CTCA: The Cancer Treatment Charade of America? Profiting on Alternative Medicine

Britt’s note: This week’s post is from a former employee of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. After witnessing cancer care that seemed to him to be based purely on profit, the author left CTCA. Today the author is speaking out in order to provide an inside look at CTCA’s business model which demonstrates CTCA’s profit-centered mindset at the expense of patients.

While much of this information comes as no surprise to the skeptical readers who follow Orac’s not-so-secret blog and ScienceBasedMedicine.org, much of this information was new to me. I think the points are worth repeating because the inside perspective provides fascinating details about CTCA’s business practices.

Amongst naturopaths graduating from accredited schools, CTCA residency jobs are competitive and popular. These few positions offered at most of the CTCA hospitals around the country are amongst the rare “approved” residencies in naturopathic oncology. Naturopaths who complete a two-year residency at a site like CTCA are then eligible for board certification in naturopathic oncology which leads to the title “Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology” (FABNO).

When I was considering naturopathic residency positions, I strongly considered a position at CTCA. I ultimately decided not to apply for the residency, in part, because none of employees I spoke with had anything positive to say about the hospital. I never researched anything about the CTCA organization to understand what the employees were trying to tell me. I now understand they were trying to warn me: stay away.

It is my hope that cancer patients, oncologists, and especially naturopaths heed the author’s warnings.


6860262880_55a919255d_oCancer Treatment Centers of America

I am a former employee of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). Because of the litigious nature of this company, I have chosen to submit this history anonymously. While I have deliberately left out any details that will help to identify me, the most damning of these facts are a matter of public record, and easy to confirm with a small amount of research.

I was an employee of the company for two-plus years during a period of rapid growth of the organization. I was involved as a non-management medical support person. Therefore, I was not a direct recipient of the types of perverse incentives that I will highlight here. They were well known around the office, however, and my first clue that things in this organization were not quite right.

The Business Model – The Original Sin of the Organization

Most cancer clinics, including any other that I’ve ever worked with, are owned by a hospital. The doctors who work there are either hospital employees, or part owners of the group, and the money goes into the overall operating budget of the hospital. Private practice oncology centers exist, but they are relatively rare in the community, and only offer certain services (e.g., chemotherapy) rather than a comprehensive package of diagnosis and management.

CTCA is a unique entity in the US – a fully for-profit chain of cancer hospitals or large outpatient clinics. This is an important thing to understand as we look at how they use these hospitals to serve a purpose that is at odds with standards of medical ethics.

Now, it is not necessarily proof of maleficence that the people involved in this company make a profit. I am not writing an economic manifesto here. But watch how every way that they deviate from standard medical practice appears very directly in response to the goal of maximizing revenue.

It is possible that this model no longer exists at CTCA. It is also possible that this was not a nation-wide CTCA policy. But during the time of my employment, this incentive-based revenue model drove much of the decision making at a very granular level. For example, that doctor who makes the critical decisions about whether or not another round of chemotherapy is likely to be of benefit? He gets commission from the company for each person treated. That naturopathic doctor who recommends the supplements? Gets a cut. The person on the phone trying to get you to come to the hospital? Yep, he profits too.

Again, I don’t mean to come on like Karl Marx. I understand that people deserve to profit from their education and expertise. But to tie specific financial incentives to decision making in the clinic sets up perverse incentives, ones I saw abused on a daily basis.

The Infomercial – Snake Oil on Late Night TV

If you’ve heard of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, it is likely through one of their television ads. These things carpet bomb late night TV, and always have the same general aesthetic. Basically, it’s a feel-good story of someone with a really bad diagnosis, where CTCA was the only hospital that offered any hope. Sweet, and fairly benign, right?

Except for this: picture that someone you care about just got news at another oncology office that the cancer was back, and that the prognosis is not pretty. If you are in that mindset, the ubiquitous CTCA commercials are like a dog whistle perfectly tuned to your frequency. Like the growth in the middle of your friend’s forehead, once you are tuned into this aspect of these commercials, it will be hard to ignore when you see them in the future.

