Consumer Health Digest #06-17

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 25, 2006

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

Chiropractor pleads guilty to massive insurance fraud. Douglas Henderson, D.C., of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, has pled guilty to criminal charges of insurance fraud and will be sentenced in July 2006. Henderson owned and operated the Burrell Chiropractic Clinic in the community of Lower Burrell and another business called Henderson Automotive. The criminal information document, which describes the nature of the scheme, states:

The U.S. Attorney's Office has announced that several patients have already been prosecuted for participating in the scheme and that the investigation is continuing.

Medicare/Medicaid antifraud program will increase sharply. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that its budget for detecting fraud will increase from $5 million this year to $60 million in 2010. The increase was allocated in this year's federal budget law (Deficit Reduction Act of 2005), which also directs the agency to implement a new Medicaid Integrity Program and to hire 100 people to work in this area—up from only eight such workers in 2005. The problem was explored at a March 28th hearing on Bolstering the Safety Net: Eliminating Medicaid Fraud before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs' Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security.

Stem cell swindlers charged with fraud. Laura Brown and Stephen Mark Van Rooyen (a/k/a Mark Dehavillan) have been charged with wire fraud and al drug marketing in connection with the selling of purported stem cell treatments to at least patients suffering from ALS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and other incurable diseases. The indictment states:

FDA enforcement action in 2004 shut down Biomark's business in the United States [Zarembo A. Selling scientific promise: A desperate injection of stem cells and hope. Los Angeles Times, Feb 20, 2005] , but Van Rouyan and Brown reportedly left the United States set up new operations in South Africa and the United Kingdom. [Boseley S. Doctors' concern over MS clinic. Guardian Unlimited, March 20, 2006] Quackwatch has additional information about shady stem cell programs.

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This page was posted on April 24, 2006.