresponsible companies “Big Tobacco”. Rear Admiral Boris D Lushniak,MD.,MPH., is acting Surgeon General since 2013, no permanent appointment has been made;But he is Not Acting like a Surgeon General. He is silent.
I must share one meeting that we had with Karen L Summar, MD,MS Legislative Assistant to Congressman Blackburn 7th District Tennessee U.S. House of Representative. I asked Karen Summar if she could explain HR 4709 co-sponsored by Representative Blackburn and sponsored by Representative Tom Marino 10th Congressional District Pa.(HR 4709 passed unanimously in the House). And that we feel it ties the hands of the DEA. She stated that if a pharmacy makes one mistake then the DEA is taking away their license. I asked if she could give us one example since this is not the case in Florida. I had files with me pertaining to Walgreens and their Jupiter Distribution Center. They were cited for clear diversion of prescription drugs.

Oxycodone Purchases by Dosage Unit

Location                                   2009                                  2010                            2011

Hudson,Fl                             388,100                            913,900                       2,211,700

Ft.Myers,Fl                              95,800                              496,100                  2,165,900

Oviedo,Fl                               80,900                              223,500                     1,684,900

Port Richey, Fl                     344,000                              849,000                     1,406,000

Ft. Pierce,Fl                          250,000                             881,400                      1,329,600

Ft Pierce, Fl                          153,500                               507,100                 1,192,000

All of the above are still licensed.  In addition I stated that I had put one in particular aside for Representative Blackburn as it directly relates to her bill.  The Walgreens customer was issued too many pills. The store called the individuals house in an attempt to retrieve the pills.  The store was told by the customers girlfriend that he is a drug dealer and is out selling the pills and he told his girlfriend that he hit pay dirt today. Despite this incident the pharmacy continued to fill his prescriptions. Ms Summar took that Walgreens report. Maureen asked her how she felt about the PDMP. I said that we would like it to be mandatory. She abruptly stood said this meeting is over and left. The meeting lasted less than 5 minutes and was hostile in nature. It was very bizarre and as we gathered our things and walked out she was nowhere to be found.

The Bill is now in the Senate as S-2862 sponsored by Senator Whitehouse and Senator Hatch, changes have been made and it is an improvement over HR 4709 however it is still compromising to the DEA.

We met with the DEA in Arlington, Va on Wednesday October 1st.  What a welcome change, totally different tone. We were with them from 930a-12p. One of their requests of us was to help Legislatively and specifically mentioned Representative Blackburns and Representative Tom Marino of Pa. Bill HR 4709 I explained all of the above.  Maureen is sill in Pennsylvania for a few more days and has been unable to be granted a meeting with Representative Marino’s office

We will be having a follow-up conference call with DEA today.  My goal is still to reduce production. We do not need 114 tons of pills.

I ask all of you to contact your state Surgeon Generals office and request to have the 5th vital sign, that of pain (paid for by pharmaceutical) to be revisited. There does not need to be a standing order for a 30 day supply of opiates for a post-op patient nor for a large amount of them being prescribed by dentists after extraction of wisdom teeth.The public perception of those not touched by this epidemic is to trust their doctor and take as prescribed. They are not  aware that this is a highly addictive drug.

Stay tuned

Position Statement: FL PDMP and “Controlled Substance Prescribers”

9-8-14-revision_stoppnowControlled Substance Prescriber Definitio1

Problems with FL state board disciplining docs

 

This is why FL became known and is known as the OxyExpress.

Mike Deeson, WTSP 7:11 p.m. EDT September 12, 2014

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/investigations/2014/09/12/problems-with-florida-board-of-medicine-disciplining-doctors/15531799/

 

St. Petersburg, Florida — It should come as no surprise the Florida Board of Medicine ranks as one of the worst in the country for disciplining doctors. Last year, 10 Investigates looked at the Board’s record and found it to be abysmal.

Related Story: Despite malpractice settlements, few docs lose licenses

During our investigation, 10 Investigates looked at how the Florida Board of Medicine appeared to be reluctant to discipline or pull a physician’s license even in the most egregious cases.

A prime example is Dr. Gunwant Dhaliwal who we first reported fondling patients’ breasts in 2007. Dhaliwal was first accused in 1999 of doing the same thing. Despite the fact several victims came forth and Dhaliwal was arrested, convicted, served time in jail, and was ordered to pay $800,000 in a civil lawsuit, the Board didn’t hear his case until last year. At that time, only one member of the Board, Dr. Jason Rosenberg argued that Dhaliwal should never be allowed to practice medicine in Florida again.

Rosenberg said at Dhaliwal’s hearing “He [Dhaliwal] was convicted of a crime we consider heinous we should revoke his license. Nothing else is acceptable.”

