The Maine Medical Association has authored LD 471, a measure that would require parents to have a counseling session with a health care provider, and obtain written confirmation of the session with the health care provider’s signature, and file the form with the school system, before a child would be allowed to access their free and appropriate public education after forgoing a vaccine. The theory behind the measure is that parents need to be educated on vaccines, and have a chance to ask the questions they have about vaccination, before their children should be allowed in school. The irony of this measure is that the growing distrust of the current vaccine program in the US exists because parents cannot get their questions on vaccines answered.
The Main Medical Association is also currently opposing LD 1076, a measure that would, among other things, require your membership to know and use the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program guidelines on vaccine injury. The reasoning behind this requirement is that since your membership has been given complete liability protection for causing injury and death when administering vaccines, they must, at the very minimum, be required to know and use the guidelines that HRSA has put in place to substitute the litigation process for delivering care and compensation to a patient for a vaccine injury. The irony of your opposition to the bill is that the testimony given by your representative, Peter Michaud, is that he clearly didn’t know of the VICP existence.
Your leadership literally didn’t even bother to google “Vaccine Injury Compensation Program” to see what it was before testifying before the state of Maine on legislation that impacts the health and education of all Maine children. His testimony can be viewed in full here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYlguoqggSo
The Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice has submitted testimony, that you can find on our web site, that takes the position that because your organization has not only failed to educated your members on federal vaccine injury guidelines, that none of your membership can be qualified to either give vaccine counseling nor administer vaccines. How can one be qualified to vaccinate if one does not even know of the existence of the federal program that is the repository of vaccine risk information in the US? You can find the write up here: http://mainevaxchoice.org/index.php/news/70-maine-doctors-submit-testimony-showing-that-they-are-not-qualified-to-advise-patients-on-vaccination
We have a number of questions for the MMA arising from your testimony in the recent hearings. I have attached them, and we believe that your organization has a obligation to answer these questions to all of our members who have used your members vaccination services, and all Mainers who you believe should be legally forced to seek counsel from your members on vaccination.
The bizarre experience of our membership has been that the MMA presents itself a good faith organization that is eager to engage patients in vaccine discussions, but that as soon as those discussions turn to serious questions on vaccine injury, the conversation is shut down and families are ignored or attacked. This is reflected in Mr. Michaud’s testimony, as he claims that doctors are constantly checking themselves to make sure that they are doing right by patients as their health partners, and then quickly reverses that sentiment by suggesting that if patients believe that doctors are failing them that suing them is their remedy. If the MMA is indeed a good faith organization, so intent on the well being of its patients that it wants to engage in dialog with those wishing to opt out of vaccines, as your bill LD 471 claims, then we first ask that the MMA engage the Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice on our questions on behalf of more than 600 of these families in Maine.
While this is not a complete list of questions we have for your organization, these questions represent the basic questions that families need answers to in order to begin to believe that the MMA is a good faith organization that wants to partner with parents, not bully them into buying a medical product for their child against their better judgement, or merely be able to bill for a 90460 CPT code.
We look forward to your response.
Questions for MMA:
LD 471 was written by the Maine Medical Association. If a fully unvaccinated child is forced to see an MMA physician to gain school entry, how much will that doctor earn from that visit under the relevant CPT codes that allow doctors to charge per vaccine recommended? How much if a child is only being counseled on one vaccine? How much do you estimate this will cost MaineCare in total?
What is the actual vaccine injury rate in Maine?
How many serious adverse reactions occur each year in Maine, and what is the approximate cost to the state for them? Please give us any information you have on short term medical care v. long term disability cases.
Please forward any data you have on how many vaccine deaths have occurred in Maine since the VICP and VAERS programs were established. Individual case reports would be helpful if you have them.
Of those reporting an injury, what percentage are your doctors diagnosing with a vaccine injury, what percentage end up being compensated by the VICP?
What does the MMA do to inform their members about newly ruled on vaccine injuries that are coming out of the VICP?
Parents have testified before the committee that their children are suffering vaccine adverse reactions and that they cannot get their Maine physicians to assess and treat them according to federal guidelines, nor are they able to find doctors to testify for them so that they can get these cases compensated in the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. What resources are available to these families?
You testified that Maine physicians require education for licensure and receive CME training on vaccine adverse events, making this legislation unnecessary. What licensure requirements and CME programs educate physicians in Maine on the Vaccine Injury Table? Who is running this training?
