Saturday, May 7, 2011

So What Is a Sham Peer Review? A MedGenMed Article


Roland Chalifoux, Jr, DO, Neurosurgeon; Clinical Instructor; West Virginia University Visiting Professor
Roland Chalifoux, Jr, private practice; West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

One of the first notable sham peer reviews took place in Oregon in the early 1980s. The physician who took it up with the courts was Dr. Patrick, and the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. As a result of the publicity surrounding this case, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA) was enacted in 1986. One of the concerns that arose from the Patrick case was a fear that no physician would want to participate in peer review if he or she could be potentially liable for a bad report. The HCQIA gave immunity to hospitals and reviewers participating in peer review.

This immunity has been abused by hospitals and physicians to harm “disruptive” physicians (ie, whistleblowers) or financial competitors. All one must say is: “Dr. Joe Blow is a bad doctor, which is my professional opinion in this peer review, and this hospital should get rid of him.” And poof! Dr. Joe Blow, patient advocate, financial competitor, is gone! And the accusing physician is immune!

A wonderful series has recently been written by Steve Twedt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called the “Cost of Courage,” detailing a number of physicians who have suffered from sham peer review and the consequences they have had to pay (

So What Is a Sham Peer Review?
A sham peer review exists when a practitioner undergoes chart review during which “serious” deficiencies are determined to exist and, therefore, “the practitioner must be prevented from being a risk to the public safety.” This conclusion is obtained by either:

  • Declaring that the practitioner does not practice within the guidelines of the standard of care – regardless of whether that is true. (Several examples include the panel rejecting literature to support a position and being told, “We don't care what the literature shows” and “That institution doesn't know what they are doing.” In essence, a new standard of care is established – because that is not what the victim does.)
  • Commissioning an outside review with prearranged outcomes. There are peer-review firms with dubious reputations who will perform a review that reflects the desired outcome of the employer.
For the full text of this article, go to
MedGenMed. 2005; 7(4): 47.
Published online 2005 November 15.
Copyright ©2005 Medscape


  1. The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB)
    "The Data Bank"

    Richard Willner
    The Center for Peer Review Justice
    Sham Peer Review Solutions and more....

    We all know that the "Data Bank" for Physicians is a "black mark" , a tatoo, if you will, that is like herpes-- once you got it, you got it. It is surprisingly easy for a doctor to get Data Banked as there is no "due process" as per the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986. (HCQIA) Based on the available data, one can argue that one reason why the NPDB exists is to shield corporations from their own negligent acts and from competition from independent doctors. It is an unconstitutional blacklist run by private Nazis and it is meant to be the final solution for many independent doctors in America. If you look at the early history of the NPDB, it was always planned to be this way... It has been terribly effective so it's days must abruptly ccome to an end for the sake of our country and patients.

    I am passionate about this as I have personally investigated hundreds of surgeons who have been "data banked" for reasons that do not elevate to this "capital punishment" of a surgeon's or physician's career. You would be surprised how easy it is to "data bank" someone.

    It is usually done by the Medical Staff Secretary upon the order of the CEO of the hospital and WITHOUT DUE PROCESS as per the Health Care Quality Improvement Act. We simply ask for DUE PROCESS. Can you believe that I am asking for something that you, the non-physician reader take for granted? And Constitutional rights and protections like all Americans enjoy would be welcomed. This IS America. It is time for simple fairness. Simple Justice. .



    by Richard Willner
    The Center for Peer Review Justice

    The Center has been working on National Practitioner Data Bank, ( NPDP ) " The Data Bank " solutions for 11 years. We have had endless discussions with the best healthcare attornies, US Congressmen who are also Physicians, other Congressmen, and healthcare oriented Think Tanks.

    Please see our website for details that we are able to disclose.

    There may be ways to continue one's career after being Data Banked. Please call us for details.


    If you are aware of a hospital that ignores safety and uses its bylaws to benefit and shield corporate doctors and nurses and retaliates against independent doctors please call the Innocence Project.

    If you are an independent doctor who has suffered an unjust report to the National Practitioner's Data bank ( NPDB) from a malpractice settlement or professional review please call the Innocence Project.

    If you have been the subject of a Sham Peer Review, a Bad Faith Peer Review or any abuse of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986 ( HCQIA), we would like to know.

    We want to shine the light on hosptial fraud, clear the names of the good guys and bring the bad guys to justice ! Call the Innocence Project.

    Your call will be confidential and you are protected from retaliation by the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (1)

    The Innocence Project of the Center for Peer Review Justice