There’s another level that these commercials play to, as well. Next time you see one, listen for that subtle “my other doctor gave up on me” message. This, again, is not an accident. Other oncology clinics regard CTCA about as highly as genital warts. Rumors around the halls were we polled at 5-10% approval among oncologists. So, CTCA needed to carefully drive a wedge between the patient and their current care team in order to drum up business. This is a gambit that the Tijuana clinics have used for years, honed to perfection.

Believe it or not, their ads used to be much worse. This was before a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 1996 required the company to be a little – just a little – more careful about the treatment claims they made.

We’ve Got a Live One Here – The Screening Call

This is where your CTCA experience begins. You call the 1-800 number on the infomercial, or perhaps you click a chat window on the corporate website. Then, you interact with a salesperson (a cancer information specialist in company parlance). This person is tasked with figuring out if you are a good candidate for a CTCA hospital.

You might be curious what the criteria for this decision is, and why it is left to a non-medically trained sales person to determine the answer. It’s pretty easy, really. The decision about whether you are a good candidate for a CTCA hospital is directly related to what insurance you have. Do you have an HMO or Medicaid? Sorry, you’re probably not such a good fit for our organization. A private plan? Out of pocket? Great, we’ll have a limo ready for you at the airport.

This sales technique was first reported publicly, at least as far as I can tell, by a brave former salesperson – er, cancer information specialist – named Carolyn Holmes. This is the same Carolyn Holmes who left CTCA under contentious circumstances and then filed charges against CTCA for unlawful termination. The case settled on May 8, 2015 but the terms of settlement are not publically available.

It’s really that simple. If you’ve got the right insurance, CTCA has a solution for you. Don’t believe me? Try calling their 1-800 number, and tell them that your wife/husband is very sick. Lay it on thick. Then, tell them that you have Medicaid. Click.

Alternative Medicine – The Bait

To see the company pitch on late night TV, you’d think that the clinic chain was an alternative medicine center. This is decidedly untrue, and very much a bait-and-switch tactic.

True, there is an alternative medicine clinic within each of the CTCA hospitals. Ours was a small suite of offices hidden away above the main lobby. In this area, we had a couple different types of providers – naturopathic doctors, acupuncturists, woo-woo psychotherapists. But everyone who worked in a medical capacity at the hospital knew that this department wasn’t where the bread was buttered.

In fact, the major difference between medicine at CTCA and other cancer clinics is not the use of alternative medicine, but their use of experimental medicine. I’ll define this as off-label or non-standard use of approved medications. For example, I remember hearing doctors trying to talk insurance companies into aggressive use of biologic agents (the most expensive class of chemotherapy) in cancer types that the drugs weren’t approved to treat. Similarly, our doctors were very aggressive in the use of expensive support medications like erythropoietin (EPO) and granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (GCSF) in ways that I have not seen elsewhere.

It is difficult to discuss the general role of complementary and alternative medicine in CTCA hospitals. For one thing, the scope of practice for alt med practitioners varies so much from state to state that the company doesn’t do the same thing in every area. Often times the scope of alt med care was defined by the comfort of the patient’s oncologist. For the most part, people who visited the alt med department would go home with a stack of supplements.

Of course, these supplements were privately branded, more expensive than comparable products, and can be purchased via the CTCA website. While the cost of supplements is dwarfed by the revenue generated by chemotherapy – a single month of treatment with one chemo drug may be as much as $30,000 – the idea of maximizing revenue by adding a couple of extra bucks to a vitamin is fully in line with the corporate agenda. I also know from a private conversation with one of these CAM providers that the company tracks supplement sales and pressures providers to keep sales up.

But the single biggest abuse I saw, and the reason why I no longer work there, was the use of very conventional chemotherapy regimens to treat patients who had already been through standard first and second-line therapies. Generally speaking, the more different chemotherapy medications that a patient has been treated with (also known as regimens that the patient has failed), the less likely that a new treatment will work. At some point in time, a compassionate oncologist will determine that the risk associated with further treatment will not be justified by the small chance at a transient clinical benefit.

