"CAVEAT EMPTOR" -- BUYER BEWARE . . . From an Industry Insider . . .
FOR YOUR PROTECTION . . .
 
SUGGESTED THINGS TO DO & QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN RESEARCHING
FOREIGN OR U.S. TREATMENT CENTERS / CLINICS
 
When researching a new clinic or treatment center, be sure to be polite but asssertive in your rights and ask whomever
you're considering going to for treatment for a written explanation of as many of these you feel are appropriate :
 
1. How long have the physicians and other professionals have been doing these therapies and what is their training / qualifications? Is there specialist certifications / licenses?
2. How long have they been in business in this town? Are they allowed to give any patient references who had the same diagnosis ? (many won't because of confidentiality laws)
3. Are they Licensed and Certified by the Dept. of Health ? Can you get their License No. and Certificate No.? (Especially Important for Foreign Clinics--Health Dept. Licenses and Certification means they are monitored for practicing sterile procedures and other basic medical safety precautions to US standards . . . (i.e.rubber gloves, disposable needles, etc.)
4. DEA # (if appropriate)...(this is issued by the USA to American physicians using controlled drugs like Morophine, Darvocet, etc.). Some may not give it you to prevent misuse.
5. Also check for their Business License--in Mexico, anyone can set up shop in a house and treat. A Business License means they're serious enough to pay taxes and willing to go by the rules...this is not the same as a Medical Facilities License...
6. Informed Consent Forms Used? How do they handle injuries such as a heart attack, stroke, etc?
7. Is any of my history or file going to be used for education and/or collecting study data? If so, for whom?
8. Will my name and address and personal information be sold to a data base firm for purchase by supplement companies, other clinics or research groups?
9. Will any of my medical information be accessible to my employer should they request it?
10. Who actually administers the therapies...the doctor himself or nursing staff...or medical assistants? What kind of certifications or licenses do they carry?
11. Do you bring in outside consulting personnel (massage therapists, dentists, etc.)? If so, are their fees separate or built in?
12. Are they up to date CPR certificates?
13. Do they have a defibrilator on site which has current certifications? (having one which is not working correctly is a common problem)
14. Do you use any blood or animal -based products like interferon, immunoglobulins, heparin, vaccines, etc. in medications or therapies?
15. What procedures are taken to insure that they've been found pure and safe for human use (studies) ... may I have a copy of the certificate of the lab that manufactures them and the batch numbers? (don't ever let anyone inject you with anything without first seeing the bottles it came from and the batch numbers and write it down in case you have a bad reaction
and/or die and your family needs it for follow up).
16. FOREIGN CLINICS: Can I get copies of my chart in English including all labs, lists of i.v. meds, procedures, etc.? Cost?
17. If they're going to do Chelation, did the physician get board certified ? Do they do an EKG and HRV first to check heart function?
18. If they're doing Oxidative Therapies, have they been certified by IBOM or in Germany, etc.? How long have they done it and HOW do they do it? (many kinds of Oxidative therapies)
19. Any special certificates or training in biochemistry and clinical nutrition? Virology, Microbiology, Oncology, etc.? Are they members of ACAM or A4M? (Antiaging Med.)
20. Clinic/ Treatment Philosophy-- just treating symptoms or the whole person?.... Is the patient part of the treatment input
and decision process or just to receive whatever they decide? (Some physicians in the last 10 yrs. whose practices were
doing poorly saw an opportunity and jumped into "alternative" to increase their income centers (cash practice) but are not
really practicing from a wholistic integrated approach...be aware of that when researching so you know what to expect and
not be offended if they don't offer what you're expecting. It's not always their "forte"... Just move on...)
21. Therapies/Programs offered for patients like you (do they use a cookbook approach but use less toxic methods than traditional or are they using a customized protocol for you that is adjusted as you go?)
22. Do they use a Pic line installed surgically or daily stick for i.v. therapies (we prefer a pic line or subclavian port to avoid constant traumas to the area)
23. In writing, get required diagnostics, their rationale & cost & how many times during treatment period (sometimes labs are done Some clinicians make this an income center and do alot of labs on site...most refer out. If hormone panels, viral loads, biochemistry tests, etc. are done, it can run into thousands of dollars. Don't be afraid to ask why they feel you need to be tested...what info. they'll get from it and how the treatment protocol will change if they don't have this
