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).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chiropractor's Marketing Techniques Probed

Chiropractor's Marketing Techniques Probed

POSTED: 6:01 pm EST November 14, 2005
UPDATED: 6:18 pm EST November 14, 2005

BOSTON -- When you are hurt in a car accident of course you should see a doctor.

But when you're not hurt, is it appropriate for a doctor to invite you in anyway?

"Here we have business cards," Becky Hayden said.

Hayden was outraged when a few days after her daughter's very minor fender bender was reported in the local police log, chiropractor Robert Almeida left a bag of marketing materials at her front door encouraging an appointment, NewsCenter 5's Susan Wornick reported.

The message was clear, "hidden injuries are often not detected for months. You have the right to immediate chiropractic care fully paid for by your automobile insurance."

The materials came repeatedly -- at the doorstep, in the mail and someone even came to their house on a Sunday morning.

Robert Almeida wouldn't talk to NewsCenter 5 at his Attleboro office, so Wornick turned to the state Board of Professional Licensure.

"Ambulance chasing is exactly what we're talking about," said Anne Collins, of the Board of Professional Licensure.

Almeida Chiropractic is familiar to law enforcement. Last year, a man claiming to work for Almeida as an "outreach manager" pleaded no contest to a charge of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud by staging an accident and encouraging unnecessary treatment.

NewsCenter also tried to ask Robert Almeida about that. He did not return several calls. Under state law, chiropractors are allowed to advertise. But if they go further than that, the state may step in.

"They are not entitled to solicit patients, to pay patients, to pay people who will go out and solicit patients," Collins said.

Hayden wants it stopped.

"It's like, stick it to the insurance companies," Hayden said.

NewsCenter 5 has learned Almeida Chiropractic is the subject of an on-going investigation by state regulators.

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