Not so with CTCA, because they seem to never give up (on a patient with good reimbursement). As mentioned above, their TV commercials are perfectly designed to recruit a patient off hospice. It is the willingness to use low-yield chemotherapy regimens that keeps the patient from going immediately back to their previous clinic.

One problem with this treatment model is that it feeds into confirmation bias perfectly. I believe that I was able to be a part of the organization as long as I was – close to two years – because of the small number of patients who had remarkable responses to treatments that would not have been offered elsewhere. This blinded me to the ugliness of the company, until one day I began to see things more clearly.

I would love to tell you the story behind this day. It is very remarkable. It involved a nurse suggesting hospice to a patient who clearly needed to stop treatment, and several firings that followed in the wake. I fear if I give any more details, the company will figure out who I am and their lawyers will come after me. I don’t think this fear is unwarranted, even if I don’t exactly feel like a profile in courage at this moment.

The Tea Party Cancer Center – the Politics Behind the Company

Founder and CEO Richard Stephenson isn’t exactly known for his humanitarian beliefs. Stephenson is a primary funding source of Freedom Works, a large donor to Tea Party candidates, the very sort of candidates that help to remove the oversight on the insurance companies that CTCA is trying to maximize reimbursements from. Stephenson is an acolyte of Ayn Rand, the goddess of the libertarian movement.

Documents leaked from Freedom Works during the 2012 election cycle reveal that Stephenson is no small donor. Depending on who you believe, he may have pumped tens of millions of dollars into different candidates. This should speak to the massive profitability of this company. It should also speak to how much this company could potentially lose over cost-cutting measures in the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. Stephenson is almost cartoonishly enthusiastic about CTCA in person. Short, highly-coiffed, and energetic, he comes on like the railroad man from an old western. He exudes true believer about the company’s mission from every pore, and insists the same from everyone around him. Probably everyone that has worked under him for more than a month has heard the story about his mother’s death from cancer a time or two. It’s like the CTCA version of the Checkers speech, and about as sincere.

Side note: Stephenson claims that his mission at CTCA is directly related to his mother’s death from cancer. Contrary to public news sources, he actually bought the first CTCA hospital in 1975, seven years before this event. Like so much else in the corporation, his heart-warming story is utter bullshit.

From the top down, there is a cult-like atmosphere at a CTCA hospital. Lots of motivational emails, management meetings, and pep talks from the administrators help to keep the bubble tightly sealed, and any malcontents – or maybe apostates – are quickly shuffled out.

If you really want to know what motivates this company, look at the 2004 lawsuit brought by one of the original stockholders. In it, Stephenson is quoted as saying “The first priority is to protect the American International Hospital operations (now CTCA’s flagship hospital in the greater Chicago area) and keep them viable and profitable.” Hope, my ass.

Why It Matters

In 2015, CTCA expects to treat about 7000 new patients. Each of these patients will potentially be subjected to more treatment than community standards would deem appropriate, by doctors who are given incentives for each chemotherapy regimen prescribed. Alt med practitioners who financially profit from selling their services and supplements may also simultaneously dupe each of these patients into thinking CAM may help cure their cancer or increase their chances of survival. The company will take a portion of their massive profits and pour them into politicians who will turn a blind eye to this malignant scam.

It is well known from previous reports that CTCA manipulates patient survival data to show better than average survival rates. In part, this data manipulation might be done by cherry-picking patients and by excluding thousands of patients who didn’t receive the entirety of their care at CTCA.

I spend a lot of unproductive time thinking about which is more ethically dubious, the fringe therapies offered by people like Stanislaw Burzynski and Brian Clement or the more subtle abuses that go on at CTCA. I still don’t feel like I have a good answer for the question. In a nation with a legal system that only barely manages to respond to the worst frauds, I think it is very unlikely that anything substantial will happen to Stephenson and his organization for excessive treatment and the harm it creates.

 

Sources:

Reuters, 3/6/13 – Special Report: Behind a Cancer-Treatment Firm’s Rosy SurvivalClaims
Forbes, 12/31/12 – Making a Profit from Offering Ineffective Therapies to Cancer Patients
Delaware Court of Chancery Decisions, 2004 – Lane v Cancer Treatment Centers of America
FTC, 3/13/1996 – Companies that Purport to Successfully Treat Cancer Agree to Settle FTC Charges Over their Claims

Image credit: Arallyn! Some rights reserved.

