Sunday, May 3, 2009

Time for Dr. Hevesy to Explain

Now that Fire Station 12 in Peoria can give paramedic care, I think it would be a good idea if OSF and Dr. George Hevesy would make a statement regarding Dr. Hevesy receiving a salary from Advanced Medical Transport.

The time is now.

If people clearly understood what has happened, and understood the seriousness of the conflict of interest, they would push the policy makers harder for the Peoria Fire Department (PFD) to expand its paramedic service for all of Peoria.

Waiting on AMT to arrive on scene and give advanced life support to patients in extremis would be a thing of the past.

Many people in the Peoria area believe there has been a conflict of interest with Dr. Hevesy receiving a salary from AMT. He worked for many years as the local Project Medical Director (physician who controls all ambulances in the area) and is now the Director of Emergency Medicine at OSF.

Why did it take the PFD almost two decades to be able to administer advanced life support? AMT wanted to be the only ambulance providers of this service in Peoria and Dr. Hevesy supported AMT while he was paid by AMT.

Did Dr. Hevesy support the PFD and encourage them to advance their care as Station 12 just did? Did he ever discourage the PFD or influence the Peoria City Council in any way that would slow the PFD from advancing? Journal Star archived articles say yes.

OSF, AMT, University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria, and Dr. Hevesy all need to admit to the public in Peoria (an advertisement in the Journal Star?) that Dr. Hevesy is on AMT’s payroll.

Then, maybe it wouldn't take two more decades for the PFD to save some lives.

Peorians need to know. It is time for Dr. Hevesy to tell us.

Read the first few paragraphs of this weeks New England Journal of Medicine (April 29, 2009) regarding medical conflict of interest. In my opinion, it is very relevant in Peoria.

Controlling Conflict of Interest — Proposals from the Institute of Medicine
Robert Steinbrook, M.D.

As Congress considers mandating the disclosure of industry gifts and payments to physicians on a searchable federal government Web site, others have been developing proposals for reforming physician–industry relations, and key changes are being made to policies at various academic medical centers, professional societies, and companies.

In late April 2009, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report on conflicts of interest that is notable for its breadth — it covers many aspects of medical research, education, and practice as well as both individual and institutional financial relationships — and the variety of its proposals (see Overview of IOM Recommendations about Conflict of Interest in Medicine).

The IOM defined a conflict of interest as "a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest." The primary interests of concern include "promoting and protecting the integrity of research, the welfare of patients, and the quality of medical education." Secondary interests "may include not only financial gain but also the desire for professional advancement, recognition for personal achievement, and favors to friends and family or to students and colleagues."

Of course, public attention has focused primarily on financial conflicts of interest, and the IOM did so as well, viewing them as "not . . . necessarily more corrupting" than other secondary interests but "relatively more objective, fungible and quantifiable" and "more effectively and fairly regulated."

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