ABC News reports today on a fundraising scam by the NRCC. Apparently they sent out 'Physician of the Year' awards to doctors around the country -- awards with a twist:

...to receive the award in person at a special two-day workshop in Washington last month, [Dr. Rudolph] Mueller found out that he would have to make a $1,250 contribution to the National Republican Congressional Committee. It was a disturbing discovery, he said.

The article goes on to mention that they have found doctors putting these awards on lists of their credentials, potentially misleading patients. This, to me, blurs the line between manipulative fundraising and outright fraud.

I thought it would be useful, entertaining, and maybe illuminating to try to locate some of these doctors who are misrepresenting themselves as having won a genuine merit award, rather than having bought a meaningless certificate with a political donation.

So take a look below the fold for what I've found so far, and please, post any examples you find that I've missed.

First up is Dr. Abbas Qutab, a chiropractor who founded the Elan Vital Spa in Worcester, Mass. He promotes himself thusly:

In 2003 he received the "Physician of the Year" award for his active role in the NRCC of the National Health Care and Medicare Reforms Committee.

It's a bit hard to believe that a yoga teacher and ayurvedic doctor could be a Republican, but it takes all sorts, I suppose. In any case, he takes the dishonesty one step farther by saying he received -the- award, rather than one of hundreds.

Next up is Dr. Gerard Isenberg, a gastroenterologist at Case Western Reserve University. Heading up the 'Honors and Awards' sections on his CV:

· 2002 Physician of the Year Award, US Congress
· Chairman, NRCC Physicians' Advisory Board, Congressman Tom DeLay, 2002-3

Interesting that the Bugman's name should turn up. I also wonder about whether CWRU might not have some ethical objection to this sort of misrepresentation. But moving on...

Dr. John Fullerton of Fairfax, CA, a geriatrician, made news last year when he sued the Florida Medical Association for criticizing his testimony in a medical malpractice case. Dr. Fullerton (Imisre)presents his bonafides thusly:

Dr. Fullerton...this year received a California Physician of the Year award from Congress...

Note, also, that the FMA was investigating him for possibly providing false information to win a medical malpractice trial. Not exactly the kind of doctor who the Republican Party typically holds in high honor, am I right?

Moving on, we come to Dr. Chris Philippart of North Carolina, an oncologist whose award merited an item in the North Carolina Medical Society's newsletter:

Dr. Chris Philippart of Crystal Coast Radiation Oncology, P.A. was awarded the Physician of the Year Award for the State of North Carolina by the United States Congress on January 27, 2004, in Washington, D.C. Congressman Tom Reynolds presented the award. ... He also serves as a member of both the U.S. Congress House Majority Trust and Congressional Majority Trust, where in 2003 he received the 2003 National Leadership Award from Congressman Tom Delay.

There's that name again. Note that his 2003 Leadership Award lines up neatly with a series of NRCC donations in 2003 as well. And note that again, his award is misrepresented as being from the Congress instead of the Republican Party.

More and more. Dr. Randal A. Otto, an otolaryngologist at the University of Texas, is another lucky winner (lucky because he apparently only had to donate $500 to win). His CV lists this award as well:

2003 - 2003 Physician of the Year, The National Republican Congressional Committee's Physicians' Advisory Board

This CV is littered with other scam awards such as Who's Who, as well. Too bad for any medical students at the University of Texas, I suppose.

Dr. Guido Ring, a Georgia nephrologist, merited a full article in his local paper for his 'top honor

CORDELE -- Dr. Guido H. Ring, a local nephrologist and internist, has been awarded the prestigious National Republican Congressional Committee's (NRCC) Physician of the Year 2004 Award for Georgia.

The article, naturally, makes no mention of the financial aspect of Dr. Ring's award. It again implies that he won the only award, or the only award for Georgia, neither of which is apparently the case.

Dr. Rajinder Singh Puri of Lakeland, Florida may be the first man to get an article in the paper merely for receiving a fundraising letter:

The committee's board recognized him as a pioneer of health-care reform, named him a 2004 physician of the year and invited him to inauguration festivities for President Bush.

"I'm not even a Republican," the Lakeland family doctor said.

I can't find a donation on record for this guy, but I can't find any mentions of him anywhere else either, so the paper may have spelled his name wrong.

Following the links from this guy, though, we find Dr. Ajit Shah. According to this newsletter,

Dr. Ajit Shah was recognized as the "Physician of the Year". Dr. Shah, Past-President of AIPNO, had taken a medical mission of AIPNO to the earthquake-torn Kutch, India, in January 2002.

A worthy endeavor, no doubt, but not the reason for his award so much as the $500 donation in his name.

And on we go. Dr. Stephen Ronan, a plastic surgeon from Danville, CA, touts his credentials thusly:

2003 Physician of the Year
Congressional Physician Advisory Board

US Congressioanal Order of Merit
September 8, 2003

Congressional Order of Merit? That's a new one. Perhaps ABC News had better look into that next.

Anyway, this is enough for me tonight so I'm turning over the keys to you guys. If you find anything too juicy, I'll post it in an update.

Update [2005-4-7 9:31:2 by neil]:gorlim, in comments found Dr. Gail Whitman-Elia, a gynecologist from South Carolina, also turned her donation to the Republicans into an advertisement in the local paper. This article is relatively honest, except of course that it doesn't mention the glaring quid pro quo. That's our liberal media, though, isn't it? And it's a great way for the Republicans to reward party loyalty.

I want to mention that I don't think anybody should make any attempts to contact these doctors' patients or their employers about this. It is quite likely that some or all of them are victims of a scam, and are totally unaware that they did not earn their awards. I'm more interested in gathering a critical mass of doctors misrepresenting themselves this way and pinning these potentionally dangerous lies to the morally bankrupt, hypocritical Republicans.

Originally posted to neil on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 10:21 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.