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Another case of medical board abusing its power

The Texas Medical Board is a poster child for an agency gone berserk. The incompetent leadership of the TMB is driving a wedge between patients and physicians. Malicious anonymous complaints are filed against physicians, anonymous so-called experts are hired by the TMB to discredit these physicians, and Star Chamber proceedings are conducted in secret without allowing due legal process. The physicians are intimidated and forced to sign agreements under the threat of license revocation.

These are the tactics which were used by the Gestapo in Nazi Germany. Dr. Chris Kuhne is an ob/gyn in the Dallas area. Last year he implemented a charge for copying charts. An attorney requested a copy of her records, and Dr. Kuhne's staff sent her a bill for $81 based upon the fee charged by a local hospital. The chart was sent to her but she never paid him a dime. Instead, she filed a complaint with the TMB.

Dr. Kuhne's settlement conference was presided over by the notorious Dr. Keith Miller. His two attorneys were not allowed to present their defense. Miller said he wanted to ask Dr. Kuhne some questions and proceeded to subject him to verbal abuse. Miller disdainfully asked, "Son, don't you know who gives you your license? Why didn't you check and see how much we allow you to charge?" As it turns out, the TMB set a maximum charge of $39 for the copying of the patient's records, even though they have no legal authority to do so. The conference was over in five minutes. Miller demanded that Dr. Kuhne agree to a settlement of a $1,000 fine.

Dr. Kuhne refused to admit to any wrongdoing because it would be posted on the TMB Web site under the heading of "convictions." This would cause him to be dropped by medical insurance companies and by the hospitals where he was on staff. He appealed the decision to the State Office of Administrative Hearings where his case was heard by Administrative Law Judge Wendy K.L. Harvel.

The TMB attorneys alleged that Dr. Kuhne's conduct was unprofessional and likely to be injurious to the public. Judge Harvel reversed Miller's decision, ruling that licensing agencies are prohibited from taking disciplinary actions against a physician for unknowing, isolated billing errors. She sent her decision to the full TMB quarterly meeting on Aug. 24.

In an unprecedented act, Judge Harvel spoke to the entire 19-member board, explaining her decision. Despite this, the TMB voted not to accept Judge Harvel's decision, outrageously imposed a $2,000 fine and ordered Dr. Kuhne to attend a jurisprudence course.

Dr. Kuhne spent $80,000 defending himself against this spurious charge.

This proves that the TMB is lying when it claims physicians have due process. The TMB is rogue agency which must be held accountable for its actions which invariably undermine the patient/doctor relationship.

Go to www.projectfans.org and contact your state legislators today. Tell them you want the legislature to investigate the TMB.


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