Dr Ewart Brown: “Untenable, Frivolous Lawsuit”

February 16, 2017

Dr Ewart Brown has responded to the lawsuit the Bermuda Government filed against Lahey Clinic, calling it a “litany of lies, designed to convert a fully-vetted contractual agreement into a bribe,” adding that “Bermuda politics is the driving force behind a six-year, multi-million dollar farcical investigation and this untenable, frivolous lawsuit.”

Lawsuit Filed Alleging Bribery, Medically Unnecessary Scans &  More

The lawsuit [PDF] alleged that Lahey conspired with Dr Brown to perpetuate an enterprise fueled by Lahey’s payments to Dr Brown which were “disguised as consulting fees,” in return for which Dr Brown “ensured that Lahey received preferential treatment when bidding on healthcare contracts issued by the Bermudian Government.”

The legal complaint alleges that “the enterprise was wildly successful and resulted in the enrichment of both Lahey and Brown at the expense of the Bermudian Government and people.”

It says that MRI use and CT scanning in Bermuda more than doubled, and “Bermudians soon ranked among the most scanned patients in the world” with the complaint alleging that “excessive, medically unnecessary” MRI and CT scans were performed.

Dr Brown Calls It ‘Farcical Investigation’ & ‘Untenable, Frivolous Lawsuit’

In response, Dr Brown said, “Now we know. For years, the media and others in Bermuda have been asking the question: “Who is behind this $3 million, 6-year unending investigation of Dr. Brown?”

“Now we know. It has been revealed that the Bermuda Government, led by Attorney General Trevor Moniz, retained a law firm and public relations company in Boston to intensify the effort to destroy my personal and professional reputation. He filed a lawsuit against Lahey Hospital in Boston federal court, which contained countless lies and ridiculous allegations.

“In yesterday’s Boston Globe, a former federal prosecutor noted that “civil racketeering actions are fairly common, but what makes this unusual is that it’s a foreign government bringing the case and alleging corruption by one of its own former members.”

“Why is Bermuda’s own Attorney General so hell-bent on pursuing a vendetta against a Former Premier and Leader of Bermuda’s Opposition Party that he sacrifices the reputation of our entire pristine jurisdiction by baselessly alleging political corruption, when none has been remotely proven?

“In order to bring down a Former Premier in an election year, why would Bermuda’s own Attorney General launch a broadside against one of the most reputable medical centers in the United States – one that has treated Bermudian patients with care, dignity and excellent medical care for over the past 20+ years?

“Most importantly, why did the Government of Bermuda, now clearly led by the Attorney General, trample over patients’ rights in a desperate attempt to criminalize me? Why did the Government authorize and carry out a raid on my medical clinics to gain unfettered access to the confidential medical records of thousands of patients without the patients’ prior knowledge or consent.

“Hundreds of Bermudian patients are in angst right now. They wonder which of the many police officers, seen forcibly breaking into my clinics and totally unmonitored during over a 36-hour siege, were able to see even their names on their medical files. They dread that their files were opened and that their medical histories are now known in a community as small as Bermuda.

“What Attorney General anywhere would sanction such a horrible, unprecedented, disgusting and unnecessary invasion of patient privacy in order to settle a political score with a Former Premier?

“For over 20 years, Bermuda Healthcare Services brought Lahey sub-specialists to Bermuda so that residents would not have to travel abroad to see them, which actually saved the Government of Bermuda money. And of course, thousands of Bermudians have traveled to Lahey and received first-class care at reasonable prices.

“Pain has been relieved, lives have been saved and many Bermudians now have a better quality of life because Lahey physicians have had a contractual relationship with my clinics since before my party was even elected to run the Government – dating back to when my party was in Opposition and long before I was Premier.

“Until very recently, these Lahey physicians worked out of my offices under work permits issued by the Government of Bermuda to Lahey which were sought and held by Bermuda HealthCare Services. Perhaps the Attorney General did not know this.

“One has to surmise that the Attorney General also never drove by my most centrally-located clinic in town to see our large road or building signs with “Lahey Physicians” on them, or never saw our letterhead which had on every page, “An Affiliate of Lahey Hospital, Burlington”.

“There is no one in Bermuda, obviously save the Attorney General in this lawsuit, who would call our relationship with Lahey undisclosed or secret.

“In the complaint, one is treated to a litany of lies, designed to convert a fully-vetted contractual agreement into a bribe.

“The Attorney General’s actions serve to dismiss or tarnish over two decades of hard work conducted by professionals in both Bermuda and Boston to raise the quality of healthcare in Bermuda. Shame on him!

“Naturally, we are continuing our fight in Bermuda, now armed with the knowledge that Bermuda politics is the driving force behind a six-year, multimillion dollar farcical investigation and this untenable, frivolous lawsuit.”

Lahey ‘Concerned Lawsuit Likely Motivated By Internal Island Politics’

A Lahey spokesperson said, “We are concerned that this lawsuit is likely motivated by internal island politics, not business practices. This lawsuit may be a politically-motivated attempt by the current government of Bermuda to discredit their political opposition before an election, using Lahey Hospital & Medical Center [LHMC] as a pawn in an intense partisan political battle. Our focus is on providing high-quality care to our patients, not politics.

“LHMC has worked closely with both major political parties in Bermuda over the years to increase access to high-quality care for the people of Bermuda. We are committed to defending this lawsuit and to ensuring this political conflict does not prevent our patients from getting the care they need and deserve.

“Our business practices and commitment to patients in Bermuda are beyond reproach. Over the years, our Bermuda business contracts and consulting agreements have been thoroughly reviewed by internal and external parties – all of whom have found our practices to be fully compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.

“LHMC has a 25-year track record of providing the highest-quality care to our patients in Bermuda, and offers this care at what we believe is a lower cost than other academic medical centers. In fact, LHMC was the first health care system to bring specialists to Bermuda to care for patients in their communities, where it is more convenient and easier to access.”

Government Believes It Has ‘Substantial Claims Against Lahey’

Attorney General Trevor Moniz commented on the lawsuit yesterday saying the proceedings follow many months of investigations into arrangements between Lahey and Dr. Brown, and the “Government believes it has substantial claims against Lahey.”

Mr Moniz said, “On 14 February 2017, and on behalf of the Government of Bermuda, I issued proceedings against Lahey Clinic, Inc. [a.k.a. Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Burlington] and Lahey Clinic Hospital, Inc. [together, “Lahey”] in federal court in Massachusetts in the United States of America.

“The proceedings follow many months of investigations by the Attorney General’s Chambers into certain arrangements between Lahey and former Premier Dr. Ewart Brown involving undisclosed payments made by Lahey to Dr. Brown over a period of many years.

“In return for such payments, we assert that Lahey received preferential treatment from the Government in relation to its work in Bermuda and for Bermudians.

“Over a lengthy period of time, MRI and CT scans have been carried out by Dr. Brown’s clinics and interpreted by Lahey staff, which appears to have been medically unnecessary.

“As a result of these investigations, the Government believes it has substantial claims against Lahey, and has issued the proceedings accordingly.”

click here Bermuda Govt's lawsuit against Lahey

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