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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Medical Fraud and Abuse

In The Airline Industry! 

Last week I was at the cardiologist for my husband's annual checkup. The doctor said, "Let's listen to your heart." He said, "Would you like me to take my shirt off?" She said, "No, that won't be necessary." 

I said, "Now, isn't that interesting! Then why did Dr. Alan M. Kozarsky order Captain Andrea Ratfield to take her bra off for him to listen to her heart?" The expression on the doctor's face was priceless. 

Dr. Alan Kozarsky required Captain Ratfield to remove not only her shirt, but also her bra to listen to her heart. Captain Ratfield had no option, or she would have been subject to termination. This is just the beginning of a very dark side of our medical industry where employees have no rights, and airline management can buy doctors. 

Dr. Alan Kozarsky

I am not accusing Dr. Kozarsky of anything other than his inappropriate behavior requesting Captain Ratfield to expose her breasts so he could listen to her heart. As if that was not bad enough. However, it was his colleague, Dr. Bruce Chien, who stated (regarding Kozarsky), "He's kind of in Delta. Well, he couldn't survive without Delta. Some AMEs get bought. Not saying he is, but it's a conflict of interest." 

Dr. Chien's words, not mine. But Delta has been sponsoring Dr, Kozarsky's non-profit, and Delta has been ordering select HIMS patients to see him; subject to termination if the pilot does not comply. If you're a female pilot in this position, like Captain Ratfield was, then you have the choice to be humiliated and fear for your safety or lose your job. But she is a fighter and she complained. She reported this "heinous and unnecessary behavior to Mr. Bastian, Ms. Smith, Ms. Lentsch, Captain Cochran, Mr. Laughter, Captain Burns, and Captain Baltera, but nothing was done." 

ALPA did nothing. She wrote many letters asserting that she felt unsafe with Dr. Kozarsky and Delta still forced her to see him. Not that there weren't other options the company could have chosen. Delta did not offer a female doctor until June of 2021, after Andrea filed a lawsuit. 

Captain Ratfield

The link attached to Dr. Kozarsky's name takes you to his website. I was quite surprised when I learned that Dr. Kozarsky is a Board-Certified Ophthalmologist. So, what may I ask, is an Ophthalmologist doing evaluating pilots under the HIMS program? I don't know, but the FAA has approved this process. 

Captain Ratfield had received a false positive in 2019 during a suspect PEth DBS test. She proclaimed her sobriety, proven by multiple other tests (hair, fingernail and polygraph), yet her Delta ordered doctor, Kozarsky, warned her, “You do not want to go up against big company and big government." 

Kozarsky then told her that she would be required to see a psychiatrist for being "in denial" if she argued the company's false assertion. Apparently denial is a mental health issue, even if you're telling the truth. In January of 2020, Captain Ratfield attempted to get away from Dr. Kozarsky because of her perceived conflict of interest he had with the company. Apparently Chien was not the only person who thought so. 

On January 21, 2020, Captain Ratfield emailed Delta's CEO, Mr. Bastian, Delta’s Ethics and Compliance, Delta’s Executive Vice President – Flying/Air Operations Bill Lentsch (“Mr. Lentsch”), and Delta’s Ethics and Compliance Department requesting assistance and reported the sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and retaliation she was subjected to throughout the years of her employment with Delta and her looming retaliatory termination. She also reported Dr. Kozarsky’s conflict of interest with Delta as an FAA designee and the fact that he was forcing her to undergo a psychiatric evaluation because she maintained her sobriety. Moreover, as an FAA designee, Dr. Kozarksy is not permitted to refer pilots to a specific treatment facility or psychiatrist. This regulation apparently did not apply to Captain Ratfield.

Over the next year there were a dozen emails to Delta managers, executives, and/or HR, requesting to be removed from Kozarsky's care. On August of 2020 she notified Regional Director, Ray Baltera, that she "felt unsafe" with Kozarsky. Yet nothing was done.  What happened next? 

On January 12, 2021, a year after she began pleading with her Delta management team to get away from from Kozarsky, because of a conflict of interest and the fact she felt unsafe, Dr. Kozarsky showed her who was boss. He exerted his power over her and sent a message... loud and clear... that he was in control and could do anything he wanted by ordering her to remove her bra during her FAA Special Issuance Authorization and First Class Medical Certificate appointment. She reported this behavior, yet the company still did absolutely nothing. 