When he saw his fellow board members were reluctant, Rosenberg said, “What are we telling the citizens of Florida. Your doctor fondles your breasts, gets deprived of his liberty after his day in court and now we’re going to go back and let him practice. Wrong message!”

However, instead of stripping Dhaliwal of his license, the Board suspended him for six months, gave him a $10,000 fine and he is practicing once again in Pasco County under probation. The only restriction is that Dhaliwal must have a licensed female health practitioner chaperone him when he examines a female patient, and the female practitioner has to document she was there in the patient’s records. Otherwise, it’s business as usual for Dr. Dhaliwal and that’s fine with the Board.

Last year, 10 Investigates looked at the Florida Board of Medicine’s record disciplining doctors and found it to be abysmal. WTSP

Despite malpractice settlements, few FL docs lose licenses

This is the root of the problem.  You can not have a pain clinic without a physician.
http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/health/2014/09/12/despite-multiple-malpractice-payouts-doctors-often-keep-practicing/15530643/

Ben Eisler and Mark Strassmann, CBS News 6:02 p.m. EDT September 12, 2014

(CBS News) Dr. James Dunphy met his wife Susie in college. They went to medical school together, got married and had two sons. On a family trip to Florida in 2009, Dr. Susie Dunphy was diagnosed with appendicitis. She had emergency surgery; two days later the 42-year-old bled to death in her hospital bed.

James Dunphy said the hardest part was breaking the news to his two young boys.

“I told them it would be okay, and that I would be their mom and dad now,” Dunphy said.

In the weeks after her death, Dunphy reviewed his wife’s medical file. What he read convinced him that her doctor could have prevented her death. He said his wife’s blood pressure had been critically low for hours after the surgery. But no lab tests or imaging studies were ordered to see what was wrong.

“These are the kind of vitals that anybody with basic training can recognize as abnormal,” Dunphy told CBS News.

Dunphy sued his wife’s surgeon for failing to adequately monitor her after the procedure, blaming him in part for her death.

The surgeon, Dr. Ernest Rehnke of St. Petersburg, denied wrongdoing. But he settled the case for $250,000 – the maximum his insurance policy would pay for a single claim.

A review of Florida records by CBS News found Rehnke has had 11 medical malpractice lawsuit payouts since 2000 – tying him for the most of any practicing physician in Florida. Yet the Florida Board of Medicine, which is responsible for stopping dangerous doctors from practicing, has never restricted his license.

CBS News investigates effectiveness of state medical boards at stopping dangerous physicians. CBS News

CBS News then looked at the 25 doctors with the most malpractice payouts in Florida. CBS News found just four of them lost their licenses – and three of those four only lost them after they had been arrested and charged with either drug trafficking or billing fraud. The fourth lost his license after he failed to comply with the terms of a lesser punishment. In other words, not a single one of them had been stopped from practicing solely for providing poor medical care.

A malpractice payout can come as a result of a judgment or a settlement – though most come from settlements.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the watchdog group Public Citizen said the findings show the Florida Board of Medicine is not doing its job.

“When you look at these doctors with the largest number of malpractice suits, you have to ask the question — at what point could we have prevented the last five, or the last ten?” he told CBS News.

Wolfe said it’s a problem found not just in Florida. He has published studies on state medical boards nationwide. He said many of them are failing to protect patients. His latest report found that from 1990 to 2009, more than half the doctors in the U.S. who had their privileges restricted or revoked by a hospital had never even been fined by their state medical board. He said hospitals generally only go after the most dangerous physicians.

Public Citizen has also ranked medical boards based on the number of actions taken per physician in their state. Those with the most: Ohio, Oklahoma and Alaska. Those with the least: South Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Florida.

About a year after Susie Dunphy’s death, her husband received a letter in the mail from the Florida Board of Medicine. It said the agency had investigated his wife’s case and found no basis to file a complaint against Rehnke.

“I thought it was unbelievable,” Dunphy said. “I teach medical students. This is something so basic I would expect my medical students to recognize this is not normal…It makes me wonder if they even reviewed the case.”

The Florida Board of Medicine declined CBS News’ repeated requests for an interview. Last month CBS News even went to the agency’s public meeting in Orlando, but no one would agree to talk with CBS News. In a statement, a spokesperson wrote, “[we] must follow the due process of law in order to ensure the rights and entitlements of all parties to any action…The department is diligent in its efforts to ensure the public is protected from unsafe or unscrupulous health care practice.”

Rehnke also would not give CBS News an interview or even a statement.

