Consumer Health Digest #10-34

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 2, 2010

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. 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.

Kaiser declares neck manipulation a non-covered service. Kaiser Permanente Mid Atlantic States and Mid-Atlantic Permanente Group have revised their chiropractic manipulation medical coverage policy to exclude chiropractic neck manipulation from coverage. The revised policy states:

Chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine is associated with vertebral artery dissection and stroke. The incidence is estimated at 1.3-5 events per 100,000 manipulations. Given the paucity of data related to beneficial effects of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine and the real potential for catastrophic adverse events, it was decided to exclude chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine from coverage.

The American Chiropractic Association and World Chiropractic Alliance have protested.

Federal truth-in-credentials bill reintroduced. U.S. Representative John Sulliivan (R-OK) wants to make it easier for consumers to evaluate health-related credentials. His (Healthcare Truth and Transparency Act (H.R. 5295) would make it illegal for people offering health care to misrepresent their education, training, degree, or clinical expertise, or whether they hold a state license. The bill, which was originally introduced in 2006, would also order the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the extent of misrepresentation of health-related credentials and report back to Congress within one year.

Offbeat hormone prescriber suspended. An administrative law judge has ordered that the medical license of Michael E. Platt be suspended until the Medical Board of California can deal with his situation. In 2008, the board accused Platt of negligence, incompetence, and inadequate record-keeping in connection with his care of three women, two of whom he diagnosed as hypothyroid even though their hormone levels tested normal. In 2009, the charges were settled with an agreement under which he was ordered enroll in the University of California's Physician Assessment and Clinical Education (PACE) program and serve 5 years on probation, during which his practice would be monitored or reviewed. Platt did enroll, but the PACE faculty concluded that he was deficient in clinical reasoning, judgment, and performance and that even a 3- to 6-month intensive study would not bring him to the level of a competent physician who is safe to practice medicine. After the board petitioned to revoke his probation, the judge held a hearing, after which the board filed an accusation and the judge issued the interim suspension order. Platt, who practiced in Rancho Mirage, California, is the author of The Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones: A Revolutionary Approach to Wellness for Men, Women and Children. His clinic Web site states that he "places his attention on the causation of illness, and has developed a protocol to eliminate or alleviate disabling conditions such as ADD, ADHD, fibromyalgia, menopause, migraines, osteoporosis, restless leg syndrome, weight challenges and more."

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This page was posted on September 4, 2010.