Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Chiropractic Assistants as Whistleblowers: An Invitation to Activism

Are you in doubt about the chiropractic profession? Are you a CA who has doubts about the ethics of what is happening where you work? Has your employer attempted to enlist your support in getting patients to receive unnecessary treatments? Has your chiro sent you to Dynamic Essentials seminars, or the A.C.E. (Assistants for Chiropractic Excellence) Program? Are you the victim of practice building thinking? Are your morals and ethics becoming eroded? Is your chiro into wellness care, maintenance treatments, weird and unscientific practices, fraudulent billing, insurance scams, etc.? Does the "Description of a Practice in The 500 Club" below look familiar?

If so, Chirotalk has started the Chiropractic Assistant Forum just for you.

You can start cleaning up the profession by blowing the whistle on such unethical chiros and their practices. An honest CA is a chiroquack's weakest link. You are a potential ticking bomb in that chiro's practice. You know what's really going on. Here you can publish the incriminating facts. I would very much appreciate it if you would write your experiences and discoveries. Describe the types of scams and tricks being used.

You may think that your boss is a rare and exceptional "bad apple". Unfortunately that's not true. The chiropractic profession of today has so many “bad apples” that it can’t be the result of chance. It is the inevitable result of fundamental flaws in the profession: its birth, history, philosophy, attitudes, techniques, marketing and education.

Unfortunately the majority of DCs are affected by these fundamental flaws. These flaws give rise to unorthodox, unscientific and unethical beliefs and practices, without it being possible to accuse all of these DCs of having criminal motives. They simply believe and act in accordance with their faulty education.

Though it may be claimed that they just do not know any better, they should and could. The ignorance of many is voluntary and therefore inexcusable. When given the opportunity to see both sides of the story, they often get nasty and refuse to look at the evidence, especially if it comes from Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch and Chirobase fame.

They must be stopped, and you may be the key to such efforts.

This is not an invitation for CAs that are simply disgruntled or upset with a boss who is a jerk. This is about exposing unethical and unscientific practices, not about settling ordinary labor disputes.

A few words of advice before you get started:

We already have a CA who has discovered what's going on and is getting out. Read her posts before proceeding. Read and follow the threads in the CA Forum section.

For further information and education about chiroquackery, start reading the resources posted at ChiroLinks. It will help you to recognize things you may have been exposed to, but not noticed. Then your recollections will take on a new meaning.

The Chirotalk board has many lurkers, and not all of them are friendly or benign. Your boss could be one of them. If your identity is revealed, you could get in trouble with your boss. Be careful. Make sure your identity and email address are hidden.

Even though it is the chiroquack who is doing something ethically and professionally wrong, it may not be illegal, and therefore you could lose in a court case, even though you are ethically on the right side. The law doesn't look at the ethics of the case. Make sure what you write now can't be used against you in the future. If you do write such things, be prepared to defend yourself with good evidence. If you're not prepared to face your boss in court, don't mention names or places.

Write all you want in an anonymous fashion, and save the identifying information as your trump card. Your chiro won't dare to openly attack you, as long as that information is safe. Just the fear of being publicly exposed is your protection, and that fear will likely keep such a quack's mouth shut. But once you play your trump card, you can risk difficulties, since the quack has nothing more to lose and will be forced to defend himself or herself. If that happens, make sure the quack loses big!

If you are in doubt about anything, contact the Administrators or Moderators at Chirotalk privately.

While carrying on investigations at your place of work, make sure you don't do anything unethical or illegal. If you can get evidence of actual illegal activities, collect the evidence very carefully. It may be useful in legal proceedings at a later date.

Maintain the confidence of your boss. If you can work as a mole, your efforts will help clean up the profession. Since unethical, unscientific and unprofessional practices are so rampant in chiropractic, it may result in a dismantling of the so-called "profession" (it's actually, for the most part, just a "business"). If that's the case, the sooner the better! Your ultimate allegiance must be to consumer protection, good ethics, scientific integrity, public safety, and to busting the quacks who are giving sensible and honest chiros a bad name. They don't deserve that, and neither do you. Don't allow yourself to become part of the scam.

There must be a lot of other CAs who are honest and who have wondered if what was happening all around them could really be right. This new forum is the place to start exploring the issues. Here you can find out if what you are being asked to do is reasonable, or if you are unwittingly getting entangled in a scam.

If you are a CA, chiropractor, family, or friend who knows a CA, contact them and let them know about this forum. Encourage them to get active and do their duty.


A Description of a Practice in The 500 Club

(This describes a very typical practice. Notice the key role a CA has in this shallow type of so-called "high volume practice". Thanks to the high pressure "patient education" (brainwashing), some chiroquacks and several CAs can "treat"(scam) hundreds of patients a day, and they or their insurance company actually pay for this! Incredible.......! - PL)

TC: Was it your goal to have a 500+ practice?

Dr. DA: It was actually a goal that I had. First I worked for one of the Dynamic Essentials (DE) doctors, so I learned a lot of the ins and outs of running a busy practice. So basically I learned pretty much what he did and I applied it to my office about 20 years ago and it has worked for me.

TC: How did you get there?

DA: We do a lot of promotions where we go out into the community and talk to a lot of people. We do a lot of spinal screenings at different community events that has helped me build my practice. We do lectures; I think lectures are basically the key to educating the patients and basically getting them to understand what chiropractic is. We go to the schools, we do career days, we also do radio shows. We just tell the story, very simple, very to the point. It has worked quite well for us.

TC: Explain how your office processes work.

DA: I start at seven in the morning and all I do in my office is adjust. I don’t do any X-rays or anything else. I have an X-ray technician. All I do is go from room to room and do adjustments. I have the CAs set up everything for me, and I have the technicians do everything for me. All I do is walk in, the patient is lying face down and I just adjust them. I go from room to room; I have little doors between rooms, so I don’t even have to go in the hallway. I just go back and forth, back and forth. It is really simple [in terms of the] procedures that I use; I just do the adjustments. It is nothing really fancy; it is really not impressive at all, I just adjust people and I go in the next room. My lay lecture is very strong, so when patients come into my office, they know that all I am going to do is adjust them.

TC: Do you talk to your patients when they need special attention?

DA: We sit down with them and we talk right there and then if they need to talk to me. But most of the time my patients know what we need to do is adjust them and they really understand that because we explain it to them during the lecture.

TC: Do your patients feel like they get quality care?

DA: Most of my patients, I would say 40 to 50 percent, have been with me about 10 and 15 years, they are long-term patients. Most of them are patients that have been very satisfied with my care, and they consider us like family members. They don’t really want to stay in the office a long time, they like getting in and out. They know I am not going to keep them waiting in the waiting room more than five minutes.



Chirotalk(SM): The Skeptical Chiropractic Discussion Forum