Dr. Khaled Jabboury: Incredible Story of a Proven Cancer Doctor Getting Steamrolled by the Insurance Giants

Categories: Courts

khaledjabboury.jpg
Dr. Khaled Jabboury nearly lost his longtime practice and went to the slammer.
It's a Thursday afternoon and Dr. Khaled Jabboury greets a patient in the waiting room of his office at the West Houston Medical Center. The woman, though it's not immediately noticeable, is facing the toughest challenge of her life.

As Dr. Jabboury has proven, she has come to the right place. For 35 years, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center-educated doctor has studied and treated patients with breast cancer. Twenty-five years ago, in a remarkable accomplishment, he helped a patient overcome stage IV breast cancer. This past January, the woman, alive and well in Brazil, rang the doc to wish him a happy birthday.

"I've seen leaps and bounds in this field," says Dr. Jabboury, a tall and kind man who grew up in Beirut, Lebanon. "We haven't even reached the max possible."

In 2007, Dr. Jabboury, a long and loud critic of the billing practices of medical insurance companies, became embroiled in a dispute with one insurance king over the billing of Herceptin, a "miracle drug" that Jabboury started using in the early 2000s. The drug, which doesn't have the side effects of chemotherapy medicine, was the subject of the made-for-TV film Living Proof starring Harry Connick Jr.

"Instead of billing Herceptin as a single-dose drug, he billed it as a multi-dose drug," says Joel Androphy, Dr. Jabboury's attorney. "He made an honest mistake."

After some time, Jabboury settled the disagreement. Or so he thought.

The next thing he knew, Humana, United and Blue Cross Blue Shield -- responding to a complaint that had been filed with the Texas Department of Insurance -- had nailed the doctor with charges of insurance fraud. (Jabboury and Androphy, due to a settlement agreement, declined to name the insurance company who originally complained. However, according to legal documents obtained by Hair Balls, that company was Aetna.)

"Nobody said anything to him for years and years. All of a sudden, insurance companies started saying, 'Let's see your medical records,'" says Androphy, who adds, "United, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Humana did nothing to contact us at all ever prior to the indictment."

Dr. Philip Salem, director of the Cancer Research Program at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, is a world-renowned oncologist who has served on the health-care advisory committee for George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He's also Dr. Jabboury's brother-in-law and brought Jabboury to M.D. Anderson as a fellow and later as a faculty member.

"I'm not exaggerating. I can't imagine somebody out there that's more moral and ethical than Dr. Jabboury," says Dr. Salem from his lavish facility in the Texas Medical Center. "They ganged up on him. I still don't understand these things....it could've been a personal vendetta."


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Harris County Criminal Courts

1201 Franklin St., Houston, TX

Category: General

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13 comments
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Stage 4 Cancer
Stage 4 Cancer

One of the interesting article i have ever read, according to me he is a real super hero of 21st century, hats off dude. 

harrywilkss
harrywilkss

The Affordable Care Act, President Obama's health-care overhaul passed by Congress last year, was designed to make it easier for Americans in situations like Verone's to get health insurance BTW check "Penny Health" for more information

Anse
Anse

I just got a letter from Cigna saying they aren't going to pay the $13,000 bill for a procedure I had done a few months ago, which they had preapproved. Of course it's a rotten bullshit delay tactic or some crap; thank goodness my wife works with insurance issues in her job, because without her nonchalant dismissal of the letter, I'd probably have keeled over in shock.

Eventually we're going to have universal health care, and we'll have a better system for it. 

Wri7172
Wri7172

I just called one of those companies about a claim filed on my mom who died 4 years ago. They weren't interested at all. In fact they said they couldn't talk to me because I wasnt listed in their database. They could only talk to the deceased...!!!

Dimaxion
Dimaxion

Why are insurance companies even the in the middle between patients and healthcare providers?

There's an inherent conflict of interest: doctors treat patients and cure, while insurance companies strive to profit and make money for shareholders. A single payer system is far better, or at least a public option that would compete against insurance companies.

Anse
Anse

What I find amusing are the rightwingers who say the government can't control spending, but if they take over the health care system, they'll suddenly be so obsessed with cutting spending that they'll set up "death panels" to kill off grandma. Meanwhile, the arch-Republicans in Texas have already passed laws allowing insurance companies and hospitals to set up death panels to restrict care when they see fit.

big red
big red

Not at all surprised Blue Cross is one of the culprits. They are nothing but a bunch of pricks, and are always making changes to your plan that you find out about after you request treatment or a prescription.

MadMac
MadMac

One crook in a den-o-theives industry.

Wyatt
Wyatt

Well, glad that ended well.

"...a juror had infected his fellow jury members with anti-Middle Eastern propaganda."

How the hell did that guy get on the jury in the first place?

Itstdl
Itstdl

excellent story.     what a fantastic doctor.   

jAB
jAB

What's that about death panels?

MadMac
MadMac

Look, those insurance companies are boot strapping, (while standing on our necks) because their days at the trough have been numbered by that bad ol' president/congress/voter. 

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