Tag Archive for 'mileikowsky'

CA Senate Seeks More Info on Peer Review

SACRAMENTO 7 April: After hearing testimony from medical experts last month, members of a California Senate panel are now seeking more information on medical peer review.

The witnesses, including SSI member and AFPS founder Gil Mileikowsky MD, testified before a California Senate Hearing that asked, “Is the Physician Peer Review a Broken System?”

To clarify conflicts between the published analysis by Lumetra and the California Medical Board, the committee heard testimony from Dr. Mileikowsky (HTML, PDF, Video, Appendix), Los Angeles attorney Paul Hittelman (PDF), Gerald Rogan, MD, and Ian Grady, MD.

After additional testimony from Dr. Mileikowsky and the other witnesses, the committee requested further information and concluded: “If it is determined that the system is beyond repair then there may be a need to examine and consider new methods of ensuring patient safety.”

SSI Member Gil Mileikowsky Wins Major Court Victory

SACRAMENTO 6 Apr 09 – The California Supreme Court issued a major victory to Dr. Gil Mileikowsky and healthcare professionals throughout the US today, issuing a decision regarding the conduct of his medical peer review hearing in 2003.  The Court wrote:

We conclude the hearing officer lacks authority to prevent a reviewing panel from reviewing the case by dismissing it on his or her own initiative before the hearing has been convened, and also lacks authority to terminate the hearing after it has been convened without first securing the approval of the reviewing panel. We therefore will affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal

Dr. Mileikowsky (“Dr. Gil”) is a champion and advocate in the nationwide effort to end “sham peer review” (SPR) – a corrupt practice in which hospitals retaliate against physicians and nurses who report dangerous physicians, hospital conditions, or who successfully compete against hospitals by delivering superior service. By rigging a medical peer review board that cherry picks ordinarily insignificant mistakes, hospitals use SPR to intimidate and silence physicians who are sworn to improve healthcare and protect patients. Those targeted face a financially crippling fight to retain their clinical privileges. Sadly, many physicians endure financial ruin and the loss of their medical careers. Some lose hope and end their lives in suicide.

Hospitals accused of SPR have included Kaiser, Tenet, and non-profits like Adventist. Because hospitals have profited from harming patients, the Supreme Court’s decision could have a positive impact on patient safety throughout the US healthcare industry.

Dr. Mileikowsky is the President and founder of the Alliance for Patient Safety and a member of Semmelweis Society International (SSI), which supported Mileikowsky throughout his appeal.  Attorneys Jeffrey White and Georgetown Law Professor Alan Ullberg assisted SSI in the preparation of its amicus brief.

Health Leaders Media recently named Dr. Mileikowsky as one of America’s top healthcare leaders.

For more information, see the California Supreme Court opinion.

Mileikowsky Named as Healthcare Leader

The founder and president of the Alliance for Patient Safety and dedicated SSI member was showcased this week for his work in healthcare reform.  Healthcare Leaders Media is “dedicated to meeting the business information needs of healthcare executives and professionals.” 
Whistleblowers often pay a high price for exposing flaws in the healthcare system. Like a lot of physicians who have been in his situation, Gil Mileikowsky, MD, essentially lost his livelihood. It started in 2000 when he was approached by a lawyer representing a patient whose Fallopian tubes were removed without consent. He hadn’t heard of the case, even though it happened in his own department, and he began to suspect that other patient safety incidents weren’t being reviewed through the proper channels. He agreed to serve as an expert witness against Tarzana Regional Medical Center, a joint venture of HCA and Tenet HealthSystem, and four days later the hospital CEO informed him that he would be escorted by security while on hospital grounds. A few months later he was suspended.
That was just the beginning of a long legal battle that is still ongoing. The American Medical Association, the California Medical Association, and other physician and consumer organizations—including a partnership between doctors and trial lawyers spearheaded by attorney Alan Dershowitz—filed amicus briefs on Mileikowsky’s behalf. For many of his supporters, the central issue is peer review and whether hospitals should have authority to remove a physician without due process. His case recently led to a new California law that extends whistleblower protection to all physicians, and he has campaigned for similar protections on the federal level.
But in Mileikowsky’s eyes, he is locked in a much grander struggle to improve the quality of the healthcare system. He founded the Alliance for Patient Safety to document his case and push for safety reforms, and he has developed what he believes is a solution to poor quality control—a “black box” for physicians. Hospital errors should be reviewed in double-blind studies by randomly selected specialists to remove bias or potential conflict of interest, he argues. Although he never intended to become a whistleblower, he says his goal is now to expose flaws in the entire system, not just one hospital.
Whistleblowers like Mileikowsky play an important role in an industry that is often unsuccessful at policing itself; they now initiate nine out of 10 fraud cases for the Department of Justice. Although in some situations they stand to receive up to 25% of any amount recovered, that wasn’t the case for Mileikowsky. “I didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘I want to become a whistleblower,’” he says. “A whistleblower is just someone who tries to sound the alarm about a wrong situation.

(more here)