  • carbonUnit

    Thanks for another look at the underbelly of medicine. I was aware of CTCA, and suspicious, but now I know. Perhaps I will be able to spare someone unnecessary pain and suffering in the future with this knowledge.

  • Just another primary care MD

    Thanks for this post. I had a patient who was treated at CTCA. She had a very aggressive breast cancer and was pretty young. She also had two young children. It was terrible- she had metastasis all over her body, and her cancer had not responded to chemo really at all. She wasn’t being seen at a podunk hospital, either. She was treated at Dana Farber, the Mecca of cancer treatment. When they said there was nothing else to do for her and suggested hospice, she went to the other Meccas of Boston- MGH, Brigham and Womens, etc. All of them confirmed that there was no further role for chemo and recommended hospice.

    Then she called CTCA. What a surprise- they told her they could help! She went to Philadelphia and spent weeks there…weeks away from her children and husband. Weeks of spending money on useless chemo. She then started to go into liver failure. Those caring doctors at CTCA kicked her out. No messing up their stats was allowed!!!! They literally drove her to the airport and put her on a plane home.

    The next thing I knew I was taking care of her in my hospital. She was in florid liver failure and was totally encephalopathic. She never got to say goodbye to her husband or kids.

    You know, there are good deaths and there are bad deaths. This one was the worst I ever saw. Thinking of it still breaks my heart. The look on the face of those children…never getting to say goodbye to their mom, all because CTCA stole their last weeks away to put money in their own pocket.

    So fuck you, CTCA. Fuck you from the bottom of my heart.

    • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

      This is tragic. Thank you for sharing.

    • Twin Citian

      Sounds a lot like the now-defunct Parker Hughes Cancer Center in the twin cities metro. Unfounded promises, unnecessarily repeated tests, pointless actions touted as “aggressive treatment.” The fraudster-in-chief lost his license for a while, but he got it back and is now working for a children’s cancer hospital in L.A. Rich people always seem to land on their feet, regardless of the harm they cause.

    • CathyC

      Can her family sue? Or do they have a snowballs chance? I bet she signed many significant forms that prevent her family from taking legal action.

    • Reasonable Roger

      Wow, that story is painful even to just read it.

    • Michael MD

      This is hard to believe for two reasons. One Sloan is the Mecca for cancer treatment. Dana Farber is up there but Sloan wins hands down in most every poll. More research and more money. Second there is a little thing called patient dumping. They can’t simply put someone on a plane just because they don’t want them or there is an insurance issue. Also EMTALA comes into play she can’t simply be released in the state you described,

      I don’t know if CTCA are good or bad but that description if true would have it shut down for new patients immediately.

      • Just another primary care MD

        Dana Farber is just as much a Mecca as Sloane. EMTALA only applies to treatment in the emergency room. It has literally nothing to do with this situation.

      • Just another primary care MD

        Also, patient dumping refers to kicking people out of the hospital based on inability to pay. Nothing to do with this situation.

        If you’re really an MD, you’d know these things about EMTALA and dumping. You’d also know that in reality insurance coverage dictated length of stay every single day.

  • Author

    JAPCMD – this is exactly the reason I submitted this article. I’m sorry you, too, had to witness such a foul breakdown of medical ethics. I think your final paragraph speaks to the sentiment about CTCA in the broader medical community nicely.

