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Two Belgian ME/CFS doctors fined

Tuesday 10 August 2010

ESMEThe European Society for ME – Research & Knowledge reports on two Belgian doctors who have received substantial fines for their work on ME/CFS patients.

The following was translated from a Belgian article and is presented as is:

Belgian National Health Insurance Institute submit two CFS/ME doctors penalty of more than half a million Euros

Belgian National Health Insurance Institute  submit two CFS/ME doctors penalty of more than half a million Euros.

Two Belgian doctors who treated thousands of CFS/ME patients in recent years have been fined by the Administrative Court of Inami, the Belgian National Health Insurance  Institute to  a penalty of more than € 500,000. The Drs Francis Coucke, endocrinologist, and Anne Marie Uyttersprot, neuropsychiatrist, must not only repay the prescribed medication but were also fined more than 100%. The verdict was in absentia because both doctors act of revenge by the court. One of the doctors- magistrates, the chairman of the CVS group of Inami, Prof Baeyens, withdrew. The other issue was a doctor- magistrate, Dr Bernard Debbaut, which sits at the Insurance Committee and the Technical Medical Board of Inami, who refused to withdraw. The conviction of two doctors was before the investigation that preceded the lawsuit, announced by the Christian and Socialist Health Insurances (CM & SM).

The case came at the instigation of the Health Insurance CM who in recent years faced with growing discontent of its members who refuse the imposed CBT psychotherapy for the treatment of CFS, such as those in the so-called reference centers is applied. An internal report of Inami has previously shown that behavioral therapy is unsuccessful. A report from the independent Knowledge Centre  KCE later confirmed that outcome.

Both doctors are committed to not accept the verdict and will appeal. "This case is a put-up job," says Dr. Uyttersprot. "We have rigorously applied the criteria of Inami. In contradiction with official beliefs we established  that many patients suffer from severe comorbid disorders. We have done no more than our duty. In no way have enriched ourselves."

"It is proven that a physician in this country has no chance of a fair hearing," says Dr. Coucke. " Inami, which is controlled by the largest health insurance company  in the country, CM, is judge and party and not even hiding it. We have documentary evidence that the conviction was tied. The so-called investigation by Inami was a joke."

Despite the appeal the verdict can be executed  immediately.

Earlier, the CM field a  complaint with the National Order of Physicians, who dismissed the case.

This verdict also creates a precedent because it means that Belgian doctors now not only have to repay unfair fees received but now post factum required to bear the costs of so called falsely medication of their patients.  The requirements of the two doctors were however always approved by the medical officer of the health insurance.

The above originally appeared here.

There is also a petition to help Dr Uyttersprot:

Steun dokter Uyttersprot

iPetitionA Belgian specialist in the field of ME/CFS, Dr AM Uyttersprot is being fined for the prescription of (expensive) total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and immunoglobulins to ME/CFS-patients (chronic fatigue syndrome). She has to pay an incredible huge fine immediately.

It needs to be said that patients receiving these treatments feel better… their immune system becomes better and patients can function at a higher level than before.

What's really unbelievable in all this is that Dr Uyttersprot followed all the Belgian rules.

For every patient she asked the advisory doctors (the "patient controllers" of the different Governmental Insurance companies in Belgium) permission to prescribe these drugs … and she received their permission every time! So, what did she do wrong? We don’t understand… who does?

Her patients feel better thanks to her treatment… but the doctor is punished because she's one of the few actually helping them. It’s totally unfair… Dr Uyttersprot is wrongly and without any saying in the matter being penalized to an extent that could bankrupt her.

We URGENTLY ask your support by SIGNING THIS PETITION against the penalization of doctor Uyttersprot. We ask that in the future she will be allowed to treat her patients the same way she does now.

We want her monetary penalty to be remitted! She doesn’t deserve this!

You can sign here:

We thank you for your support.

You would render the doctor and her patients a great service by signing.



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