Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dr. Wonderful and Sciotocized Medicine

 "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most wonderful of all?"

When you set back and look at all the wonderful people we have that do not step up, and you think they should step up, you have to look in the mirror. So, I looked in the mirror."
                                                              Dr. Terry Johnson

Since its founding, the Scioto County Counseling Center (SCCC) has branched out into a subsidiary corporation, the Compass Community Health Care Center (CCHCC), one of whose “prime missions,” to quote the Community Common newspaper (2 Feb. 2015), “is to improve the health and well being not just of our patients, but of the entire regional population.” Though the “clients” (addicts,) of the SCCC remain an important segment economically of “the entire regional population,” they are not a group the CCHCC wants to be identified with. Since the government is directly and indirectly paying for them, addicts are still profitable but because the addiction treatment industry has become highly controversial, the CCHCC appears to be distancing itself from them and from its corporate parent, the SCCC, which had capitalized on the War on Drugs.

Having recently been granted Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) "Look-Alike" status by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the CCHCC is now in a position to expand even more than it has in the last couple of years. Ed Hughes, whose $140,000 salary is paid by CCHCC, told the Community Common, “With same-day/next-day appointments, on-site pharmacy, extended hours and free transportation for our patients, Compass Community Health Care Center is dedicated to coordinated and comprehensive care.” Having achieved “Look-Alike” status, the health care CCHCC provides will be even more comprehensive, more expensive, and more profitable. Soine Hash, the program director told the Portsmouth Daily Times that one of the advantages of the Look-Alike status is that it will give CCHCC "access to enhanced reimbursement for services provided." What does the euphemism "enhanced reimbursement" mean if not increased profits?

Terry Johnson's official title is Medical Director of  CCHCC, but I think that he's really the CEO. What he is proposing for the people of Scioto County is pretty close to socialized medicine. But since CCHCC is a private corporation, it avoids the stigma of socialism, but not by much, because the government is paying the cost of the health care the CCHCC provides to the "entire regional population."  An appropriate name for the kind of comprehensive health care that Terry Johnson aims to provide the people of south-central Ohio could be called Sciotocized Medicine. Johnson and most of his associates are conservative Republicans, but conservative Republicans in Scioto County, with the assistance of Democrat Speaker of the House Vern Riffe, have led the way in milking local, state, and federal government, first in the War on Poverty and then in the War on Drugs and now in the War on Unhealthiness, Scioto being the unhealthiest county in Ohio.  That it is a war is fairly clear, or why else would Johnson  be photographed so often in his Ohio reserve officer’s uniform with all those medals surrounded by all those flags?

When did Johnson join the War on Unhealthiness? In a statement he made back in 2009 to the Community Common, explaining why he was running for public office, he said, “When you set back and look at all the wonderful people we have that do not step up, and you think they should step up, you have to look in the mirror. So, I looked in the mirror." He looked in the mirror, saw a wonderful doctor, himself,  and threw his stethoscope  in the ring. But his  deep involvement with and virtual takeover and expansion of Hughes’ shady operation suggest he is the kind of unprincipled politician we are all too familiar with. In being an officer in Hughes' shady corporation while also being a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, Johnson may be involved in a conflict of interest.

In the War Against Poverty, it was conservative local Republicans of the Southern Ohio  Growth Partnership (SOGP)  who got Portsmouth reclassified as part of an impoverished rural area, which meant the highly industrialized city was qualified to receive financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DOA). The Scioto County Welcome Center, that front for gambling, where the SOGP had its offices, was paid for by the DOA, with Rob “Porkman” Portman personally delivering the government check. The money that the now discredited and disbanded SOGP  doled out to deserving Republican businessmen came from the DOA. Under Terry Johnson’s Sciotocized Medicine, it will be other departments and programs of the federal government that will be supplying the money, directly and indirectly. Just how much money, if any, Johnson is being paid as Medical Director of CCHCC is not known. The story of how a quiet career-track county coroner became the wheeling-and-dealing life of the Republican Party in southern Ohio has yet to be told, but FQHCs are part of that story. In a footnote on an official website ( I found the following explanation of the crucial difference between true FQHCs and FQHC Look-Alikes:
"Federally-funded Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) meet federal health center grant requirements and are required to report administrative, clinical and other information to the federal Bureau of Primary Health Care, HRSA. Other health centers known as 'FQHC LookAlikes' are not included here because they do not receive federal health center grants and do not report to the Bureau of Primary Health Care."

In  being a Look-Alike organization, rather than the real thing, the CCHCC does not have to report to the House Rehabilitation and Services Administration.  Does it have to report to anybody? What about the Internal Revenue Service? Is the IRS keeping track financially of CCHCC or is CCHCC hiding behind the skirts of the SCCC, which does have to report to the IRS?  As billions of American dollars and thousands of lives have been tragically lost in the war in  Iraq, what guarantee do we have that Sciotocized Medicine and the War on Unhealthiness  will not be a costly mistake as well?

Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Little Old Lady with the Bad Knee and the Unlicensed M.D.

Above is a grainy photo of a little old lady who is no longer with us. That's her hair not a pillow behind her head. It's so full and flowing she must have been proud of it. Her name is Helen M. White, or was, for she died in 2007 at the age of 80, having been born in New Boston in 1927. In 1993, if not earlier, she had the misfortune to have had a partial knee transplant operation performed by Dr. Ronald R. Turner, a Portsmouth orthopedic surgeon with a drinking problem. In February 1994, she filed suit against him for malpractice but apparently without knowing that  the Medical Board  had concluded  he was an alcoholic. Had she known, that might have made all the difference.