Over the years at Delta, Captain Ratfield had reported sexual harassment internally to HR and management without anyone assisting. Instead, someone decided to get rid of her via the HIMS program. Much of her abuse was at the hands of management pilots.  Not until June of 2021 did she finally file a lawsuit against Delta for the years of harassment, and the abuse of the HIMS program as a continuation of the ongoing retaliation, and for the years of stress and fear being subject to Dr. Kozarsky. Kozarsky was the final straw. 

June of 2021, after she filed her initial lawsuit, Delta finally allowed her to get free from Kozarsky's grip. 


HIMS doctors take cash for their services. No insurance. No credit cards. I was also told that some, like Kozarsky, accepts Venmo. Here is the problem. While some airlines allow their pilots to choose their own doctor, those pilots are able to pay a reasonable price based upon demand. Delta, however, chooses the doctor for the the pilot, and that doctor can charge the pilot whatever amount they want. If the pilot doesn't  pay, they face losing their career. 

These pilots are forced to pay thousands for their visit to a HIMS doctor. I was told that Dr. Kozarsky recently charged a pilot $4200 for submitting his files to the FAA. This could look like extortion because if the pilot doesn't pay these exorbitant and unreasonable prices to the Delta-ordered doctor, the pilot would lose their career. Yet, extortion is not the case. This process has more of a money-laundering feel to it due to the process of using a middle-man, the pilot, to pay the doctor on behalf of the airline. I'm not saying it is, but there is a reason for this process. 

These doctors can charge whatever they want and pilots take no action against the doctor because Delta reimburses the pilot. Whereas when Delta pays a psychiatrist directly, the doctor works for the company not the pilot. For some reason Delta utilizes a third party to pay the HIMS doctors. Perhaps it's simply an element of protection to eliminate the liability of the airline "buying" the doctor. Regardless, why would Delta management not question a $4200 price tag for filing paperwork? 

Dr. Bruce Chien

Dr. Bruce Chien MD

Dr. Bruce Chien is a doctor that believes he's doing right by the pilots because he "can't be bought" but only his "silence can." He told me that after he unknowingly tried to help UPS Captain Doug Green, that he learned that airlines bought doctors, and that he would never help a pilot again in this situation. He told me that UPS tried to put him on their payroll, but he wouldn't. He also stated that he simply tells the airline he is busy. He said, "This is a dirty business. But it's okay to tell them you're busy, because they don't get mad at you."

Dr. Chien is one of Delta's 4 approved doctors, supposedly since June of 2021. However, he told me that Delta reached out to him back in 2017 to take a case with a female pilot. He was absolutely certain it was my case. But he is not a psychiatrist, I have all the records that Altman had been bought and paid for at the time and there was no mention of Dr. Chien anywhere. I suspect this was the time that Captain Ratifield was coming out of rehab because she had been put there after being raped. 

Based upon the facts of her case, she was sent into the HIMS program because of her female pilot advocacy work and standing up to sexual harassment. She was then "set-up" for a false positive, and the company ordered her to return to the program or lose her career. This false positive event was during Covid, and as a single mother, with two special needs kids, she complied to support her family. Had her situation been different, she would have followed Captain Danford's path and stood up to them, despite the risk to her career. Captain Ratfield does not belong in the HIMS program. 

"I have never taken a case with Delta." 
"I can't be bought" 
"I tell them I'm busy"

Dr. Bruce Chien
March 20, 2022

I interviewed Dr. Chien for two hours, after I learned he had posted on social media that I only got my job back because I was in bed with management. Chien was an open book and ratted out this "dirty industry" that he called "Dark. Very dark." I even have a declaration from him. He told me without any uncertain terms, "Doctors can be bought." He is also the only person who has apologized for what transpired. He actually apologized for Dr. Altman's actions. 

On a side note, years later, Captain Ratfield tried to go to him to get away from Kozarsky when the female doctor of her choice appeared to be unavailable. Dr. Chien said that he had to speak to Kozarsky first before he accepted her as a patient. After Chien and Kozarsky spoke, Chien told Captain Ratfield that he couldn't take her because he was "busy". Thank God, because she is now with an incredible, honest, and forthright doctor, Dr. Brunetti. 

I have been told that Dr. Chien has helped many pilots.  So, if you need help, and your airline is not after you, he might be a good guy to see. If you're ordered to go to him by your company, feel confident you'll get an honest assessment because he "can't be bought." I've also heard he is really good  for general aviation. 

