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Abusive Referrals for Psychiatric Assessment Are a Tool of Sham Physician Peer Review

Sham peer review is often used by hospitals and medical boards to discredit and remove physicians who stand out from the crowd (e.g., innovators, physician whistleblowers, successful competitors). One technique for physicians who fail to conform to official government narratives is mandatory referral for psychiatric or neuropsychological testing, writes neurologist Lawrence Huntoon, M.D., in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

“Hearsay, rumor, and suspicion are often all that is needed to force physicians to undergo psychiatric and neuropsychological testing,” he writes.

The bar for “concern” is set so low “that it could apply to anyone.” Mere subjective “concern” is not an acceptable reason for referral. “Objective evidence, such as impaired performance, is needed to justify referral for testing or a Physician Fitness for Duty Evaluation (FFDE),” he states. This is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and §504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

A 2019 Resolution passed by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) condemns the abuse and misuse of psychiatry in physician evaluation as unethical. It states that abuse occurs when referrals are made to support illegitimate purposes or when evaluees are denied full due process.

The ADA covers persons who are “perceived as having an impairment,” for example, if “the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.”

Dr. Huntoon concludes that there is clear evidence that inappropriate psychiatric and neuropsychological referrals are a widespread problem, and that “inappropriate referrals have been ‘weaponized’ and are being utilized by hospitals, medical boards, and [Physician Health Programs].”

“Physicians who have been victimized and damaged by an inappropriate referral…may be able to hold the perpetrators accountable for violation of the ADA and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.”

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.

Read Full Article: https://jpands.org/vol29no1/huntoon.pdf

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