    • Jon

      Heartbreaking and fascinating. I’m about as far outside of what is being discussed as can be, but I did have a comment and an observation. It seems to me that the author and JAPCMD both take positons that indirectly come down to “Damn these terminal cancer patients for not wanting to take my advice and just ‘go gently’.” And as long as there are patients like these, that want to take whatever slim chance exists to prolong their life, even at the expense of quality, then there will be some organization or some individuals that will give them what they want.
      You can’t eliminate the fear that any one individual patient has regarding their own death. But you can help make the practice of pandering to that fear unprofitable, and thus largely shut down the providers. And you can do that by going to the insurers that are willing to pay for yet another expensive but likely useless round of chemo, or some off-label use of an expensive drug, and bring the fact that the insurer is backing unproven/disproven medical treatments, using their shareholders’ profits, to the insurer’s attention.
      No insurance company wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a patient, period. They do it because either they are obligated to, or because they have become willing to do so over the course of a particular patient’s treatment. If they had good reason to believe that a particular medical organization was essentially defrauding patients, and through the patients, them, then the insurers would shut that practice down.
      That wouldn’t happen quickly or easily, but it would happen. Unfortunately, it requires a long term and sustained effort. It’s the sort of thing you’d think a medical association of some kind would want to take on, rather than leaving it to individual physicians who have seen first-hand the damage that a medical organization with potentially unsavory motives can do. But then the medical associations also represent all the physicians that work for the organizations with unsavory motives, too, don’t they?
      No easy answers, and that usually means that solving the problem requires someone to take on a very difficult task.

  • Travis

    Thanks for sharing

  • http://naturocrit.blogspot.com naturocrit

    A CTCA page on naturopathy

    http://www.cancercenter.com/western/integrative-oncology-services/naturopathic-medicine/

    states naturopathy is:

    “based on scientific research […as] the safe and effective use of evidence-based natural therapies […] evidence-based naturopathic recommendations”

    and then tells us homeopathy is in the arsenal.

    Naturopathic business as usual.

    -r.c.

  • http://ronsNHhme Ian

    yeah like naturopaths are gonna listen to you lool keep posting these made-up stories Hermes no one cares. Patients will still seek out NDs, and NDs will still treat them. You’ll be left with some robots chiming in now and then lol Hope you stay in Germany

    • JGC

      “Patients will still seek out NDs, and NDs will still treat them.”

      You say that as if it were a good thing, Ian–why? Can you offer any evidence that naturopathic treatments for non-self limiting illnesses or injuries generate equivalent or better outcomes for than standard of care science-based treatments, such as offered by licensed physicians?

      • http://ronsNHhme Ian

        Yes its a good thing, life is a great thing 🙂 Evidence is out there, if you look for it 🙂

        • Cruz

          Ian, you keep on using the word evidence, I don’t think it means what you think it means…

          • http://ronsNHhme Ian

            Yes keep parroting the mainstream media about “evidence”. Did you know that most pharmaceuticals’ mechanisms of actions are still a mystery but they are still used? Where is the “evidence”? lol

            I bet I know more about what “evidence” means than you would every hope to know 🙂

            • David

              Ian
              Your claims are just as fraudulent as naturopaths. Tell is your credentials that you know more than us about evidence. I have 4 degrees all in the health field and in research. Published in many journals. Board certified specialist in 3 countries. Masters in epidemiology. And you?

              • http://ronsNHhme Ian

                What does it matter what you or I say online? I will just say that your credentials pale in comparison to mine and my experience. But do you believe me? I sure dont believe you 🙂

                Fraudulent claims? You don’t know what you’re talking about, these things are admitted 🙂

                • Ken Hamer

                  Well, trolls do live in a fairy tale land.

                  • http://ronsNHhme Ian

                    Yes, case in point you and your one liners lol

                • David

                  Ian. I will privately give you a link to my office where you can look up all my credentials. If they were false I would lose my license to practice. Are you willing to do the same?

                  • http://ronsNHhme Ian

                    Yes, of course I have nothing to hide. I will even meet you face to face but I’m sure you’re not willing to do that 🙂

                  • David

                    Why wouldn’t I be willing to meet you face to face? I am not sure what it would achieve ?

                  • David

                    If you have nothing to hide, please tell us your fantastical credentials

                • David

                  Ian
                  If you really do have a background in what you call evidence….then you know that the first rule to any discussion is to bring data. Where is your data? Give us something that should make us see your point why we should embrace naturopathy. All you say is everyone is delusional and lying ?

                  • http://ronsNHhme Ian

                    Oh you never provide evidence to skeptics. Thats the first rule, especially since these folks are just looking to attack and not really open minded.