Dr. Navjyot Singh Bedi

Dr. Navjyot Singh Bedi

Dr. Bedi is he Medical Director for Talbott recovery center and a psychiatrist. Dr. Bedi's name was brought to my attention a number of times and was curious about the man with the HIMS process. When asked for a review, this is what I received. 

He was appointed my “treating physician” while I was forced to Talbott. His initial meeting with me, day one of my “evaluation” he diagnosed me “alcohol use disorder severe”. He told me I was entitled to a second opinion which, if requested, would come from the doctor next door, who worked for Bedi, and his opinion didn’t matter. My records show no substantiation of alcohol use disorder whatsoever, much less severe, which requires meeting at least six of eleven criteria within the last year. 

He was always late to appointments, or would leave during appointments. He was vulgar and foul mouthed. Frequently mentioning his wife’s “jiggly boobies” for some unknown reason. I had to meet with this idiot every week for 6 weeks. He skipped at least two meetings, all other meetings were about 15 minutes of a scheduled hour. He had a weird obsession with delta business stuff. Kept trying to engage me in our fleet choices, which I just shrugged off. I never had one substantiative meeting with him. I frequently asked questions and he would simply reply he would lengthen my stay. He did lengthen my stay, and would answer why when asked, nor did he document that in my records.

He would justify inattention during meetings by claiming these other matters he was attending to during scheduled appointments were “the price for saving lives”. I called his number for help (after getting my false positive), his answering machine literally said if it was a life and death matter to hang up and call 911! Also, he refused to help me when I got the false positive. He referred me to another guy who wouldn’t see me without a referral. I called Bedi back for one, he wouldn’t take or return my calls. 

know a number of guys with similar bad experiences. I personally witnessed him threatening people by telling them he would call the FAA and ensure we would never get a medical back if we didn’t take HIS advice and direction.

 I watched him threaten a guys career for being racist after this (white) guy told a (black) guy he had to sit in the back of the bus (with him). It was Talbott's policy that guys had to sit in the back of the bus. That same (black) guy later called a (white) guy a nigger. Bedi ignored it.

Delta Captain Mike Danford

Captain Danford was terminated after a grievance hearing in response to a false positive of a Non-FDA approved blood test used by Delta and allowed by the FAA. Danford refused to go back into treatment because he did not relapse. The arbitrator, despite a preponderance of evidence and numerous cases of false positives, asserted that unless there was a "peer reviewed journal article"  it did not matter if there were false positives.  Sadly, the HIMS program has become a source of retaliation to rid itself of pilots versus the initial intent.   

Talbott Center 

Dr. David Prewett

While Captain Ratfields was at the Talbott Center, Delta had another pilot suicide. She was concerned that it was the same pilot that she had reported who put a gun into his mouth threatening suicide, prior to her rape and being sent into the HIMS program. Delta took no action, despite her reporting this to PAN. On the other side of the country, Delta had thrown me into a mental health evaluation for being overly concerned for safety, asserting I could be like the Germanwings pilot. 

But the pilot who owned a gun and on multiple occasions stuck it into his mouth, with a captain reporting it, no action was taken. ALPA was well aware of that pilot and Delta's assertions against me. Not that I'm a conspiracy theorist, but the timing of Captain Ratfield being drugged, raped, and sent to the HIMS program cannot be overlooked.

Captain Ratfield verified it was not the pilot who she knew of, but after he admitted to the same behavior again during this call she told him she had to report this. The pilot understood. And she did report it. She reported this to Dr. David Prewett a PsyD, who appears to work for Delta and teaches classes at the Talbott Recovery Center. He had returned to the center to get his glasses, and she told him about the potentially suicidal pilot. 

Captain Ratfield was shortly thereafter forced, door-to-door in lockdown, or face termination, to another facility of which Delta's VP, James Graham sat on the Board of Directors. Nothing was ever done with that pilot. Who did Dr. Prewett report this to? I am absolutely certain if any doctor is aware of a potential pilot suicide, that they must report it because of what happened with Germanwings. The truth shall come out in discovery! 

