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12/21/2017    Richard Willner, DPM

Sham Peer Review, The Disease

Description of disease: The scientific method
generally involves collecting data, making
observations, developing theories on the basis of
those observations, performing tests of those
theories under controlled circumstances, and
finally, taking a course of action if those tests
prove the theories. Sham peer review is a
backward malignant bastardization of the
scientific method. It involves making a decision
to take the action, then asking minions to
collect the data to support the arbitrary
decision. It happens in the corporate world every
day, i.e., an executive wants to fire an
employee, so he asks his lackeys to "get the
documentation". This is exactly what happens to
physicians in sham peer review as well.

Peer review is a healthy, scientific, positive
process by which physicians review what their
peers are doing, looking at variances, and
studying the how simple outcomes of these
variances, and then making recommendations based
on these studies. If Dr. X does things
differently from Dr. Y and Dr. Z, let's look at
Dr. X's outcomes, and if they are not as good as
Dr. Y's or Dr. Z's outcomes, perhaps Dr. X might
consider changing his methods in order to improve
patient care. The course of action usually
involves additional education, and punitive
actions really have no role in this type of

Sham peer review however is not at all concerned
with improving patient care, it is usually
motivated by corporate profits, greed, or
sometimes merely as a personal vendetta if there
has been a long-standing or intense animosity
towards the physician. It is intended to get a
physician "out of the way", perhaps kicked off of
a medical staff, or even imprisoned, because he
stands in the way of corporate profits even, or
especially, if he is a whistleblower on the
corporation's illegal or dangerous actions,
although the physician may be acting out of a
genuine concern for patient safety and care.
Prevalence: Sham peer review is routinely used by
hospital corporations and is currently at
epidemic proportions. We know of many
outstanding, good, ethical physicians who are
currently no longer practicing his profession and
support their families. Corporations use lawyers,
the physician's personal enemies and economic
competitors, and even legislators and law
enforcement officials to help them in this
bastardization of the peer review process. Sham
peer reviewers are often successful if their
financial resources dwarf the monetary resources
of the physician they are trying to destroy. One
of the main difficulties which the sham peer
reviewer faces is keeping his true motives
hidden, so the corporations which have slick
public relations departments and are skilled at
press releases, are often the most effective.

Diagnosis: A good general rule is, any charges
against a physician’s methods which are not the
result of medical staff committees staffed by
physicians acting in accordance with medical
staff bylaws, is strong suspicion for "SHAM" peer
review. Truth often has no meaning in the sham
peer review campaign, only the amount of
efficient "spin" which the sham peer reviewer can
generate, much in the same way that a lawyer is
not interested in the truth when he is defending
a known murderer, or a prosecuting attorney is
interested in the truth because he simply wants
to win his case also. Evidence which interferes
with winning cases, even if it is truth, is
generally disregarded or hidden. It is very
common that the physician targeted for Bad Faith
Peer Review has no history of medical malpractice
suits or complaints to the State Medical Board.

Treatment: An effective treatment is to consult
with the Center for Peer Review Justice.

Richard Willner, DPM, Kenner, LA

Disclosure: Dr. Willner is the Founder and CEO of
the Center for Peer Review Justice.

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