Mr. Volpe, even though you claim that the only thing you claimed my father was doing was "concurrently serving on a super secret board and President of the TMA at the same time." The fact is you accused him of far more.
But, I will address your claim first. Was he on a "super secret" board at BCBS of Texas? Well, my father has never made it any secret of his position with BCBS. He served on that board prior to his election to the Presidency and he still serves on it. What does this board do? According to my father it is an advisory board, they meet for one day every other month. A simple Google Search of the BCBSTX.com site pulled up quite a bit of information on it. Including this description:
The Texas Medical Advisory Committee and the Texas Peer
Review Committee serve in an advisory capacity to the Medical
Director and HMO Blue Texas regarding health care delivery
issues that affect members and participating network Physicians
and other Professional Providers. The Committees participate in
the development, implementation, and evaluation of required
peer review activities.
Now, this is how you described it:
This committee reviews the performance of other family physicians that are contracted with Blue Cross Blue Shield and determines if any have stepped out of bounds. Furthermore, this committee is intimately involved in determining proper punishment for those physicians that Blue Cross Blue Shield determines to have stepped out of boundsBig difference. But, you offered no proof for your allegations against this board. Also, it is clear you never contacted Dr. Merian, Dr. Curran, Dr. Miller or Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas. You claim this board is "super secret" and as evidence point to the fact that there is no website for this group, nor a rooster of any kind. Guess what, there is no website or rooster for BCBS' housekeeping department either, does that mean it is top secret? No, just that there is no website.
Now, it is obvious this board is not "super secret" so we will move on to some of your other allegations against my father.
You also alleged:
Three doctors, Dr. Doug Curran, Dr. Keith Miller, and Dr. Fred Merian, were simultaneously in significant positions of power in the Texas medical community. Dr. Curran was the head of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Miller was head of the Texas Medical Board's Disciplinary Committee. Dr. Merian was head of the Texas Medical Association. At the same time, these three were also members of the super secret BCBS Texas Medical Advisory Board. In other words, they were playing both sides of the fence. They represented the interests of doctors, and at the same time represented the interests of BCBS against doctors.Dr. Curran was not sworn in as President of the TAFP until 2006, and he served 1 year (not several years as you claimed), Dr. Miller was not appointed to the Board of Medical Examiners until 2003. And my father took his office as President of the TMA in 2002, and he also only served one year. So, you are wrong in alleging that these three men held their offices simultaneously. Also, the President of the TMA while being the visible face of Doctors in Texas, holds NO power outside the TMA. The TMA is not involved in the certification, regulation or discipline of Doctors in Texas. It is also not involved in negotiating with insurance companies for doctors, nor in the distribution of benefits. Therefore, there is no conflict of interest. Besides, that is a determination for the TMA Board of Directors, the ethics committee and house of Delegates. Both of which were aware of my fathers position, neither of which objected.
Physicians advisory boards advocate FOR doctors. You asked how I knew such boards existed? Simple internet search. (and, I have worked in or around the insurance industry for over 10 years, there are all kinds of advisory boards) Here is the information for the board at Aetna Insurance. The kicker? 19 state Medical Associations asked for such a board to be created. If such boards were so Anti-doctor, why would 700,000 Doctors demand such a board be created? They wouldn't.
The next allegation, although directed at Doctor Curran, is also applicable to my father:
How does a doctor centered in a relatively small town wind up finding himself in the middle of so much disciplinary and decision making power? The answer is that these three were put there by BCBS to corrupt the system to punish private family physicians in Texas that BCBS determined were too expensive.My father practiced medicine in Yoakum, Texas (pop 6000) before moving to Victoria, Texas (pop 45,000). Your implication here, of course is that individuals from small towns are inherently unqualified to serve in high profile positions, and therefore can only reach those positions through corruption and collusion. Again, you make this statement with no proof to back it up. In order for your allegation (that my father was put in the Presidency of the TMA by BCBS) to be true, you need to be able to back it up. My father (and Dr. Curran) were elected to their positions by the membership of their organizations. You are accusing thousands of Doctors of selling out to BCBS, all the while offering no proof at all. But challenging me to refute it. This is a logical fallacy known as "Shifting the burden of Proof" The burden is on you to prove your allegations, otherwise they are invalid and not credible.
Mr. Volpe, you wrote a piece on my father and two other doctors without even making any attempt to contact them or BCBS. Your "facts" are rumor and innuendo, as well as assumptions. The reason no major media outlet has picked up this story is because there is no meat to it.