Saturday, April 09, 2005

Allegations of Professional Misconduct

The Washington Post reported that Dr. Sean R. Tunis, a physician licensed in Maryland, was accused by the State Medical Board of unprofessional conduct and making false statements about his credentials. The Board charged that Tunis falsey claimed attendance at continuing medical education events.
Tunis works part-time as an Emergency Department doctors at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
State medical boards, of course, process cases like this fairly often. So, why is this news? And why is it relevant to Health Care Renewal?
Tunis' day job is Chief Medical Officer, and Director, Office of Clinical Standards and Quality for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Post reported that he has a major role in determining what services Medicare will cover, and, for example, was recently involved in the decision that Medicare would pay for implantable cardiac defibrillators for patients with congestive heart failure.
Tunis is now on administrative leave from that position. He claimed that the charges resulted from false accusations made by a "disgruntled CMS subordinate."
I hope it turns out that these allegations are false. However, charges that a key leader of a government health care organization engaged in unprofessional conduct certainly raise concerns about the quality of the organization's decisions.

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