                    Evidence of naturopathic medicine? What does that mean anyway? Its like saying, I want evidence of surgery lol

                    Are you looking for something in specific like evidence for probiotics?

                    Your question alone shows your ignorance in naturopathic medicine or any type of medicine.

                    You keep harping on research and science things you know nothing about.

                  • JGC

                    Uhhh…Ian? You do realize that ‘evidence you never provide” is indistinguishable from “evidence which simply doesn’t exist”, don’t you?

                    But I’ll give you an example of what I’m looking for: given that homeopathy is an integral part of all naturopathic training, I’d like evidence demonstrating that homeopathy is more effective than an appropriate placebo control as a treatment for any non-self limiting illness or injury

                  • http://ronsNHhme Ian

                    I like how you responded to your own reply in the last post above so I wont have a chance to reply (since it hits the max num of replies to a thread). Real classy lool

                • JGC

                  You’re correct about one thing, Ian: arguments sstand or fall on their own merit, not as a function of the credentials those advancing them possess. To that end, please tell us where we can find the evidence which demonstrates that patients continuing to seek out ND’s for medical interventions is good thing (i.e., that the medical interventions unique to naturopathy yield equivalent or superior outcomes than does standard-of-care secience based medicine.

              • Michael MD

                Board certification from US doesn’t certify you another country you would have to take the residency again. They were trying to propose new legislation to just require board passage but AMA and boards of existing specialities rallied against it.

                So you took a residency in three separate countries? Admirable but why? It seems pretty useless.

                • David

                  You sure about that? You have to redo your residency to write american boards?

    • david

      Ian
      as a doctor, I see so much mismanagement by naturopaths. Blatant harm. They get away with it all the time. I am curious why you defend them so vehemently? Is your wife or child a naturopath. You make it sound that naturopaths are curing the world of all that ails it. I still maintain that world health indicators would not change one bit if all the naturopaths and chiropractors disappeared tomorrow.

      • http://ronsNHhme Ian

        Well at least you didnt call ME a naturopath but rather just went after my wife and children (I wonder why). Are you curing the world? Naturopaths manage patients better than most MDs. This is why MDs are obsessed with NDs who they outnumber. Perhaps instead of hating on NDs “doctor” why not study their methods and see why people keep visiting them, not everyone is naiive you know.

        • Cruz

          Ian, either your reading comprehension is very low or you are willfully being ignorant and playing the victim in regards to david’s piece. He never went after your child or spouse, he was just curious why you were so vehemently defending the nonsense that is naturopathy. He wondered whether it might be because someone close to you made the stupid decision to become a naturopath. It’s a reasonable assumption, since you never identified yourself as a Naturopathic ‘doctor’.. So please get over yourself…

          • http://ronsNHhme Ian

            So do you all have family members who are MDs? Just because you defend an idea doesn’t mean you have family in that line of work lol Some logic you guys have! I’m sure David appreciates your defense of his shaky points though lool Fail!

          • Michael MD

            This is called deflection. David did go after Ian’s wife or child by inferring there must be a familia relationship between Ian’s defense of ND, so either he is an ND or a family member is one.

            I hate to break it to you but most NDs wouldn’t give this little blog even a once over.

            David believes one thing and you believe another. I wish people could respect others choices.

    • Just another primary care MD

      I can assure you that my story is all too true.

      • http://ronsNHhme Ian

        Yeah mine too bro, mine too 🙂

        • Just another primary care MD

          I’m a woman. Why do people always assume that doctors are men?

      • Michael MD

        If it is than CTCA could be brought to court and possible criminal litigation on patient dumping which is illegal in all states since the 30s and definitely EMTALA. Better get on that one since you actually witnessed and treated the patient.

        • Just another primary care MD

          EMTALA only applies to treatment in the emergency room…but nice try.

  • B

    Wow.
    There is a lot to say about all of the ignorance splattered all over these blog posts, but who has time for that? Bunch of football players trying to talk golf is what it looks like.

    Seems like the hostility towards Naturopathic medicine comes from Britt’s lack of competency in her practice of natural medicine. Naturopathic services are not covered by most insurances these days so if you suck then yeah, you’ll be forced to give up. I work for two Naturopaths who are extremely successful and both went to Bastyr so…that’s that.

