CMS keeps Tunis on the payroll despite suspension

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

BALTIMORE -- Sean Tunis, chief medical officer and director of the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality at CMS, continues to be paid by the federal government more than two months after the Maryland Board of Physicians suspended his medical license for falsification of documents, the Washington Post reported last week.

CMS placed Dr. Sean Tunis on leave in early April after he was accused of falsifying documents that showed he had fulfilled medical education requirements.

The board alleges that Tunis falsified documents that showed he had fulfilled continuing medical education requirements. Unless there is a settlement, an administrative law judge will hear the case in July.

According to news reports, Tunis told the Maryland Board of Physicians that he is the focus of a smear campaign by a disgruntled CMS employee, but admitted to modifying 2001 CME documents. Some of the Board's charges pertain to CME credits Tunis claimed before he had joined CMS.

In June, Tunis agreed to a one-year suspension of his medical license and a $20,000 fine for the falsification of documents related to the completion of continuing medical education courses. Under a consent order dated May 25, Tunis also must complete an ethics course.

Tunis has received an annual salary of $107,000 to $162,000, as well as a physician comparability allowance, estimated at $30,000 annually.

According to news reports, Tunis told the Maryland Board of Physicians that he is the focus of a smear campaign by a disgruntled CMS employee, but admitted to modifying 2001 CME documents. Some of the Board's charges pertain to CME credits Tunis claimed before he had joined CMS.

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