TUCSON, Ariz., April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The President finally released his birth certificate, but much of the rest of his life, including academic and medical records, remains hidden. Other Americans, especially physicians, face far more demanding disclosure requirements.
To apply for a medical license, physicians must provide a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. They must also list: other names used; all training programs attended; all states or provinces in which they have ever had a license or registration; all past or pending complaints, charges, investigations, or disciplinary actions; any terminations from any healthcare position; any potential medical impairments; or any malpractice settlements or judgments. They must account for any lapses in medical practice. Any omission or misstatement, however minor, can result in loss of their livelihood.
Once a doctor is in practice, all his patient records can be scrutinized by the licensure board, or seized by federal investigators looking for evidence of "waste, fraud, or abuse." The federal government is determined to get all medical records into an "interoperable" electronic system, for convenience in tracking all physicians and patients nationwide. The medical records contain a wealth of demographic and social information, as well as medical prescriptions and procedures.
Under the new "healthcare reform" act, enrollment in a federal program such as Medicare, may subject a physician to fingerprinting, a criminal background check, and unannounced site visits. A "provider" must also disclose any current or previous affiliations, direct or indirect, with any provider or supplier who has uncollected debt, has had federal payment suspended, or has been excluded from a federal health care program. A doctor can be in serious trouble if he inadvertently hires an "excluded" person, even to file charts or mop the floor.
Other Americans who may have any position of trust, aside from the U.S. presidency or other high office, have to reveal it all too. My sister, to apply for law school, had to supply all previous addresses and phone numbers—not easy for a rented house that had been torn down years before.
A birth certificate might be important for certain things, such as establishing citizenship, but tells nothing about the person. The newborn was there, but not responsible for anything. Americans ought to be a lot more curious about who their elected officials are, where they have been, who their associates are—and what they have done.
"We are more interested in 2009 than in 1961, and in Washington, D.C., than Hawaii" states Jane M. Orient, M.D., executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. "What went on in the backroom meetings of the Obama Administration and the SEIU, AARP, AMA, and other special interests during the health care push?" AAPS encourages the House Energy and Commerce Committee to do a very thorough probe.
"The government wants patients and doctors in a fishbowl, while officials stay behind the equivalent of the police interrogator's two-way mirror," Dr. Orient said. "That needs to change."
AAPS (www.aapsonline.org) is a national organization of physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to protect the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. It filed an independent case challenging the health reform law on March 26, 2010 (www.aapsonline.org/hhslawsuit).
SOURCE Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)