Dr. David B. Altman

Dr. David B Altman

For the price of $74,000 Dr. Altman, the leading HIMS psychiatrist, diagnosed me as bipolar. No, I wasn't in the HIMS program, but Delta still used him. During the course of our visits he asked me if I drank. "Yes," I said. "What do you drink?" he asked. I said, "Red wine with a steak dinner... cold beer on a hot summer day... champagne for celebrations... Bloody Mary's at brunch... Margarita's with Mexican food, rocks no salt... a nice bourbon at the end of the night...." You get the picture. The poor little man. He just stared, wide-eyed, wanting so desperately to send me to the HIMS program, but that was not what he was paid to do. I was not to return to Delta, but to lose my career permanently. Pilots do not fly if they are bipolar. 

Well, surprise, surprise, there was not any mention of my alcohol consumption in my 366-page medical report by Altman. As far as he was concerned I did not drink and he did not ask. Whereas, a friend of mine was forced in the HIMS program, by Altman, because he had a low level DUI, after half a glass of wine at lunch with his wife. 

It took me close to three years of effort to  get the Illinois medical board to take action against Dr. Altman, and then another year and a half until he finally forfeited his medical license to avoid prosecution. However, if you search my case number 2017-06378 via a FOIA request, you'll see information regarding Captain Protack, not me. Apparently, when Altman agreed to forfeit his medical license, it came with a condition of making my case disappear. And that's exactly what happened. The Illinois medical board combined my case with Protack's and created a disappearing act of all my paperwork on behalf of Altman, despite hundreds of (over 700) pages I sent them. 

I don't believe it was really on behalf of Altman, but more on behalf of Delta Air Lines. It was Delta who did not want this to go to court based upon the discovery we had against the airline. Discovery that Altman gave us, and Delta violated a court order by not providing the same information during discovery.  The prosecuting attorney told me that Dr. Altman had planned to go to court and fight this all the way. Then he didn't and my case vanished into nothing but a number. 

The scary part of all this medical fraud is that in the State of Illinois alone, the Chief of Prosecution's Report provided by prosecutor Frank Lamas during this "closed hearing" with Altman, stated there were :

621 cases 

Assigned to the Medical Prosecutions Unit!  

If you would like to see all the discovery, 
You must read my latest book...

Everything we learned and how they tried to get away with their criminal behavior is in this novel!
And it's a great read. 

Available on Kindle too! 

(Order off my blog for an autographed copy)

My question is, "How could a doctor lose his medical license for accepting a large sum of money to fabricate a disqualifying diagnosis, when the airline representatives who paid him for that fabricated report were not held accountable?" Isn't it illegal to employ a hitman? All Delta parties involved have remained in position and/or been promoted. How is that even possible? Perhaps because the CEO, who is also the Chairman of the Board, was involved. He was also notified of the sucicial pilot and the ongoing harassment of Captain Ratfield, yet he did nothing. You can watch his Deposition on YouTube: 

Ed Bastian, I don't know what accountable executive means

Chris Puckett, Delta's Labor Relations attorney also testified that Delta paid Dr. Altman as a "vendor".  No different that paying a supplier for peanuts. I wonder if the IRS knows that these "vendors" that airlines are paying as hitmen, are probably not valid deductions through the course of doing business. I'm not an IRS investigator, but I don't think paying a doctor to give a pilot a knowingly false diagnosis and subsidizing the doctors on staff are valid deductions. 

Dr. Brousseau and Dr. Jon Riccitello (ALPA)

Dr. Jon Riccitello

Dr. Kristin B

There was a concerted effort by Dr. Riccitello to convince me to go see Dr. Kristin Brousseau instead of the Mayo Clinic. This ALPA doctor stated, "The FAA doesn't respect the Mayo Clinic like a private practice doctor." Reg flags sprouted when I heard that.  Dr. Riccitello even said that Dr. Brousseau would read my 366 pages "for free". What a great deal... and, yes, all the red flags were waving.

After the Mayo cleared me, I was required to go to a Neutral doctor, one that the Mayo and Dr. Altman were to agree upon together. The Mayo suggested I go to the University of Texas, Wright State University, or a doctor who works with NASA. Altman refused. Dr. Altman suggested that I go see three of his doctors: 

BROUSSEAU, Kristin, D.O. 2501 Walnut Street, Suite 201 Boulder, CO
GENDEL, Michael H., M.D. 3300 East First Avenue, #590 Denver, CO 8
GLASS, George S., M.D., P.A 4600 Post Oak Place, Suite 307 Houston, TX

Note: Dr. Glass was involved in Mark Estabrook's case with FedEx and the judge scolded Glass for his behavior in that process.  

