Santa Monica, CA – Leaders of the California Medical Association, who are fighting a ballot measure to increase public accountability for dangerous doctors, received nearly $5 million from taxpayers in Medicare payments, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
A database at the New York Times website reveals that Medicare paid 34 of the 54 members of the California Medical Association’s Board of Trustees $4,975,807 in 2012, including $212,660 to CMA President Richard Thorp.
“The California Medical Association is standing in the way of public accountability for dangerous doctors by organizing against basic patient safety measures and yet its leaders are taking millions from the very taxpayers they refuse to protect,” said Carmen Balber of Consumer Watchdog.
The California Medical Association and its doctors have given more than $10 million to fight a ballot measure that will increase patient safety and physician accountability in California. The initiative, the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act, targets medical negligence, overprescribing and physician substance abuse, all sources of great harm to patients and potential overpayments by Medicare.
Many of the doctors with the worst reputations for patient safety, which the CMA’s political operation are protecting, are also recipients of public money according to the database. “Taxpayers are paying for dangerous medicine and many of these procedures and prescriptions are likely not necessary,” said Balber.
· Dr. Pervaiz Chaudhry received $164,758 from Medicare. Dr. Chaudhry is accused of leaving a patient in a vegetative state after he left in the middle of heart surgery to go to lunch. A hospital administrator alleges in a whistleblower lawsuit that leaving patients mid-surgery was a common practice for Chaudhry. Hospital staff have come forward to allege Chaudhry has a drinking problem on the job. Chaudhry is one of the five busiest cardiac surgeons in the state, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
· Dr. Van Vu, a pain management specialist who had 17 patients die from overdose deaths according to a Los Angeles Times investigation, received $159,538 from the public. The California Medical Board is taking action to revoke Vu’s license, and Orange County prosecutors are investigating the case.
· Dr. Aria Omar Sabit, who had twenty lawsuits filed against him alleging misplaced screws in spinal fusions, post-op infections and botched brain surgery, was paid $320,997 by Medicare in 2012. Dubbed “The Butcher” by those close the case, Sabit is also the subject of a federal False Claims Act lawsuit.
Albert H. Gelders, $31,951, Family Practice: 1425 W H St, Oakdale, CA
Barbara J. Arnold, $181,738, Ophthalmology: 7551 Timberlake Way, Sacramento, CA
Bethesda Y. Gee, $12,788, Family Practice: 13652 Cantara St, Panorama City, CA
David H. Aizuss, $538,892, Ophthalmology: 16311 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA
David J. Goldschmid, $23,713, Emergency Medicine: 795 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA
Donaldo Hernandez, $71,790, Internal Medicine: 2025 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA
Douglas P. Brosnan, $68,703, Emergency Medicine: 101 the City Dr S, Orange, CA
Erin E. Wilkes, $27,390, Emergency Medicine: 757 Westwood Plz, Los Angeles, CA
Fredrick M. Russo, $22,906, Internal Medicine: 19950 Rinaldi St, Porter Ranch, CA
Howard Krauss, $266,839, Ophthalmology: 11645 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
James J. Strebig, $29,894, Internal Medicine: 4050 Barranca Pkwy, Irvine, CA
James T. Hay, $53,538, Family Practice: 477 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA
James W. Foxe, $64,200, Family Practice: 1860 S Central St, Visalia, CA
Lee T. Snook, $221,515, Interventional Pain Management: 2288 Auburn Blvd, Sacramento, CA
Luther F. Cobb, $49,018, General Surgery: 2773 Harris St, Eureka, Ca
Lytton W. Smith, $123,630, Family Practice: 4900 Prospect Ave, Yorba Linda, CA
Mark Davis, $369,678, Urology: 1485 Parkway Dr, Crescent City, CA
Mark H. Kogan, $71,751, Gastroenterology: 2089 Vale Rd, San Pablo, CA
Martin Fishman, $370,902, Ophthalmology: 431 Monterey Ave, Los Gatos, CA
Michael A. Sequeria, $39,106, Emergency Medicine: 350 Terracina Blvd, Redlands, CA
Michele E. Raney, $93,356, Anesthesiology: 1150 N Indian Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA
Patricia L. Austin, $244,564, Ophthalmology: 1270 Arroyo Way, Walnut Creek, CA
Peter N. Bretan, $122,127, Urology: 165 Rowland Way, Novato, CA
Peter S. Richman, $11,060, General Surgery: 11333 Sepulveda Blvd, Mission Hills, CA
Randal T. Pham, $782,565, Ophthalmology: 455 Oconnor Dr, San Jose, CA
Richard E. Thorp, $212,660, Internal Medicine: 6470 Pentz Rd, Paradise CA
Richard S. Baker, $10,702, Optometry: 3581 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA
Robert G. Pugach, $352,926, Urology: 3801 Katella Ave, Los Alamitos, CA
Ronald C. Thurston, $17,855, Psychiatry: 970 South Petit Ave, Ventura, CA
Sergio R. Flores, $66,823, Gastroenterology: 8008 Frost St, San Diego, CA
Standiford Helm II, $92,098, Pain Management: 24902 Moulton Pkwy, Laguna Hills, CA
Steven E. Larson, $26,400, Infectious Disease: 7117 Brockton Ave, Riverside, CA
Theodore M. Mazer, $84,896, Otolaryngology: 6699 Alvarado Rd, San Diego, CA
Victor C. Ching, $217,833, Urology: 1175 E Arrow Hwy, Upload, CA
Last month, Bob Pack turned in the last of 844,000 signatures to qualify the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act for the November 2014 ballot. Mr. Pack lost his two young children, 10 year old Troy and 7 year old Alana, to a drugged driver who was overprescribed narcotics by multiple doctors at the same Kaiser hospital.
The Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act would:
· Require random drug and alcohol testing of doctors modeled after the Federal Aviation Administration’s testing of airline pilots, and testing after an adverse event in a hospital
· Require physicians to report suspected drug or alcohol abuse at work by a colleague
· Mandate that physicians check the state’s prescription drug database before prescribing narcotics and other addictive drugs to first-time patients
· Index for inflation the medical negligence damage cap set by the legislature in California in 1975, but retain the cap on attorneys’ fees