By: Tom Duggan, 12/19/14
Valley Patriot medical corruption columnist, and Cambridge Hospital whistle blower Dr. Bharani Padmanabhan appeared before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday to explain to Justice Botsford that Cambridge Hospital had retaliated against him for exposing a scam concerning inaccurate brain scan reports that he said put his patients at risk.
Dr. Bharani claims that while working at Cambridge Hospital, he uncovered a scam where brain scan reports detailing the scans done on his patients had nothing to do with actual scans. The doctor also said that it was clear to him the brain scans had not been read by anyone.
“How it works is this, the doctor orders a brain scan and the technicians perform those scans. Then a radiologist is supposed to read the scans and write a report on what the patient’s scan says.”
“What we found was that a generic report was being issued on my patients based on the age and demographic of the patient, but no particular information about my patients were contained within those reports. There was nothing relevant in those reports as to why the scans were ordered in the first place,” the doctor said.
WHISTLE BLOWER RETALIATION
Dr. Bharani says that the hospital executive committee voted to terminate him in a 29 minute meeting where Dr. Bharani claims the 26 board members “knew nothing about me but simply rubber-stamped the wishes of the Chiefs – Bor and Hulka.”
“I brought this fraud to the attention of my neurology chief, who also looked at them and confirmed we had a problem,” The doctor told The Valley Patriot after yesterday’s court hearing.
“My chief took it up with the Chief of Medicine, Dr David Bor and Chief of Radiology Dr Carol Hulka. Cambridge Hospital responded by throwing us both out in order to protect the fraud and then embarked on campaign to discredit me and prevent me from practicing medicine. They had hospital security literally throw me out of the hospital.”
The doctor told the court that he was accused of filling prescriptions to known dug addicts, harming patients by misdiagnosing them with Multiple Sclerosis and also claimed Dr. Bharani doesn’t know how to diagnose MS.
The alleged expert who wrote the allegations against Dr. Bharani refused to testify under oath and the Board of Medicine has hidden his identity and credentials for more than 4 years.
“Their alleged expert refused to testify under oath in open court even to support the written allegations. The Board claimed to act in the name of patients but never contacted them even once to see if that is what the patients actually wanted. The patients are still my patients to this day and happy with my care. They even came to the court to support me. To date the Board has kept the identity of the alleged expert a secret.”
“They cannot produce one patient who says I acted improperly, there was no way of proving who my accuser was or if this person even exists,” he said.
A fairness hearing was conducted by Cambridge Hospital’s handpicked Hearing Panel, which exonerated Dr. Bharani of those charges, but shortly after being cleared, documents show that Cambridge Hospital repeated verbatim, their previous claims with no new additional allegations.
“Cambridge hospital came up with false allegations, they were proven false, and even after they were proven false, the Board of Medicine came after me to drive me out of medicine based on the same false allegations.”
“They are purposely dragging their feet now with this open case because, as long as this case is open I cannot work. I cannot pay my bills. This has crippled me financially. I am not independently wealthy. This hospital retaliated against me because I was the one who blew the whistle on their scam. Now they are trying to run me out of town. They think if they drag this out long enough I will just go away. I am not going away,” Dr. Bharani told the Valley Patriot.
ASKING THE COURT FOR RELIEF
Dr. Bharani asked the SJC to end the administrative process by the Board of Medicine and order them to dismiss their case against him so he can earn a living. He says because there is an open case he cannot even go into private practice because he cannot bill insurance companies. Dr. Bharani has been treating his patients for free since 2010.
An Attorney for the AG’s office argued before the court that Dr. Bharani had other remedies and had not exhausted his administrative options and urged the court to rule against the doctor. No representative for Cambridge Hospital showed up for the hearing.
Attorney Allan Knowles of Andover said he expects a decision by Justice Botsford within 30 days.
ATTORNEY GENERAL COAKLEY – LAWS PROTECTING WHISTLE BLOWERS
Dr. Bharani also brought to the court’s attention the fact that Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office refuses to implement the will of the Legislature, in MGL CH 149 sec 187, which requires the AG to protect whistle blowers and punish hospitals who retaliate against them.
“What was most interesting during today’s hearing is that the Attorney General’s office was forced to admit in writing to the court that their office has never once enforced this whistle blower law. The law says that the AG’s office is to ensure every hospital, and every ward in every hospital, is to have a notice for whistle blowers to call the AG’s office with information about corruption and scams. I have never once seen such a notice in Cambridge Hospital,” he said.
“This law was passed by the legislature in the interest of maintaining public safety and protecting the public from corrupt hospitals.”
Dr. Bharani complained to the Attorney General about the brain scan reports and the hospital’s retaliation against him as a whistle blower but Coakley’s office refused to investigate the hospital.
Dr. Bharani studied medicine at Semmelweis University in Budapest, where got his MD and PHD in Neurology and Multiple Sclerosis. He did his residency at Tufts University did a three year fellowship in Multiple Sclerosis at Harvard, and another one year fellowship in MS at the University of Massachusetts.