A Real Resolution

A Real Resolution

I’ve been behind in the adding to the sad saga of Mr. M’s complaint against me. The fact is that the legal system takes a long time to resolve any  issue. As stated in previous posts, Mr. M didn’t want to pay his bill. He was subsequently turned over to a collection agency. He then turn a simple collection issue into a cyber and legal war accusing me of all sorts of things. In December 2010 I received a letter from the University of New York, State Education Department explaining that they were conducting an investigation in to Mr. M’s allegation of “professional misconduct” pertaining to my practice. (View Letter).

It’s so easy to take up a physician’s time by filing a complaint. I had no choice but to comply with the investigation. The time involved was costly. It’s a shame that that there isn’t a group that investigates misconduct on the part of patients and places them in a public database if found guilty. That would certainly help physicians. Regardless, I complied with the investigation and presented all the records requested.

It took nine months to investigate and on September 7, 2011, they sent me a letter stating the allegations were: “Not Founded.”  (View Letter). It might interest you to know that while the charges were unfounded, the complaint and findings are not made public. However, I decided to make it public. The total cost to Mr. M so far, beside cab or subway fare to their office, is zero. I have yet to calculate my costs.

That’s not all folks! Mr. M found a lawyer to sue me even with the unfounded verdict. Of course the lawyer hopes this tactic will make me pay up to avoid the cost of going to trial. The city of New York caves all the time in frivolous lawsuits stating it’s cheaper just to settle. I feel it’s time to take a stand against this misuse of the legal system.

I never expected Mr. M to pay his bill when placed with a collection agency. But before I can write off a bill, I have an obligation to try and collect says the IRS. But then, I did not expect Mr. M to begin a vendetta against me across the Internet, file a complaint and sue me. While as far as I know it hasn’t affected my practice.  It has, however, affected my time and peace of mind.

There is no real training in medicine on how to deal with this situation. The office manager simply turns over bills to a collection agency and that should be the end of it, unless they pay. And even if they do pay, I only get a small percentage. But now with the Internet you suddenly become the bad guy and the target of online hate. I’m told to ignore it and it will go away. I’m asked by Internet reputation companies to pay small fee to restore my reputation. One person suggested that I should find the real reason Mr. M is conducting this campaign. I doubt that would be an easy task. All I want to do is practice medicine without worrying whether the patient will go ballistic when he or she gets the bill. I know from years of practice that most don’t since fees are discussed before hand. I love the practice of medicine, but the business of medicine is something else.

I expect more legal problems from Mr. M in the future.  He has nothing to loose. As for suing Mr. M, the first rule in suing is to make sure the person being sued has money. I feel that if Mr. M had money or even the prospect of having money, he probably wouldn’t be doing this. In the long run, I expect nothing from Mr. M except more problems. I do not expect him to change his war against me or any other physician that he feels mistreated him by simply asking him to pay his bill. Stay tuned.

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