Archive for December, 2011

Inspectors ask Congress to regulate psychiatric drugs

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Just in time for a holiday treat, we read an encouraging article in The Concordia Concordian (Concordia, Lafayette County, Missouri).

This December 7th article reports that the federal government Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General Daniel Levinson proposed to Congress that Medicare force nursing homes to pay for drugs prescribed inapproriately.

“Government inspectors told lawmakers Wednesday [12/7/2011] Medicare officials need to do more to stop doctors from prescribing powerful psychiatric drugs to nursing home patients with dementia, an unapproved practice that has flourished despite repeated government warnings.”

It seems these harmful drugs are given to hundreds of thousands of elderly nursing home patients to pacify aggressive behavior related to dementia, in spite of FDA warnings that these drugs increase the risk of death in seniors with dementia.

A report from HHS issued last May found that 83 percent of Medicare claims for antipsychotics were for nursing home residents with dementia, and 14 percent of all nursing home residents were prescribed antipsychotics.

While doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs for such off-label uses, it is illegal for drug companies to promote off-label use. Yet this alarming practice continues to bilk Medicare for unapproved drugs, which is another example of psychiatric fraud.

What is the alternative to psychotropic drugs?

Not only do psychiatrists not understand the cause of any mental disorder, they cannot cure them. Though psychiatry may have given up on effective mental healing, this is fortunately false. Mental problems can be resolved, and without harmful and addictive psychotropic drugs.

The first and most obvious action to take with someone mentally disturbed is to Do No Harm. That means ensuring that they are not subjected to psychiatric treatments that use force and harm in an attempt to control behavior. More than anything, the person needs rest, security, good nutrition, exercise, and attention to the real underlying, possibly undiagnosed, medical problems.

We do understand that a nursing staff faced with a seriously disturbed and irrational resident can become desperate in their attempts to resolve the behavior. The psychiatric industry has suppressed workable methods of helping such individuals.

There are far too many workable non-psychiatric alternatives to list them here. As a brief guide, always help a person with quiet, food, rest, and only if necessary to achieve rest, a mild drug so that he or she can rest properly and sufficiently. Never turn someone who is mentally disturbed over to people who use force, seclusion, or physically damaging practices and “treatments.” Ensure that a full and searching medical examination is conducted to determine any undiagnosed and untreated medical conditions. Always find the cause of the person’s problems. Never be satisfied with a mere explanation of the symptoms.

While sanctioning nursing homes that defraud Medicare is certainly a step in the right direction, there is truly only one way to reform the field of mental health and that is to remove psychiatry’s monopoly of it that has led only to upwardly spiraling mental illness statistics and no cures.

Click here for more information about alternatives to abusive psychiatric drugs and treatments.

Blowing the Whistle

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Qui Tam: An abbreviated version of the Latin phrase Qui Tam pro domino rege quam pro si ipso in hac parte sequitur, which means “Who sues on behalf of the King, as well as for Himself.”

Whistleblower (also whistle-blower): One who reveals wrongdoing to the public or to those in positions of authority; probably an allusion to a police officer blowing a whistle on observing a violation of the law.

In Qui Tam litigation a private citizen (the whistleblower) who knows of fraud committed against the government may, through his own privately retained lawyers, file a law suit in his own name and in the name of the United States, to recover the losses caused by the government fraud. The federal False Claims Act [31 U.S.C.A. § 3729] provides huge financial incentives to citizen whistleblowers to retain attorneys and come forward, prosecute these lawsuits and fight government fraud.

Blowing the whistle on health care fraud, particularly mental health care fraud, can be scary for one who has never done this before. Fear of retaliation and the stigma associated with being a “troublemaker” contribute to the underreporting of fraud in health care. Anyone contemplating such a qui tam action may need guidance to decide whether to report, how to report, and what they should do to protect themselves when they do report.

What constitutes fraud in mental health care?