Any patient who has a doctor with a drinking  problem has a problem. If that doctor is an orthopedic surgeon, the patient has an even more serious problem, for not only is a surgeon's judgment affected by alcohol, so is his dexterity. An alcoholic surgeon with the slightest  tremor is more than a problem: he is dangerous. He should no more be allowed to operate on a patient's knee than he should be allowed to operate a motor vehicle. Helen White was lucky Dr. Turner was not operating on her brain. But a misaligned knee  is still painful live with. The operation was not a success, not only in her opinion but in the opinion of another orthopedic surgeon, an orthopedist not connected with the Southern Ohio Medical Center, an orthopedist not being called on the carpet by the State Medical Board for being an alcoholic, as Turner was, and an orthopedist not afraid to testify on behalf of a patient  with few financial resources.

 Here lies Helen Marie White
Who fought the good fight.
But instead of putting the heat on Turner,
They put her on the back burner.

Born in 1942,  Ronald R. Turner  began his medical career as an orthopedic surgeon in the state of New York, in July 1970, at about the age of 28.  He continued practicing in New York for about five years. Around 1975, when he was in his mid-30s, he and his wife Mary and their children  moved to Ohio living at 1130 24th St.  But the 1980 city directory shows him with two home addresses: 1130 24th and 603 Colony Drive, in Wheelersburg. By 1984 he was no longer married to Mary, for public records show that in that year  he married Carol S. Kitchen, a nurse, who  lived in an upscale neighborhood of Wheelersburg, on Havenwood Drive, which was where the newly married couple made their home.  On the basis of the restraining order she got against him in 1994,  it seems that alcoholism was causing  havoc in Turner's personal and professional life. Carol Turner  divorced him that same year, 1994, after ten years of marriage.

At the same time Turner was fending off patients’ suits in the 1990s, he was trying to fend off the Ohio Board of Medicine, which wanted him to respond to its charge that his heavy drinking had impaired his ability to carry out his duties as a physician. If Turner had  submitted to the disciplinary authority of  the Board of Medicine and if the Board had suspended or at least censured him for alcoholism, he might have lost at least one if not all three of the suits against him, not to speak of the other suits he might have to contend with when his alcoholism was a matter of public record. Turner could have taken his medicine, enrolled in a Board-approved 12-step program for alcoholics,  achieved sobriety, regained his license and resumed his practice. But  that would have been a long, painful, and for a proud man,  humiliating process. And even had he completed a rehabilitation program, he would have been a marked man, suspect and closely monitored. But Turner  avoided exposure and all that might entail by putting  himself beyond the jurisdiction of the Board of Medicine by peremptorily surrendering his license, as indicated in the following excerpt from an old public record I found on the internet:

In surrendering his  Certificate to practice medicine in Ohio, Turner agreed that, “I am no longer permitted to practice medicine and surgery in any form or manner in the State of Ohio.” Further, he  agreed that he could not ever apply for a reinstatement of his certificate, and also that the agreement would become a matter of public record “and may be reported  to appropriate organizations, data banks and governmental bodies.” I obtained a copy of that document not as a result of a search of the internet, as was the case with the document above, but as the result of a public records request to the Medical Board.

When the New York Board for Professional Conduct learned that Turner had surrendered his Ohio Certificate  rather than submit to a disciplinary hearing conducted by the Ohio Board of Medicine, it ordered him to surrender his New York medical license, which he still had in his possession. If Turner hoped to return to New York and resume his career there, the letter below threw cold water on that possibility.

Though the odds were against her, Helen White didn't give up. Her suit dragged on for years when it might have been settled promptly in her favor if Turner had not succeeded in covering up his alcoholism by giving up his medical license. As an employee of SOMC, with a high powered law firm  representing him,  Turner had a couple of aces up his sleeve while White had little influence and even less money. She lived in  an apartment  without a view on the second floor of 416 Chillicothe Street, over a frequently changing, often unoccupied (as it is now)  commercial space.

416 Chillicothe, (2013), where Helen White lived

452 Havenwood Drive, Wheelersburg, which Dr. Turner currently owns and
occupies and which Zillow places a market value of $283,000 on

Giving up his medical career was a high price  for Turner to pay to avoid  public exposure, but his career would have been precarious even if he had achieved sobriety. And giving up his Certificate did not mean he would need  to give up the prestige  and influence of being Dr. Turner or give up putting the letters M.D. after his name, which he would continue to do, somewhat misleadingly, right up to the present time. His name, as I pointed out in a previous post on the Scioto County Counseling Center, is at the top of the list of its members. He lends his  specious, uncertified medical authority to a controversial  organization that he helped co-found, an organization that is in my opinion a drug rehabilitation racket financed largely by the taxpayers. And he continues to live in the big house on a hill in Havenwood Drive in Wheelersburg that, according to the auditor's records, had once belonged to the family of the ex-wife who had  taken out a restraining order against him. So the Board uncertified  Dr. Turner, but he like his buddy Ed Hughes in Sciotoville and Paul Vernier  in West Portsmouth, (click here) live like feudal lords, above us peasants, in  big homes on  hills above the drug-related southern Ohio high crime area they helped create by being a magnet for addicts from the tri-state region.

List of Counseling Center members with "Dr." Turner first and foremost