test (usually it doesn't change it much at all). Most of the tests are not covered by any insurance...like the stealth virus'
test isn't I don't think...If you're going to a Foreign Clinic, GET ALL PREADMIT LABS DONE IN THE STATES FIRST...
24. Many Mexican Clinics play a "shell" game...they say they're doing the labs but then send it out and put results on their own stationery so you can't contact the lab...that's illegal in the US...Besides which, most insurers cover labs from the US...but not foreign. We recommend US Labs only.
Note FYI...it has been illegal for doctors to pay discounted fees to a lab and then marking it up to the patient (a felony ). Labs are not allowed to discount services to physicians in exchange for increased business (a long time business practice that was made illegal several years ago). For example, a lab will give the doctor's office a discount to say $15 for a chem panel and the doctor's office will mark it up to $40 to the patient, pocketing the difference... Many
people don't know that is illegal unless the doctors office performs that actual tests onsite and doesn't send it out to a
lab (which requires CLIA certification as a lab and is very expensive). A draw fee or facilitation fee is fine, but marking up actual tests fees is not. The FTC says that "reselling" of lab services is illegal and it became a Felony...since 1997-8 when several major labs (Smith-Kline Beechem & others) got caught
encouraging business by this practice and had to pay millions of dollars in fines and judgements. If possible, ask to work with the lab
directly...they usually extend a 50% discount for cash or prepayment anyway to patients...it's much cheaper in the long run and the end
results are the same.
25.In Writing -- Biological Rationale of each treatment modality, mechanism of action, and what they hope it will accomplish in your case, Costs, etc.
26. Do they provide a written list of what is put into your i.v. solutions & injectibles ? How about full copies of your records when you leave including all diagnostics and SOAP notes?
27. Can you get a Master Bill-- an itemized invoice with appropriate insurance CPT codes?
28. Supplements expected to be purchased, what they're for (biological rationale) and anticipated outcomes(why)...how
much $ and return/exchange policies
29. How clinical treatments administered (i.v. infusions, etc.), how long daily, how many sessions (for example, chelation should not be less than 40 sessions if its a new patient)...
Note for Chelation Patient Potentials: This may seem like an unnecessary precation and common sense but it is borne out of my experiences over the years...Make sure no one puts an i.v. solution in your body if you have any heart disease or kidney disease or PCVD until AFTER they've gotten your labs back and see how your kidney and liver function are.
Unfortunately, I've experienced first hand clinicians who want to get the patient "hooked up" right away (to make them feel committed and keep them coming back) before labs & diagnostics are back and evaluated to adjust the dosing, etc. based on the doctor's clinical gut experience, but I've had two of my referred -out patients injured this way and one die at Loma Linda ICU from a massive coronary induced after a chelating physician's office was too desperateand negligent. I now advise patients to make their doctors or nurse wait and do it right...it only takes usually 1 day to get labs back and usually sooner if drawn early enough. Use your common sense and don't let anyone rush you according to their schedule...
30. Common if any side effects and risks in writing along with a treatment plan and signed Informed Consent, signed by both the licensed treating physician, center administrator and the patient or their legal power of attorney.
31. Financial Policies ... payment methods and policies and refund policies for early treatment termination
32. Refers to #27 above...Insurance submission for reimbursement...Sometimes if the patient submits the coded invoices to their insurer, they'll cover something eventhough the physician's office can't bill directly. As long as its not Medicare. Alternative clinics usually don't accept insurance for pay...it's
illegal for physicians offices to bill for non-medicare coded procedures, but not for the patient to submit for request for
reimbursement (the foundation for all insurance codes is the Medicare codes). (The only exception I've found is for
dietary & lifestyle modification...Dr. Whitaker's clinic in So.Cal. has mastered this billing and has made alot of $ and even got some
recovery on medicare patients)... so don't be put off if they don't do insurance...its the nature of the industry...there are no insurance codes for 99% of what we do in integrated medicine...that's why its referred to alot as "non-consensus" medicine. Expect to pay out of pocket. Also ask if they extend a cash discount and also if they accept credit cards...that way if the services are not performed or you're sold supplements you didn't want, you're credit card