    • David

      There is no point in arguing with all these people who do not understand scientific theory nor the concept of evidence based medicine. I still remember arguing with a friend of mine who is a naturopath … He didn’t understand why this placebo controlled trial of a favorite naturopathic medicine was deemed to have not worked since 3/100 people got better. He just couldn’t comprehend that the whole idea of accepted significance is .05. He kept repeating well if 3/100 get better than that is good enough for me. The concept that statistics suggest that 3 is simply by chance not a therapeutic effect was way beyond his comprehension.

    • Just another primary care MD

      Personally, my hostility comes from watching my patients get taken for an emotional and financial ride by naturopaths.

  • David

    B
    They are busy so that’s that. Another great evidence based arguement. Bernie madoff was extremely busy too and successful until people realized he was a fraud.

    • Michael MD

      Bad analogy. You don’t know Madoff’s history has once Chairman of NASDAQ and actually an extremely successful trader and money manager. He was once great but his last funds for over 15 years he was lying. Most of the lying was due to dot com bubble before the lying was not as great. Huge scam but he didn’t set out to create one from inception.

      Very poor comparison if you knew Madoff’s background.

  • brewandferment

    a bit late to the game, but it seems to me the title should actually be “…America? PROFITEERING on…”

  • disqus_wOFmk7iBII

    Hi, I was discovered this blog after reading about it in a new article. I believe the blog deserve scrutiny; for one it seems very well-polished, is a registered domain name and considerable effort has been made to write articles which would indicate to me that is funded. If the blog is funded, is it funded by the doctor who started or by another source and if so what is the motivation.

    Secondly in my examination at least as one curiously examining alternative medicine which would include nautropathy it does seem suspect, some of it seems to operate from snake oil sales men although that probably more of an indication of unethical practitioners and lack of regulation, seems to exploit some hypochondriacs and rests on questionable basis. Although an opposing argument could be made that it’s position in society is result of rejection by established main stream medicine and it’s monopoly on medicine and de facto authority which goes unquestioned. Perhaps modern medicine has forced alternative medicine into the back alleys and gutters of society and by doing so the questionable features of it has manifested.

    I certainty would only seek traditional medicine for my care although I would state traditional medicine can be criticized for three reasons; One a large amount of resources and research is devoted towards treatments, primarily surgical or pharmaceutical opposed to cure although on the other hand one can be concerned about gene therapy/stem cell therapy which would perhaps cure but goes too far and would have unintended or unpredictable effects; the second criticism is that modern medicine in my opinion is starting to become a business; if in any way doctors, hospitals, treatment centers, or any other part of the medical establishment becomes a business medicine will become perverted and twisted into a money making scheme and patients will suffer for it; the third criticism is I do not think modern medicine focuses enough on wellness(in original meaning) and seeks to simply make patients healthy through diet and exercise and alleviation of stress; many of the causes of death are preventable or can be greatly reduced and I think medicine or the medical establishment could seek to make our nation healthy.

    We don’t want millions of people dependent on medicare, medicaid, “obamacare” , we don’t want them to depend on doctors, we want them to be healthy and strong. Our nation insidiously going in the opposite direction it should be and we could devote great resources and effort towards the health of our cities, communities and families.

    • Ken Hamer

      You use a lot of big words and flowery language but you sound like an idiot.

      • Yossarian

        *pats you on the shoulder* There there Ken I bought you a picture book and if you are really nice, I’ll give you some crayons.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      Do you know how much it costs to register a domain name? I have a blog. I rarely write, because I’m lazy, but I keep up the domain name because it’s $23 a month, so why not? This is not big bucks we’re talking about here. Why in the world would you imply that Britt’s blog is “funded” by some nefarious source?

      Also- you might want to look into the proper use of commas. It would make your writing much easier to understand.

      • Ken Hamer

        “Nefarious funding” is all critics have.