The massive psychiatric drugging of America’s children, particularly poor, disadvantaged children and youth through Medicaid and in foster care is an unfolding public health catastrophe of massive proportions. This catastrophe is being caused by the fraudulent promotion of these harmful practices by psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies sacrificing children and youth’s health, futures and lives on the altar of corporate profits. An example as it pertains to Medicaid recipients can be described as:

Psychiatrist (or other medical doctor) prescribes a psychotropic drug that is not for a medically accepted indication. The pharmacy presents the prescription to Medicaid for reimbursement. This is a false claim because 42 USC 1396R-8(k)(3) prohibits reimbursement under Medicaid for any outpatient drugs “used for a medical indication which is not a medically accepted indication.”

An overview of statistics on fraud recoveries by the US government during the period October 1, 1986 to September 30, 2008 can be found here: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2008/November/fraud-statistics1986-2008.htm.

Other kinds of psychiatric fraud can be found here [http://www.cchrstl.org/fraud.shtml].

What about psychiatric abuse?

While qui tam law suits are only for fraud, there may be cases where reporting abuse is either warranted or required.

For example, the Missouri Revised Statutes (Chapter 210 Section 210.115) basically state that when anyone engaged in the care or treatment of children has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse, that person must immediately report such to the Division of Family Services [http://www.dss.mo.gov/cd/rptcan.htm].

Examples of psychiatric abuse can be found here [http://www.cchrstl.org/abuse.shtml].

Whistleblower guidelines and protection

The references below identify steps for blowing the whistle on fraud or abuse, and make numerous suggestions for learning how to do this and carrying it through.

CCHR also recommends preparing Living Wills [http://www.cchrstl.org/takeaction.shtml#LivingWill] for yourself and your family. A Living Will lets you specify decisions about one’s own health care treatment in advance. Should you be in a position where you are to be subject to unwanted psychiatric hospitalization and/or mental or medical treatment, this Letter of Protection from Psychiatric Incarceration and/or Treatment directs that such incarceration, hospitalization, treatment or procedures not be imposed, committed or used on you.

Of course, you can also report psychiatric drug side effects to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/], and you can report psychiatric abuse to CCHR [http://www.cchr.org/take-action/psychiatric-abuse-report-form.html].

Whistleblowing is certainly one of society’s best lines of defense against psychiatric fraud and abuse, which have been eroding our mental health care system for many years. CCHR, with your support, works toward the day when whistleblowing is no longer needed. You can express your support by volunteering your time, or giving someone for whom you care a membership in CCHR St. Louis.

References:

1. “Preparing to Blow the Whistle, A Survival Guide for Nurses”; Nayna C. Philipsen, JD; Donald Soeken, LCSW-C; MedScape posted 11/18/2011 [http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/751347]; Journal for Nurse Practitioners 2011;7(9):740-746. © Elsevier Science, Inc.

2. PsychRights’ Medicaid Fraud Initiative Against Psychiatric Drugging of Children & Youth [http://psychrights.org/education/ModelQuiTam/ModelQuiTam.htm]

3. Whistle Blower – Qui Tam, Ashcraft & Gerel LLP [http://www.ashcraftandgerel.com/practiceareas/whistle-blower-qui-tam/]

4. The Free Dictionary [http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/whistleblower]

5. Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund – a nonprofit, public interest organization dedicated to combating fraud against the Federal Government through the promotion and use of the Federal False Claims Act and its qui tam provisions. [http://taf.org]

6. The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting employees’ lawful disclosure of waste, fraud, and abuse. [http://www.whistleblowers.org]

Psychologist falsifies research

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

According to a recent Wikipedia article, “Diederik Alexander Stapel (born in Oegstgeest, 19 October 1966) is a former professor of social psychology at Tilburg University and before that at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. In 2011 Tilburg University suspended Stapel, pending further investigation, for admittedly fabricating and manipulating data for his research publications. This scientific misconduct lasted for years and affected at least 30 publications.”