charge back is in tact. Make sure they don't charge up front for the entire treatment cost unless they have a written refund policy if you don't complete the treatment schedule as designed.
33. Discharge / Home Care Instructions should be given in writing w/ways to deal with crisis or unwanted side effects and who to call
34. Follow Up Calls to be expected Post Treatment... how often ? Is there any charge, and if so, how much $$ and how is it paid for?
35. Resources for home care...organic food suppliers, health food stores, nurses registerys's for in-home i.v care, nurses aids,
therapists, diagnostic centers, etc. in the patients home area if possible. Home healthcare agencys, etc.
36. MEXICAN CLINIC CONSIDERATION: IF POSSIBLE, MAKE ARRANGEMENTS DIRECTLY WITH THE CLINIC BEING INVESTIGATED (DON'T USE A CLINIC TOUR GUIDE) TO VISIT THE CLINIC AND TALK TO PATIENTS ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCES . . .STAY AROUND LONG ENOUGH TO WATCH HOW THEY'RE TREATED....IF THE STAFF SPEAK GOOD ENGLISH, ETC. ALSO, CALL THE U.S. COUNSELATE AND FIND OUT IF THERE HAVE BEEN COMPLAINTS AND WHAT TYPE...
37. What transportation and lodging options are available? What is the cost?
38. What type of meals are provided if any? Grocery and Food Options, Healthfood Stores, etc.? (Typhus is endemic in Mexico so DO NOT eat tacos or other foods from Stands since flys carry it. Also, cleaning service companies frequently use uneducated indians, etc.who are not aware how they spread disease by using the same rag to wipe tables and desks as they use for cleaning toilets, so be cautious about use of public bathrooms. We always bring sanitary wipes and 3% hydrogen peroxide along for disinfecting surfaces ourselves.
39. As of Jan. 1, 2008 a Passport will be required to enter or leave Mexico from the USA.
40. PRACTICE OF FINDERS FEES. It is a little known but common practice for doctors and clinics to pay "referral" fees to a referring individual or patient who refers a friend for treatment. The commission % is simply tacked on to the patient's treatment fees. Sometimes, clinics pay as much as 40-50% of the patient's clinic fee to the referring party. We find this practice abhorant and immoral. We don't pay finders fees or commissions and pass the cost on to the patient or build it into the cost of treatment.
Ask if the fees being quoted include a "finders fee" or referral commission (this is commonly how clinic tour guides make a living...). Sometimes the clinics offer "free" or discounted therapy in exchange for patients also. This practice is totally ILLEGAL AND IS A FELONY if caught since Border Clinics using US bank accounts & ads are subject to all US Laws, and in the US it is illegal for a physician to pay patients for referrals...payment can be in the form of $ or free treatment, gifts, etc.
41. SEPT. 2008 UPDATE...THIS IS AN ADDITION FOR FOREIGN CLINIC PATIENTS...Due to the recent political and financial unrest in Mexico, we recommend any patient coming into for treatment to register with the US Consulate PRIOR to coming. If you do not register, you have absolutely no legal standing if there is a death or injury you need to resolve. It is easy enough to do it online. Mexico is being very unfriendly when it comes to getting Americans (dead or injured) who are in their care back into the US without lots of hassles and pay outs...registering with the Consulate helps reduce or eliminate this.


Many inviduals reading these things are already familiar with all of the above...if so, forgive my presumptions. This information is intended to protect the patient and reduce the potential for misunderstandings and dis-satisfied patients who feel ripped off. We all need to be upfront and honest in our attempts to reduce the stress from chronic miscommunications on both sides of the equasion.
 
My focus is on the patients right and need to know as much information as possible to make the most informed decisions...I don't care about individual political agendas, personality conflicts and professional biasis and posturing, etc. that is so prevalent in medicine (alternative or allopathic) research circles...that's not useful and unprofessional and should be kept out of the process. Both sides (integrated/alternative v.s. traditional mainstream) say they're trying to protect patients from harm by being "taken advantage of" or "being injured" by the other side...the reality is that many patients have been taken advantage by unethical physicians and practioners on both sides...I think the patient is the one to make the ultimate decision however, and in order to do that, they need accurate unbiased information, and respect. The GOLDEN RULE APPLYS HERE...Treat others the way you want to be treated...

©1994-2009 Arrowhead HealthWorks ™ P.O.Box 3668, Crestline, CA 92325
(909) 338-3533 / FAX (909) 338-3743
E-mail: dbormann@arrowheadhealthworks.com *ARROWHEADHEALTHWORKS.COM