Can u send us the curriculum so that we can see that VICP table injuries are being covered in these CME materials.
Does MMA oppose listing the VICP information and table in the Maine CDC Immunization Program Provider Reference Manual? If so, why?
Please list the MMA physicians in Maine who specialize in assessing and diagnosing various vaccine injuries, and who testify for families in the VICP.
You testified that you don’t know anything about the VICP system, does that not speak to the need for the legislation to force MMA physicians to know the system so they can use it to evaluate, diagnose, treat and work toward compensating vaccine injury cases? If the MMA doesn’t anything about it know about it, what chance to patients have to get help?
What training and direction does MMA give their physicians on assessing and diagnosing vaccine injury, and then testifying on behalf of their vaccine injured patients in the VICP?
When a child presents with the symptoms of vaccine encephalopathy, per the VICP table, in the days or weeks following a pertussis or measles containing vaccine, what is the process by which a Maine physician determines if the symptoms are caused by the vaccine or merely a temporal association? Please attach research and educational materials.
The Pace Environmental Law Review paper “Unanswered Questions from the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Review of Compensated Cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury,” has established that there is an overlap in the compensated cases of vaccine encephalopathy and an autism diagnosis. What is the MMA doing to re evaluate children with a diagnosis of autism, who also meet the VICP table description of encephalopathy, to assure that these children have not been missed and are not continuing to suffer from medical neglect for these associated medical conditions such as chronic brain inflammation?
You have stated that you have empathy for the families reporting vaccine harm that do not believe they have access to proper care. What is the MMA doing in response to these families reports of medical neglect? Have you contacted the families or the Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice who brought the bill forward to see if they have availed themselves of the programs that you believe that this bill already provides (making LD 1076 redundant?)
You testified that you have heard “horrible things about doctors today,” and that you refuse to believe that doctors in Maine are “unfeeling, horribly rude, are bullies, and don’t have the best interests of the patients in mind.” What is the formal complaint process that MMA would direct parents to if they feel that they are being bullied in the office? If you already don’t believe them, then what chance do they have of the MMA disciplining their physicians who do behave unethically toward patients?
What is the MMA’s position on patients being kicked out of medical practices for refusing vaccines?
In Response to Rep. Vachon’s question on whether or not the MMA has doctors who are concerned with investigating vaccine injury cases and if they are having conversations about these cases to determine causation, you replied in the affirmative. But then discussed research, but not the investigation of individual cases, which is what this bill addresses. Where are the conversations on the individual cases taking place? And these broad research/policy conversations that you describe… are these parents and advocacy groups being invited to participate in them so that you have a critical voice giving you specific information on where the gaps in information, treatment and services are?
We have heard testimony from Dr. Suzanne Humphries that she spent a year at Eastern Maine Medical Center simply trying to get data that showed that the policy of vaccinating her patients in the first 12 hours was safe, and eventually quit the hospital because she was retaliated against for attempting to provide science based medical care. What is the MMA doing to protect physicians in Maine who are not satisfied with the gaps in vaccine safety and efficacy data who are asking challenging questions of medical authorities on vaccine safety, and want to practice the precautionary principle in populations lacking data so that they “first do no harm?”
You testified that you heard people saying today that the CDC is rife with scandal and that, “I don’t know… that might be true.” What is the MMA doing to vet those claims, and stay abreast on the specifics of these investigations to assure that they are not encouraging their physicians to rely on medical information that may be based in fraud? Please forward any briefs, white papers or cautionary statements that the MMA has generated in reference to the Thompson CDC investigation, the Thorsen indictment or the Merck Mumps Vaccine False Claims Act lawsuit.
Your follow up comments included the points that, “At some point we have to trust somebody,” and that, “There are some things that we just have to take on trust, and to me, the board that regulates doctors, is somebody who, I, who represents doctors, trust.” Parents have reported that because of these scandals, because of the gaps they find in physician information on vaccines as compared to the VICP information, and because they are experiencing first hand damage in their own children, they no longer trust these organizations who are educating and regulating doctors. Is it the MMA’s expectation that parents will just simply “trust” in light of all the problems in the program that they are finding? Even when children are repeatedly suffering neurological and autoimmune symptoms following each round of vaccines?
