EyeOnBI.org is part of an effort to return Beth Israel Deaconess to its founding principles and ensure that the administration is putting the interests of patients, workers and community members first. Read more

BIDMC and its CEO, Paul Levy, continually trumpet their commitment to transparency and openness, but their track record doesn’t match the rhetoric. Recently, a number of revelations have raised unsettling conflict of interest issues that run contrary to BIDMC’s stated mission of prioritizing quality patient care, and are often only disclosed after being revealed by third party investigations.


Jaffe enters settlement in money laundering case

Robert Jaffe, the former BIDMC trustee who helped recruit clients for Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, has entered into an agreement to settle federal money laundering claims.  Under the agreement, Jaffe will pay $38 Million, which will be used to compensate other Madoff victims.  Jaffe resigned from the BIDMC Board of Overseers in March 2009 after 1199SEIU raised concerns about his involvement with Madoff.

Documents on Shapiro settlement

December 7, 2010 Carl Shapiro, family agree to return $625 in Madoff funds


Oversight questions raised about BI docs receiving pharma cash

Dr. Amjad Almahameed, a BI doc who earned $125,600 from GlaxoSmithKline, the third highest among Massachusetts doctors in pharma payments, “may have given talks that were not in compliance” with BI policy according to a BI spokesperson. Another physician from BI was one of five in the state who received money from pharmaceutical companies even though he was disciplined for poor conduct by the Massachusetts Medical Board. There were 62 incident reports filed against him.

October 19, 2010 Prescription for prestige

October 19, 2010 Doctors with questionable records earn a lot as drug firms’ speakers

Eli Lilly Physician Payment Disclosures Freedom of Information Request, Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine, April 2010.


Investigation of Another Board Member Raises Concerns

Attorney Jay Fialkow, a BIDMC Trustee and former chair of planned giving for the hospital, is under regulatory investigation for charges related to his involvement in recruiting investors to an alleged $29 million Ponzi scheme. At least one donor to BIDMC was an alleged victim, raising potential conflict of interest and disclosure concerns. 1199SEIU has asked BIDMC trustees and directors to investigate these concerns and determine whether Fialkow should resign.

April 8, 2010 Union Questions Fialkow Disclosure


Community Hospital Scraps Affiliation Plan: CEO says he fears retaliation from BIDMC

Are community hospitals rethinking Beth Israel Deaconess affiliation?

After several months of discussions, MetroWest Medical Center recently decided to scrap plans to affiliate with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in a surprise move reported by the Boston Globe.

MetroWest CEO Andrei Soran says he is afraid BIDMC may attempt to retaliate against the hospital following the collapse of talks by poaching doctors away from the community.

"We're concerned that Beth Israel might make some efforts to recruit our physicians to change their affiliation in the aftermath of this," said Soran in an interview with the Boston Globe, "If they do, we will do what it takes to let the public know."

MetroWest ends Beth Israel affiliation plan: Smaller hospitals often reluctant to lose independence 


Outpatient Center Controversy

June 21, 2009: Neighborhood rivals: Boston hospitals' suburban expansion sets up a showdown between dueling outpatient centers

The Boston Globe reports that Beth Israel Deaconess set up its own taxpayer group in an effort to stop a $13 million cancer center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, a facility less than 5 miles away from one of its cancer facilities. The Boston Globe described this action as “hardball tactics,” and noted that “Beth Israel later dropped its opposition in a settlement whose terms were not disclosed.”


Plagiarism Scandal

Beth Israel Doc Resigns in the Wake of Allegations of Plagiarized Medical Article.
A Beth Israel Deaconess rheumatologist and Harvard Medical School faculty member has resigned after it was demonstrated that an article he published in 2004 was largely a copy of an article published by another doctor a year earlier in a different medical journal.

  March 13, 2009: HMS Professor Simon Resigns

  March 13, 2009: Harvard Doctor Resigns After Plagiarism Charge

March 11, 2009: Harvard Medical School Resignation

January 23, 2009: UT Southwestern finds suspect papers in biomedical database


Overseer Issues

Beth Israel Deaconess Overseer Steps Down After 1199SEIU Raises Questions About Madoff Connection.
Synopsis: Robert Jaffe, a Weston resident with ties to Bernard Madoff, steps down from his role as a member of the BIDMC Board of Overseers . 1199SEIU had questioned whether Jaffe remained suited to that role after his ties to Madoff were revealed.

March 7, 2009: Maddoff takes step toward guilty plea

Letter to the BIDMC board


Touting an Asthma Device 

BIDMC CEO Paul Levy publicly wrote about the wonders of an asthma treatment without disclosing that BIDMC had a financial interest in its development. Only after being challenged by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Levy issued a correction disclosing the commercial relationship.

July 16, 2007: Center for Science in the Public Interest Integrity in Science Watch: Hospital Exec. Touts Asthma Device, Silent on Hospital’s Role.

July 17, 2007: White Coat Notes blog Consumer group criticizes hospital chief's blog


Insurance CEO Appointed to BIDMC Board

The CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, one of the state’s largest health insurance companies, is appointed to BIDMC’s Board of Trustees, while hospital leadership denies any conflict of interest.

November 22, 2007: Harvard Pilgrim chief joins Beth Israel board

December 17, 2007: Insurer Joins Hospital Board; Expert Questions Wisdom of Beth Israel Appointment


Other Conflicts:

April 9, 2007: Plans for Anemia Drug Run into Roadblocks: Hospital, Firm Eyed $12b Market
With an eye toward the anti-anemia drug market, BIDMC wasted resources by entering into a business relationship with a financially failing Florida drug company. Facing regulatory and safety concerns, the drug was never developed.  

Letter to BIDMC board regarding clinical trials and business venture with dealmaker tied to massive FDA fraud case
1199SEIU presented evidence that Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center entered into a for-profit business venture with a figure who had a previous conviction for “shipment of adulterated devices,” including to the BIDMC itself. His prior conviction had led to what was, at the time, the largest fine ever imposed in an FDA fraud case. Still, BIDMC moved forward with the businessman to launch SomRx, a corporation formed to develop medical devices to treat sleep disorders. The company was inexplicably dissolved in 2007. Incentives to BIDMC insiders and testing of the device at the hospital raise issues around apparent conflicts of interest and oversight safeguards.