Texas Board of Medicine Abusing Power and Attacking Competitors?
District Attorney asked to investigate Texas Medical Board officials
Formal complaints against Texas Medical Board (TMB) president Roberta Kalafut, D.O., and TMB executive director Don Patrick have been filed with the Travis County District Attorneys office by Steven Hotze, M.D., founder of Texans for Patients' and Physicians' Rights.
Dr. Hotze charged that Kalafut has had her husband, Dr. Ed Brandecker, file anonymous complaints against their competitors in Abilene and then used her position of authority at the TMB to assure that disciplinary action was taken. This would appear to violate Section 39.03 of the Texas Penal Code relating to abuse of power as well as the federal anti-racketeering act (RICO).
Attorneys say they will be seeking subpoenas for information from the TMB and would be interviewing a long list of physicians aware of TMB abuses.
Since Kalafut has been on the TMB, nine physicians in direct competition with her have had anonymous complaints filed against them, as have all members of the Medical Executive Committee of the Hendrick Medical Center. The complaints appear to have been initiated by Kalafut and Brandecker.
One of physicians is a former partner of Kalafut and Brandecker, who had to leave Abilene for St. Louis when he quit the practice, owing to a non-compete clause. When learning that the physician planned to return to Abilene a year later, joining Abilene Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, a competing facility, Brandecker wrote him a letter stating: "I suppose had you not considered returning, I would not have given this much additional thought. I would have let bygones be bygones."
It appears that Kalafut intended to drive her competitors out of business.
Editorial for the Houston Community Newspaper
Kalafut Should Be Investigated
Any state official who uses her position to try to destroy her competitors should be investigated by Ronnie Earle, Travis County District Attorney. Earle should immediately examine the actions of Roberta Kalafut, D.O., current President of the Texas Medical Board (TMB).
Discussions with two former staff members of Kalafut have revealed that Kalafut had her husband and partner, Dr. Ed Brandecker, file anonymous complaints against doctors in Abilene and then she would influence TMB members to discipline them. This type of activity violates criminal statutes on official oppression. The former staff members also said that Kalafut would routinely discuss confidential matters of the TMB with her employees.
On October 23, 2007, the Texas House Subcommittee on Regulatory Agencies held an unprecedented 11_ hour interim hearing at the State Capitol to investigate the TMB's abuse of power. Many witnesses confirmed the TMB's use of Gestapo-like intimidation tactics, false charges and coerced agreements by TMB members at secretive settlement conferences with physicians. Former TMB member Dr. Christine Canterbury testified in writing that physicians with complaints are presumed guilty by the TMB.
The hearing can be viewed at: www.house.state.tx.us/fx/av/committee80/71023a02r.ram
The following questions and answers are taken directly from the transcript of the hearing.
At 1:35 hours into the hearing Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale asked, "Dr. Kalafut, do you know of any Board member, or Board member's family member that filed anonymous complaints against physicians?"
Under oath, Kalafut responded, "I do not."
But further interrogation at 3:43:50 hours into the hearing by Rep. Debbie Riddle about Kalafut's personal use of anonymous complaints appears to demonstrate that she had perjured herself.
Rep. Riddle: "Have you ever had your physician husband file an anonymous complaint for you?"
Roberta Kalafut: (long pause) "Yes (pause). Not for me, but he has filed one on his own."
Rep. Riddle: "He has filed an anonymous complaint on his own. Were you aware of it?"
Kalafut: "Yes. And it was dismissed. And it was dismissed in the 30 days. But I don't have the right I'm told to disclose that."
Rep. Riddle: "Have you asked your husband or any other person to file an anonymous complaint against Dr. Dan Munton, your former partner?" Kalafut: "I don't have the right to, I don't - have the right to disclose that."
Rep. Riddle: "You cannot disclose that?"
Kalafut: "Yes, I'm told now ..."
Mari Robinson (TMB attorney): "No, she - we cannot disclose the name of anyone who complains. The complaint identity is confidential. We certainly can if we get a legislative form - actually, that actually isn't even part of the form."
This objection by Mari Robinson, TMB's Director of Enforcement, was improper because Rep. Riddle's question concerned whether Kalafut "had asked" her husband or anyone to file a complaint on her former partner and did not seek any confidential information from the TMB.
If Kalafut had not asked her husband to a file a complaint against her former partner, then she would have answered, "No."
This abuse of power by Kalafut cannot be tolerated. District attorney Ronnie Earle should promptly initiate an investigation into her activities and Governor Perry should ask for her resignation.
Contact Governor Perry today! Ask him to remove Dr. Kalafut from the Texas Medical Board immediately.
Gov. Perry (Brian Newby, Chief of Staff) telephone - 512.463.1762
Gov. Perry email: Gov. Perry (Brian.Newby@governor.state.tx.us)
Please forward this letter to your distribution list.
Steven F. Hotze, M.D.
Exec. Asst. - Stacey Bandfield email@example.com www.hotzehwc.com
Dr. Schaller defers you to the Texas State Medical Board web site for their position on these allegations which Dr. Schaller neither supports nor opposes.