The Emperor's New Clothes: Delaware IAB Decision Strips Doctor Naked

Okay, in fairness to Dr. Atkins, this ruling could have been about any number of local doctors. Or at least a few of them that seem to share similar practices when it comes to production of their records. In a recent case, Randal Salyer v. State of Delaware, IAB # 1336020 (6/17/10), the Board both in its main text and its footnotes offered much commentary regarding the allegation that Dr. Atkins was "intentionally evasive in the discovery process." Specifically they agreed. There were numerous requests for production of Dr. Atkins entire chart, it would seem. That circumstance notwithstanding, that chart was produced in a piecemeal and incomplete fashion including 117 pages of medical records immediately prior to Dr. Atkins' deposition.

Even as the Hearing on the merits was being convened, the disclosure of Dr. Atkins' records were not complete. Of note, the claimant's medical history included a motor vehicle accidents in 200 and 2005, and work accident in 1999, 2002 and 2006 in addition to the event in March 2009 that was the subject of this Petition.

Entertaining preliminary objections at the Hearing, the Board was compelled to admit Dr. Atkins' testimony, so as to avoid undue prejudice to the Claimant. In so doing, the Board stated: "Dr. Atkins shall be placed on notice that such conduct cannot and will not be tolerated in the future in this or any matter. Any further refusal on the part of Dr. Atkins to timely comply with a duly served request for records shall result in much stiffer penalties as this Board grows weary of such unnecessary and unprofessional tactics."

For the merits of the case, I commend you to read the decision in its entirety. However, the ruling on this Petition to Determine Compensation Due, which was granted in part and denied in part, reflects not only a lack of disclosure by Dr. Atkins in terms of the contents of his complete chart, but further the fact that his testimony, his chart, and the claimant's testimony were not compatible. There is the observation that Dr. Atkins' prescription records did not support his or the claimant's testimony; his recorded diagnosis was also incongruous with the claimant's own admissions. In large part, the opinion of the defense medical expert, Dr. Ali Kalamchi, was adopted by the Board. It seems he had less to hide, and even as the "hired gun" came across far more palatable than the "doctor hiding under a bucket". I guess after this some of his record-keeping practices have been.... well, stripped bare.......

My thoughts about this one?

  • Dr. Atkins is not the only member of this club
  • What is ambiguous about the RFP that requests "ALL records from date of first treatment to date"?
  • What is ambiguous about the RFP that requests "ALL records for any and all accidents"?
  • What is ambiguous about the RFP that requests "your ENTIRE CHART"?

As I commented in the most recent blog piece, hope the docs are reading this......:>)

Regards,

Cassandra Roberts

 Visit Delaware Detour & Frolic, a law blog by Cassandra Roberts