You asked the question, “Where are all the malpractice claims for all these failures?” Just to clarify, as has been established during these hearings per the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act as interpreted by SCOTUS in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, vaccine injury victims do not have standing to bring malpractice claims for vaccine adverse events. Are you referring to the parental reports of the “failures” of doctors to properly evaluate, diagnose, treat and facilitate compensation for vaccine injury? Currently parents reporting those “failures” have chosen to try to remedy the problem by bringing legislation to require MMA physicians to be educated and accountable for federal vaccine safety guidelines per VICP as established by HRSA, and for vaccine package insert information as established by FDA. The MMA is currently opposing that remedy. Are you suggesting that the remedy parents should be perusing is a malpractice claims against their physician for failure to evaluate, diagnose, treat and facilitate VICP compensation? How is taking such an adversarial stance against parents of potentially vaccine injured children engendering of the “trust” that MMA is looking for from patients? How can MMA take such an adversarial position against vaccinating families and also support measures to force families to receive vaccine counseling from MMA doctors, who are posturing themselves as their own patients adversaries at the outset of the relationship?
Which brings us back to your statement that you have heard “horrible things about doctors today,” and that you refuse to believe that doctors in Maine are “unfeeling, horribly rude, are bullies, and don’t have the best interests of the patients in mind.” If the position of the MMA toward the parents who believe that they are not being properly supported on the back end of vaccination, after the mandated counseling that you are asking for has happened and a potential adverse reaction has occurred, is “if you don’t like it you can sue us,” then isn’t that pretty much the definition of not having the best interests of their patients in mind?
Why would any thinking parent “trust” an MMA doctor on vaccination if this is the position of the MMA? Why should the State of Maine be forcing parents to receive counseling and/or vaccines from MMA doctors when they are so potentially neglectful and hostile to patients who may be vaccine injured, especially when those doctors cannot even be sued for causing the injury in the first place?
When Representative Sanderson asked about the more than 3,000 Maine reports to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System, you replied that those were reported events, not established cases. This bill is about finding a path from a reported event to establishing causation in specific cases. What is the MMA’s process for families to move from a reported event to an established injury that is treatable and compensable? It seems like you are saying that parents must, on their own, with out the help of an MMA doctor “prove” that a vaccine has caused harm to a child, before an MMA doctor will evaluate, diagnose, treat and work to get compensated. What is the process and venue by which a parent can do that with out their doctor?
You have proposed that there may actually be no vaccine injures, and that the VICP may have been set up and pay out as part of a deal to stay out of the courts. If the FDA and HRSA has established a long list of specific vaccine injuries that the MMA may not actually believe in, does that not prove that parents who believe that doctors don’t take vaccine injury seriously are right? That parents should not have to be counseled by you on vaccination much less have to receive vaccine from you? Why should a parent buy a vaccine from a doctor that does not believe in the vaccine injuries established by FDA and HRSA, but insists that parents be counseled on CDC vaccine information?
By way of introduction, my name is Ginger Taylor, and I am the Director of the Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice. The MCVC is the organization that represents the more than 500 families whom you seek to legally force to receive medical counseling from your membership via the vaccine exemption restriction bill authored by the Maine Medical Association. You and I were part of a brief conversation on the politics of vaccination and vaccination rights last September at Linda Bean’s Maine.
In June, I submitted a list of questions to your predecessor, Dr. Ryan, that our organization had for the MMA, arising from the testimony offered by your organization on the vaccine bills being heard in the Health & Human Services committee last spring. We received no response from the MMA.
I am resubmitting my letter to Dr. Ryan, and our list of questions, to you in hopes that your administration may be more forth coming with the Maine families that you are seeking to have regulated by the state in the vaccine exemption bill authored and supported by the MMA. As it has been announced by Rep. Sanborn that the bill will be reintroduced in 2017, and as the MMA has stated that the purpose of the bill is to inform parents, we that we believe it is incumbent upon the MMA to directly and publicly address the questions that Maine parents who are using vaccine exemptions actually have.
Should the MMA continue to privately stonewall our parents, while publicly positioning themselves as attempting to partner with our parents, the next time this bill put forward we will be making the argument that MMA is not working in good faith with our community, but rather that the bill that you have authored is merely a self-serving measure to force our families to pay for an extra appointment to your members, and to put young mothers alone in a physicians office to be bullied into making a decision that they have already decided is not in their child’s best interest.
Thank you in advance for your response.
Ginger Taylor, MS
Maine Coalition for Vaccine Choice