        • Yossarian

          No nefarious funding was implied; I think readers ought to apply a basic scrutiny to what they read. Do you believe everything that you read? We all know that people act with an agenda and as the author stated, she engages in “health politics”; it’s a legitimate to apply scrutiny to what you read and ask for transparency.

      • Yossarian

        I never stated a “nefarious source” was used; I brought up a legitimate point it’s questionable that this blog serves a public purpose when is stating that it does; if it does not than the honesty of the owner and the articles posted are of questionable value.

    • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

      I tried to read through this comment with an open mind. But I cannot. First, I do not think I understand most of your sentences. Second, I got tired of editing your comment as I read it. So I gave up.

      But I do want to respond to one point. Yes, I do make a considerable effort to write posts for my blog. I like to write about my experiences with naturopathic medicine, science, and health politics. And I make every effort to make sure my posts are well-written, easy to follow, and accurate. The fact that I spend time writing for something I care about deeply does not imply “funding.” It implies passion.

      • Yossarian

        I think my points were clear and comprehensible, I didn’t dumb them down to make it easier to understand, I presume a basic level of intelligence and education from readers and also that they are free-thinking and able to engage in points and arguments.

        Considerable time and effort has been posted in articles, most blogs by personal owners do not reflect such time or money spent; also you seem to have either used a public relations firm or somehow been successful in engaging with the media; which indicate a purpose outside of an objective one, in order to influence.

        • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

          You are welcome to use my first name instead of “the author.”

          I am flattered that you think my work looks like that of a PR firm. I work hard to select nice images and write entertaining posts. Thank you for the compliment.

          The public opinion matters. The public voices opinions on medical matters all the time. Take SB 277 in CA, as an obvious example. My work to educate and influence seems to be working.

          Examples:
          http://www.no-naturopaths.org/
          https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/naturopathic-scope-of-practice-expansion-killed-in-north-dakota/

          My early posts explain why I left the profession of naturopathy and have chosen to not “work within the profession.” My blog is very transparent- everything you need to know about me is here.
          Please take the time to read all of its content before drawing further conclusions.

          I have never written any “articles in science magazines.” (But I would like to!) And as for social media? Yes, there is a “share” button I like to click. No considerable effort needed.

          • Yossarian

            It’s quite honorable that you decided to leave the snake-oil business and write a blog. If you are going to manipulate sheep, then go ahead. Why should I impose?

        • PrimaryCareDoc

          Your points are not clear and comprehensible. Your writing, quite frankly, sucks. You don’t use proper punctuation. You seems to exert considerable effort to sound educated, but fail miserably (for example, using “whom” to try to sound nice and formal, but you’ve used it incorrectly- it should be “influence the public WHO are not doctors).

          Just because Britt knows how to write in English and how to run a WordPress blog doesn’t mean there’s some Big Money PR firm behind her. The idea is laughable.

          • https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com Britt Hermes

            I did actually laugh out loud while reading his comment! And then my husband had a good laugh, too.

            • PrimaryCareDoc

              By “husband,” you really mean “CEO of huge PR firm” or “Big Pharma Shill Wrangler,” right?

              Come on, Britt. Be transparent!!!!

          • Yossarian

            I didn’t apply much effort, I didn’t think it was important. After all I left comments in a blog.

            • JohnMWhite

              Your points were clear and comprehensible, now you didn’t make much effort to make them. Which is it? Why were you dishonest at least once? Why did you upvote your own comment?

          • Yossarian

            I am educated, I would suggest you go to college and earn a degree; perhaps you will understand what it means to be educated.

          • Yossarian

            Have fun salivating over your leader. lol

  • Vicky Phillips Hassell

    First off, until you the author of this article reveal your identity and there is proof you were on staff at CTCA, I take everything very lightly. In my opinion, you shouldn’t publish anything unless it’s proven credible to it’s readers. It shouldn’t be suspect because in the event that it’s proven incorrect, you will have a huge slander case on your hands.

  • Zenaida Munet

    I believe In naturalistic medicine very much I also believe that all this medication with such much chemicals in it are very dangerous an very very money making.

  • Zenaida Munet

    I believe In naturalistic medicine very much I also believe that all this medication with such much chemicals in it are very dangerous an very very money making.