Description of disease:
The scientific method generally involves collecting data, making observations, developing theories on the basis of those observations, performing tests of those theories under controlled circumstances, and finally, taking a course of action if those tests prove the theories. Sham peer review is a backward malignant bastardization of the scientific method. It involves making a decision to take the action, then asking minions to collect the data to support the arbitrary decision. It happens in the corporate world every day, i.e., an executive wants to fire an employee, so he asks his lackeys to “get the documentation”. This is exactly what happens to physicians in sham peer review as well.
Peer review is a healthy, scientific, positive process by which physicians review what their peers are doing, looking at variances, and studying the how simple outcomes of these variances, and then making recommendations based on these studies. If Dr. X does things differently from Dr. Y and Dr. Z, let’s look at Dr. X’s outcomes, and if they are not as good as Dr. Y’s or Dr. Z’s outcomes, perhaps Dr. X might consider changing his methods in order to improve patient care. The course of action usually involves additional education, and punitive actions really have no role in this type of process.
Sham peer review however is not at all concerned with improving patient care, it is usually motivated by corporate profits, greed, or sometimes merely as a personal vendetta if there has been a long-standing or intense animosity towards the physician. It is intended to get a physician “out of the way”, perhaps kicked off of a medical staff, or even imprisoned, because he stands in the way of corporate profits even, or especially, if he is a whistleblower on the corporation’s illegal or dangerous actions, although the physician may be acting out of a genuine concern for patient safety and care.
Sham peer review is routinely used by hospital corporations and is currently at epidemic proportions. We know of many outstanding, good, ethical physicians who are currently no longer practicing his profession and support their families. Corporations use lawyers, the physician’s personal enemies and economic competitors, and even legislators and law enforcement officials to help them in this bastardization of the peer review process. Sham peer reviewers are often successful if their financial resources dwarf the monetary resources of the physician they are trying to destroy. One of the main difficulties which the sham peer reviewer faces is keeping his true motives hidden, so the corporations which have slick public relations departments and are skilled at press releases, are often the most effective.
A good general rule is, any charges against a physicians methods which are not the result of medical staff committees staffed by physicians acting in accordance with medical staff bylaws, is strong suspicion for “SHAM” peer review. Truth often has no meaning in the sham peer review campaign, only the amount of efficient “spin” which the sham peer reviewer can generate, much in the same way that a lawyer is not interested in the truth when he is defending a known murderer, or a prosecuting attorney is interested in the truth because he simply wants to win his case also. Evidence which interferes with winning cases, even if it is truth, is generally disregarded or hidden. It is very common that the physician targeted for Bad Faith Peer Review has no history of medical malpractice suits or complaints to the State Medical Board.
Treatment: An effective treatment is to consult with the Center for Peer Review Justice. We invite your email at info@PeerReview.org or a call on the Sham Peer Review Hotline: 504-621-1670.