The Joint Commission is charged with ensuring the highest quality standards at America’s Hospitals. When Pam was being processed through the Johns Hopkins meat grinder, I threatened various officials that I would report them to the Joint Commission. They laughed – said the Joint Commission was “a joke.”
I didn’t believe that – until I told the the Joint Commission Pam’s story:
Health Care Complaint:Physician: Hugh G. Calkins, MD
Hospital: Johns Hopkins, BaltimoreNature of Complaint:
Breach of ethics and standards of care, fraudulent concealment of records. See attached.Thank You,
Here is the reply:
Dear Mr. Walter:
I am writing in response to the issues you communicated to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”) regarding an organization.
Since you did not indicate the address of this organization, we are unable to locate it in our files so we can determine whether or not it is currently accredited by the Joint Commission; therefore, we are unable to take further action regarding your concern…
Office of Quality Monitoring
For the Record:
Johns Hopkins Medicine
600 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, MD 21287
Dr. David L. Nahrwold, incoming Joint Commission president, has promised to look into the situation.
Our correspondence follows:
March 25, 2008
When I asked the records clerks at Hopkins how it was that seven pages of a patient’s chart could have been added some four years after the fact ( after the statute of limitations for legal action had passed) I was told how the system works:
Whenever a request for records comes in, the records office contacts the office of each physician involved in the patient’s care. I made no fewer than six requests for Pam’s full records, and each time when Hopkins records office contacted Hugh Calkins, he provided what he claimed was the full record of Pam’s care.
However, documentation shows that when Hopkins’ lawyers asked the records office for Pams’ records in 2005 – an internal request made after the statute passed – then and only then did Hugh Calkins provide a note to the medical chart, a note which was written in 2002, in which for the first time he reveals that “Richard Wu was manipulating the catheter” at the time it became entangled in the mitral valve.
There is clear and unequivocal documentation that Hugh Calkins withheld a medical chart note for more than three years — until after the statute of limitations had passed for any legal action.
Let me repeat: It is a proven fact that Dr. Hugh Calkins withheld information from a patient’s medical chart.
This is what I laid out to the Joint Commission on more than one occasion.
Let me know what else I need to do, what documentation I need to provide – and I will do it.
With all due respect, Dr. Nahrwold, now it is up to you to act – and prove Hopkins wrong about your outfit being “a joke.”
On 3/14/07, firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> wrote:
Regarding: The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Dear Mr. Walter:
This is to inform you that we have completed our review of your letter regarding the above organization.
Based on The Joint Commission policy, we are unable to evaluate issues greater than three years old. Please be assured that although no action could be taken at this time, this does not mean that we do not view your issues as important.
Per our Public Information Policy, the following information is provided upon request as it becomes available:
- The number of standards-related written complaints filed against an accredited organization that have met criteria for review
- The applicable standards areas involved in a specific complaint review
- The standards areas in which requirements for improvement were issued as a result of complaint evaluation activities
- When an unannounced or unscheduled survey is based on information derived from a complaint or public sources, the standards areas related to the complaint
- Any determination that the complaint is not related to The Joint Commission standards
In addition, you may also wish to refer to the organization’s Quality Report, which is available at The Joint Commission’s web site ( www.jointcommission.org, and click Quality Check), to obtain general information about the organization’s performance on key quality measures. To obtain a hard copy of the report, please contact our Customer Service Center at (630) 792-5800 or write to the Customer Service Center at
Customer Service Center
The Joint Commission
One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
The Joint Commission stands ready to receive and review issues of concern about accredited organizations at any time and will act in accordance with all the information that is provided to us.
Ms. J. Stovall
Office of Quality Monitoring
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Dan Walter
Date: Wed, Mar 14, 2007 at 6:35 PM
Subject: Re: Issues Older Than 3 Years Email
To: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
March 14, 2007
This issue is not greater than three years old. I am telling you that Hugh G. Calkins, MD withheld a document from the medical records until last year. The medical mistake occurred more that three years ago, but a medical chart note indicating that a trainee was performing primary aspects of the procedure without my wife’s consent was withheld until July 2006.
Please let me know what other documentation you may need.
PS… Here is another incident report # 5319 ASQ – 1442SAC