Elected officials in each state have oversight over their medical boards. In Florida, State Senator Jeremy Ring, chairman of the Government Oversight Committee, said that as a result of our reporting, he will introduce legislation to improve the board’s ability to protect patients.

You can look up malpractice payouts made on behalf of Florida doctors here.

MORE: Problems with state board disciplining docs

FL PDMP Utilization Data September 2014

FL PDMP Utilization Data Sept 2014

Florida:
Please look at the very poor compliance rates of our PDMP (E-FORCSE).
1. Pharmacists are mandated to enter patient prescription data, but not review the patient prescription history.
2. Physicians have NOT been mandated to do either, enter or review.
3. FL Attorney General Pam Bondi secured funding to keep the PDMP up and running. 
How effective can this be if it is not being used? (Keep in mind it does not cost any money for any prescriber or dispenser to use this data base.)
This is proof that Florida continues to contribute to the now national PHYSICAN prescribed drug epidemic.
FL Pharmacists are mandated to be registered and enter data; 44.49% compliance. 
The health safety of Florida citizens continues to be at risk as do the lives of our seasonal citizens that come from Canada and many US states.  In addition, our Veterans are also at risk.
Please contact your Senators and Representatives today and let them know that this is unacceptable.
To find your FL Senators:
To find your FL Representatives:
Help us make a difference by making the calls and/or email this data to your senators and representatives – copy and paste – keep it simple.
Please just do it!

Maureen and I did some traveling this week

We met with DOH, chief Bureau of Enforcement. He recognizes the need to restructure the DOH to better investigate and discipline/remove bad doctors. We have faith in his ability and will remain in touch. We spoke about the need for DEA to reduce the production amount in order to save lives and the DOH part in this to make sure the bad doctors are eliminated from our system. He informed us that CVS and Walgreens have placed self-imposed quota’s already We are going to try to quantify this before going to Washington as this information will help our cause.
We also scheduled meetings to garner support for the Bill Senator Eleanor Sobel has agreed to write to make the PDMP mandatory for doctors to use in Florida and to participate in the inter-state exchange. Many we met with have heard from people in their districts in chronic pain and not being able to get their prescribed opiates. Your Senators and Congressman both state and National must hear from you to tell of the suffering keeping this drug on the market in such quantities is causing.
. Representative Matt Hudson District 80 — met with Legislative Assistant
This meeting was not as positive as we had hoped. The person we met with felt the Fl pill mill situation is solved. Much more concerned with the people suffering from not being able to get their opoiates. (I am including contact information for those of you who would like to share your view 239 417-6270 E: sheila.jackson@myfloridahouse.gov
.U.S. Congressman Vern Buchanan — Met with District Director who expressed a great interest in the information we shared. She too, as all have heard from the chronic pain sufferers but also from mothers that have lost children due to the presciption drug epidemic. We would like Vern Buchanan to support S-1657 and also to direct us regarding the Senate Investigation letter of Purdue Pharma which continues to sit in the Finance committee And no investigation is taking place. We will continue to be in touch with this office and believe the help we seek will not be ignored. 941 951-6643 Sally.Tibbetts@mail.house.gov
.Senator Jack Latvala— Met with Legislative Assistant. She also has heard from both sides and is able to view problem with empathy. She was very helpful to us and will review information we spoke of with the Senator. 727 793-2797 caddell.tracy@flsenate.gov
.Senator Maria Sachs We had a scheduled meeting on Monday June 30th 2014 at 2p. She stood us up. We spent 45 minutes with her aid and left much information asking for her support to strengthen the PDMP. Her aid apologized to us stating that she said she was going to be there. There has been no follow up to date.
.Ellyn Bogdanoff will be running against Maria Sachs in November. We have a meeting scheduled with her on Monday.
. Joe Kaufman who is running for Congress against Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This would be a big upset but we would have someone in office who would be supportive of our efforts. He spent time with us and listened to all our needs.
*** We have meetings scheduled in Washington DC when we will be there to support the FED UP RALLY
Senator Manchin’s office, Senator Feinstein’s office, Senator Grassley’s office, Senator Udall’s office, Representative Blackburn’s office and thanks to a mom from Kentucky, Emily Walden, a meeting with the DEA in Arlington Va.

Stay tuned

FYI:  Florida: (August 12, 2014) Congressman V. Buchanan’s Safe Prescribing Act has been co-sponsored by over 50 bipartisan members of Congress including five distinguished Committee Chairmen.
“Today’s announcement is a win for every man, woman, and child who has endured the horrors of prescription drug abuse,” said Buchanan, the House sponsor of the Safe Prescribing Act of 2013 (H.R. 1285). “We are one giant step closer to curbing an epidemic that wreaks havoc on countless families and communities across our state.”