If you would like to fully understand what transpired with AMAS (ALPA), please read the letter I wrote  articulating the problems to AMAS, by clicking anywhere in the highlighted area below. I never received a response and Riccitello is still employed there. Note: There is a transcribed phone message, left by Riccitello in this letter, that is quite surprising based upon what he was willing to have recorded. You decide, was AMAS complicit with Delta in their action against me?

This is a Dirty Business! 
What can we do?

Public Awareness is the First Step! 
Holding these Doctors Accountable is next. 

Coming Soon ...
Weaponization of Mental Health 

If you would like to share your story for this book, please email me at 

For all those who wonder why doctors like Dr. Altman are not charged with malpractice, it's because of a "loophole". If the airline pays for the doctor, the doctor works for the airline not the pilot. The doctor evaluates the pilot, but is not technically the pilot's doctor. The fact that the HIMS doctors are paid by the pilot and reimbursed by the airline is an interesting concept. Unfortunately they pilot can't charge extortion because they are reimbursed. When this process was discussed with the FBI, eyebrows raised. 

There is the option of fraud that I am looking into. The reality is, know the law. Know your rights. And maybe you can receive restitution. I say "maybe" because the legal system is not necessarily just. I thank God for Honorable Judge Morris, but I have been experiencing the other side of that coin in my effort to hold people accountable. I'm remaining optimistic, but time will tell on the true essence of justice. 

What we can do now is fix the laws that are designed to protect the airline and aircraft manufacture employees. We need to redesign the AIR21 law to make it effective. 

Please sign the Petition to help me

With your help we can improve safety. 
That's what this is all about. 

Enjoy the Journey

Dr. Karlene Petitt
A350, B777, A330, B747-400, B747-200, B767, B757, B737, B727


  1. This is an incredible work of investigative reporting, putting all of this in one place in a cogent, shocking, fact-based way. Please share everywhere! This affects not just those in aviation, but EVERY PASSENGER EVERYWHERE. Karlene, you are a force, and I am so glad I met you.

    1. Thank you Sara. I am so glad I met you!! I hope that maybe, just maybe if the shoe fits, that those who are behaving badly may realize they are on the radar. Thanks for your comment!

    2. I just sent you an email and would like to share my story for your upcoming book Weaponizing Mental Health.

      I'm sitting here in tears, filled with so many emotions. Never stop what you are doing, it is really saving innocent lives. It all feels like a lonely journey until you come across people who share similarities in employment experiences. Your story is such a powerful one. So much joy and pain fills my heart reading about you. What an inspiration to women all over the world, you are.

    3. Thank you so much for your kind words. I will look for your email and story. I am so sorry for whatever you went through. I know that lonely journey you experienced, but not longer does anyone need to be lonely. We shall make a difference!! Stand together. I'll be reaching out soon!

  2. AnonymousMay 1, 2023 at 8:51 AM
    UPS is in cahoots with the IPA as well. UPS works with the IPA to send pilots to trumped up fitness for duty exams. UPS coerced pilots with substance abuse issues into writing false statements. Those false statements are then sent to AMEs.

    1. I think that anyone who writes a false statement that is libel. We need pilots to start filing personal charges against anyone who is corrupt. Also, it may take time but file a complaint with the state licencing department. And, we all need to start putting names to these faces of corruption. Time to take a stand!

  3. Former ATP with type ratings: B737, MD-80, Lr-Jet series, HS-125, CE-500, CE-650 — CFII/MEI —Former FAA Pilot Designated Examiner (GL25-180). Ed Davidson, Michael Berry, Christopher Front, Susan Northrup, Bruce Chien, Kristen Brousseau, all, every single one are henchmen simply cutting the throats of pilots to advance their own careers. They lie, are found not credible in federal court, and in a hearing will refuse to question you and therefore cannot cross examine you, YET STILL, the judges they hire find in favor of FAA. Susan Northrup‘s personally oversaw her husband’s return to medical compliance after a heart attack (Skipper Heile), (she didn’t even take his name in marriage), and saw no conflict of interest in tge fact that his income from being a Southwest pilot, was about 2/3 of their family income. All of these people will burn in hell.

    1. I'm speechless. But then not. I am sorry you had to experience this too. I know many good pilots who lost their jobs because they got sideways with the company and a bought and paid for doctor took them out. My question is how does the FAA allow this? And very interesting about Dr. Northrup clearing her husband. At Delta, the pilots are prohibited from getting a doctors note for a head cold by a family member who is a doctor. Rules are made and broken by those in power.


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!