Academic Corruption

Many patients are skeptical of their physician- you probably should be too.  contributed a piece over at the Diet Doctor. The Diet Doctor states this on the “About” page:

Regaining health in a sick world requires thinking and acting differently. It requires trusting not in corporate propaganda or old misinformation, but in nature. In the power of your own body to return to its natural state, given the right environment.

Our mission is to find the truth about health and supply tools for those who want to free themselves. Thus empowering people everywhere to revolutionize their health.

Dr Fung highlights some of the most egregious conflicts of interest many physicians labor under. Money is the cause. You doctor is swayed by payments. You can (and should) check your physician at https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/.

Almost all doctors acknowledge that physicians can be swayed by payments. However, they limit that persuasive effect to other doctors. No physician admits that a few bucks, or a golf trip, or a free lunch might cause him/her to compromise a patient’s care.

But let’s look at a specific example- Charles “Sam”Fillingane, DO from Jackson, Mississippi (how appropriate that he hails from the state that is routinely number last in everything good).

Wall Street Journal article cited the case of one doctor, Charles “Sam” Fillingane, as “the most prolific test prescriber among 296 doctors who referred patients to HDL.” He may have earned as much as $23,000 in six months on P&H fees at one point. In 2010, according to the Journal, he received $3,000 a month for serving on HDL’s medical advisory board. By 2012, as the former HDL employee told me, Fillingane received $6,000 a month to serve on the advisory board. This was on top of the P&H fees and his fees for speaking on behalf of the company. Despite all these revenue streams, the company gave him $100,000 in unsecured loans “because he was struggling in his business.”

If you do a quick google search for “Dr. Fillingane” in addition to his distinction as one of the highest referrers to the operations of HDL he can be found on several websites. On his own website he notes this:

Dr. Sam Fillingane is a board certified family practitioner whose practice is totally dedicated to “Cardiovascular Risk Reduction.” Dr. Fillingane has had a passion for CV Risk Reduction for years which has led him to develop a treatment protocol for cardiovascular disease that has had great success in reducing cardiovascular events in a high risk patient population.

Dr. Fillingane has been teaching courses related to cardiovascular risk reduction all over the country for many years. Recently Dr. Fillingane has become the TV host of a national television show related to cardiovascular risk reduction, “Straight To The Heart,” which can be seen weekly on My Family TV Network. Dr. Fillingane utilizes his experience and knowledge of cardiovascular biomarkers to identify patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and how to remove that risk from each patient.

Dr. Fillingane has been a sought after speaker for multiple topics related to CV disease. He has also assisted in the training of multiple medical students and residents throughout the years. Dr. Fillingane was selected as the AOA Mentor of the Year in 2009.

Dr. Fillingane is a medical director for Jackson Sleep Laboratory, and assists with the care of numerous cardiovascular patients with sleep abnormalities. Dr. Fillingane has laser surgical training that includes many years of experience treating obstructive sleep apnea with LAUP (laser assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) when conservative treatment with CPAP or BiPAP are not an option.

Dr. Fillingane is a graduate of Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine and Biosciences. Dr. Fillingane also did his rotating internship in Kansas City at Lakeside Hospital, which included cardiology training at St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Fillingane is the founder and CEO of Fillingane Medical Clinic in Jackson, Mississippi.

He also has another website here, which also make many of the same self-serving claims. Ironically, it also touts his relationship with the now defunct HDL.

All of the websites indicate Dr. Fillingane practices here:

Fillingane Medical Clinic
1021 North Flowood Drive
Jackson, Mississippi

Yet this location is closed. The bank has taken possession of the property. Dr. Fillingane has abandoned the building, his patients, and his practice. Yet he still has a Mississippi license and has acquired, miraculously, a Florida license as well.

The public is right to be skeptical of “academic” credentials. The public- you included- should carefully check out whether you doctor’s credentials are real or simply bogus “puffery.” Licensure doesn’t help as a screening tool (ask Mississippi and Florida). At least Alabama had the good sense to deny “Dr. Fillingane” a license.

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