Following my conversation with Frank Valine, I was under the misguided impression that these people at the Medical Board of California and I were on the same side. I wanted to find some answers before making a judgement and I thought they did too. They, I soon learned, had no intention of being helpful or fair:
The following month I went voluntarily to the Hazelden Springbrook facility in Newberg, Oregon for evaluation. I figured why not? Get the facts, confront things head on, and move on. (I had asked Bernie Karmatz that, “with USC, UCLA, Standford and CAL-Berkeley, why there wasn’t a facility to attend in the State of California”? He assured me “these people were the experts” (his words); and that “the Medical Board of California had used them before and fully trusted their decisions”.)
I was admitted on 1/07/07 and discharged on 1/10/07 “with staff approval”. I did not meet the scientific criteria, nor did any of my “drinking” behaviors create a reason in the minds of their experts to keep me there. There was no evidence of alcohol dependency or alcoholism, period. I skipped out of their facility and was quite proud I had done it. I had been cleared by the experts.
It was one of the most invasive ordeals I have ever encountered, (the only thing worse was the physical examination I was put through when I was nominated to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis).
A counselor brings you into a holding area and instructs you in what will take place. He (or she, in some instances) assures you that the entire process is strictly confidential. A nurse then conducts a history and physical exam and assures you that the process is strictly confidential. Another counselor then arrives who searches your belongings for contraband and assures you that the process is strictly confidential. Finally you meet your personal counselor who informs you that the process is strictly confidential, but that she can’t get started until you give her a list of ten people (that’s right, 10) to contact in order to substantiate the information you give her- so much for confidentiality. By the way, they already have your money (more than $5000).
It’s then off to evaluations by a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, and finally the individuals who administer psychological tests including personality tests, tests for depression, and basic verbal and coordination tests.
I was discharged in three days because the experts and their staff concluded that my behaviors and my history did not meet the criteria for alcoholism or alcohol dependency. That is of course after calling the ten people who know me best and inviting them in to my confidential evaluation. (It seems I am a knucklehead for having driven home after drinking with my friends, but that doesn’t make me an alcoholic.) So you would think that after hearing that, Mr. Karmatz and the Medical Board of California would have, at least, softened their approach: No such luck. Apparently Mr. Karmatz doesn’t trust the decision of his own experts. These were not my experts, they were the Medical Board of California’s experts and now they were ignoring their results because they did not get the answer they were hoping for. They were hoping to beat me down. They were hoping to get leverage to discredit a physician.
Before I had gotten off the plane from Newberg, OR, Mr. Karmatz had scheduled me for admission to another facility. He hadn’t even received the results from Hazelden yet (no one had because they had not been released) and over the phone, he was already trying to bully me. I calmly hanged- up on him (a process I hate) and contacted his boss in Sacramento.
Mr. Frank Valine, the administrator in Sacramento, again seemed reasonable. I had talked with him before and he remembered our previous conversation. He advised me to take it easy. Acknowledged that the thing to do was wait on Hazelden’s report, and he offered to discuss things once the report was forwarded to the MBC.
In spite of that conversation, I received a letter from Mr. Karmatz dated January 16, 2007 (figure11).
(I would really like to go on (and on) about Mr. Karmatz’s dishonesty and his manipulation of the system, but I’ll let our series of letters speak for themselves.)
My response is in figure12.
But, our Mr. Karmatz is not only evil,relentless, and stupid; he does not recognize that each time he creates a document demonstrating his abuse of the truth, that I am in fact creating my own paper trail; only I’m copying three or four other people so that I am not the only one witnessing this.
Three to four weeks later I received another letter from him (figure15). Again he referred to some unverifiable administrative review and requested once again that I begin the program at Cornerstone.
I then decided that I had had enough. I decided to document his abuses in a single document (figure16).