Stapel worked in the field of behavioral science, and managed to behave pretty badly on his own admission. He voluntarily returned his Ph.D to the University of Amsterdam; meanwhile, Tilburg University is conducting an extensive review of his research and publications. So far, it has been found that Stapel made up the data for at least 30 publications in such places as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Science magazine.

Natural News stated that, “There is no indication, however, that Stapel will be held criminally liable for his disturbing actions, or even that his studies will be withdrawn from the journals in which they were published. Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science, wrote in an “expression of concern” on the online edition of the journal that “the extent of the fraud by Stapel is substantial.”

While grotesque, this behavior is hardly surprising or unusual in a field largely dominated by fraud and false data. How many other psychologists and psychiatrists are presenting falsified research?

Big Pharma has regularly manipulated the published data on psychiatric drugs, for example.

“In 2008, research showed that pharmaceutical companies systematically failed to publish negative studies on their SSRIs, the Prozac generation of antidepressants. Of 74 clinical trials, 38 produced positive results and 36 did not: 94 per cent of the positive studies were published, but only 23 per cent of the negative ones were, and two-thirds of those were spun to make them look more positive.” [Read the full report on this here.]

The psychiatric and psychological industries are also prone to inflate statistics of mental trauma in order to justify more funding. In September 2001, a U.S. Senate hearing on “Psychological Trauma and Terrorism” was told that, “Seventy-one percent of Americans said that they have felt depressed by the [9/11] attacks.” It’s a worrying statistic, until one realizes that the survey was conducted during the six days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks when Americans were, naturally, in a state of shock. The survey sampled 1,200 people only, which, by some quantum leap, led to the conclusion that nearly three-quarters of Americans were mentally damaged, requiring “professional” help.

As experience has shown that there are many criminal mental health practitioners, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights has developed a database at www.psychcrime.org that lists people in the mental health industry who have been convicted and jailed. Many have appeared in the news for fraud or abuse. Read the article about Stapel there as well.

ABC News 20/20 Blasts Child Drugging

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

As reported on ABC News, “A 12-year-old boy told Congress today that he was medicated into a near-stupor with mind-altering drugs during the four years he bounced among foster care homes.”

A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that the federal government had not done enough to oversee the treatment of foster children with powerful drugs. The report, whose contents were revealed by ABC News on November 30, coincided with a nationwide ABC investigation on the overuse of the most potent mind-altering drugs on many of the country’s nearly 425,000 foster children.

The report found that drug amounts exceeding maximum doses for a child’s age were many times more likely to be prescribed to foster children than to other children in the federal-state program for lower-income people. The GAO, which submitted its findings as part of a Senate hearing, also found that foster children were several times more likely than other Medicaid youngsters to be taking five or more psychotropic drugs at the same time. Among the drugs analyzed were antipsychotics such as Abilify and Risperdal, antidepressants such as Cymbalta and Paxil, and attention-deficit hyperactivity-disorder drugs such as Ritalin and Strattera. [Fox News]

Quoting from the GAO report, “no evidence supports the concomitant use of five or more psychotropic drugs in adults or children, yet hundreds of both foster and nonfoster children in the five states had such a drug regimen. Similarly, thousands of foster and nonfoster children were prescribed doses higher than the maximum levels cited in guidelines developed by Texas based on FDA-approved labels, which GAO’s experts said increases the risk of adverse side effects and does not typically increase the efficacy of the drugs to any significant extent. Further, foster and nonfoster children under 1 year old were prescribed psychotropic drugs, which GAO’s experts said have no established use for mental health conditions in infants; providing them these drugs could result in serious adverse effects.”

ABC News 20/20 aired three episodes exposing the fact that doctors are putting foster children on harmful, mind-altering drugs at rates up to 13 times that of children in the general population.

Watch all the 20/20 episodes on PsychSearch.Net.