Monthly Archives: April 2009

SOCIAL COMMENTARY

04/28/09

Revised: April 17, 2009 @ 1:30pm

Recently, a patient who is also a practicing physician came to me with a letter from her insurance company. As I read it, I began to question the validity of the statement. The letter, which contained the advice of the company’s medical consultant, denied her claim for compensation, even though she had paid premiums over the course of twenty years – and had never made any claims previously. She was seeking my advice on how to respond to this dilemma.

Philosophically, I have never been a friend of the insurance systems in place and will generalize by stating that they operate in a similar fashion throughout the world. Indeed, many of them are multi-nationals for obvious reasons.

Salesmen extol the virtues of their “comprehensive coverage”, in order to obtain substantial commissions. No one ever reads the policies that cover numerous pages of small print, that cannot be read nor are intended to be read. The insurance company then puts the premiums in the till and invests the proceeds to pay for their overhead, enhance shareholder value (bottom line) and to possibly even provide coverage for those who ante up the premiums. Reality indicates that management takes care of management first and basically “to hell” with everyone else. With regard to the payment of claims submitted, the almost invariable response is, “we do not cover this: read the fine print!” – which I would presume eliminates over 90% of supplicants.

As the prevailing economic crisis has revealed, insurance companies through their investment subsidiaries have engaged in extensive speculation in derivative and other unsound financial products – in other words, they are gambling with the money received from premiums and concomitantly reneging on their obligations. This completely refutes the foundation on which insurance was based. Moreover, this particular case highlights the egregious method of abuse practiced by the companies, unchecked by the so-called regulatory bodies, which consist largely of governments and their bloated bureaucracies. It should be noted that many of the biggest contributors to political campaigns of all stripes are insurance companies and those who provide financial services.

Based on good evidence, it appears that money paid to insurers to provide for the payment of claims is in reality used to enhance the compensation of managers, as a secondary priority to increase share value and both last and least, to provide coverage for those who pay the premiums, i.e. the would-be primary beneficiaries. To me, this appears to be totally wrong – if not an outright form of fraudulent activity.

The letter the physician presented to me states that on the advice of an “orthopaedic medical consultant”, the claim was denied. Having some understanding of how the world really works, I am left to wonder if this is really true. Did a medical consultant actually review and deny the claim? I suspect that this never occurred and if it did, was merely rubberstamped by a physician in the employ of the insurance company, i.e. a one-way verdict.

Furthermore, it has become increasingly clear that insurance companies are practicing medicine or at least its employees are – no doubt at the directive of senior managers. This is a wonderful game. They collect the premiums, play with the proceeds and issue a letter of denial to the insured, based on whatever evidence the company wishes to cite; moreover, they may or may not have reviewed the issues. Suffice it to say that they refuse to pay the bills for which they are inherently responsible.

It should be noted that in this instance, the patient-physician had consulted many other specialists over the years for her medical problem and had been subjected to a variety of treatments which were universally ineffective. These were of the “approved” variety. Indeed, she had been unable to be functional from a physical perspective and frequently could not attend to her practice. Following ten laser therapy treatments, she was relatively asymptomatic, able to travel abroad, ski and essentially, resume a normal lifestyle.

This issue focuses on our major concern: when were insurance companies licensed to practice medicine and overrule the medical decisions of the competent, licensed physician? What gives them the right to decide what types of treatment are approved, effective or appropriate and how do they obtain that right? The answer – this status appears to be silently conferred by political regulatory bodies influenced by the campaign contributions channeled to their subsidiaries. In essence, it is self-licensing by the insurance companies and until this practice ceases – meaning never, under current standards, it will continue unabated. Solution – collaboration by the public sector and the medical profession to recognize and understand the problem and initiate war on these nefarious practices in a unified manner. As each day passes, more and more patients – particularly now when many individuals have lost their jobs, have run out of savings and lost their investments, directly or indirectly as the result of criminal activities of the financial sector – really require insurance coverage. Collective efforts must be initiated to force insurance companies to cover the medical expenses for which they have contracted and deny their right to make arbitrary decisions, particularly those contrary to the opinions of independent medical professionals.

Wound Healing

04/13/09

Revised: April 6, 2009 @ 5:45pm

Oxygen & the Hyperbaric Chamber

In the past, I have always attempted to combine Laser Therapy in wound healing with the Hyperbaric Chamber when available, which is not as often as would be ideal. Along with Laser Therapy, patients under optimal conditions are subjected to a series of Hyperbaric Chamber treatments which expedite the healing of wounds. In addition, the therapy is frequently utilized with great benefit, not only for diabetic-related ulcers but in the promotion of post-surgical healing and situations of major trauma, including concussions. Positive results are frequently immediate. Whereas wide application is currently not feasible for economic reasons, the role of this therapy should definitely be expanded. Raising the awareness of healthcare professionals and the public in general will be necessary to achieve this objective.

Oxygen is a vital ingredient necessary to sustain life. When tissue oxygen perfusion is diminished, as occurs in the depletion of oxygen in the environment, respiratory dysfunction, congestive failure or a plethora of other causes, an oxygen deficiency develops and as a result, the body becomes vulnerable to disease. Many bacteria, viruses and other pathogens seek out this type of environment as they thrive best under these conditions (oxygen deprivation of tissues).

The father of pathology, Dr. Rudolf Virchow, was once quoted as stating, “that if you deprive a cell of 35% of its required level of oxygen for over 48 hours, the cell is likely to become victim of a pathological process or become non-viable”.

The Hyperbaric Chamber exposes the body to pure oxygen. These systems have been in existence in some form or other for over sixty years. Only recently, however, has medical science recognized the importance of their utilization in healthcare. Whereas much research is still required, it has become evident that the Hyperbaric Chamber delivering 100% oxygen at up to 2.8 times atmospheric pressure, restores high-level oxygen perfusion of tissue, to levels of 2,000% saturation. This treatment is indicated for many disease processes, such as anaerobic infections, wound healing, respiratory and neurological diseases and can play a vital role in restoring tissue health.

At Meditech, where we have a particular interest in wound healing, we have always been of the opinion that combining Laser Therapy with the Hyperbaric Chamber would enable us to heal all wounds, in a relatively short period of time. Currently, we are in negotiations to initiate the establishment of a clinic combining these treatments in order to make this a reality and undoubtedly establish the “gold standard” for the management of wounds worldwide.

A Meditech User’s Report

04/6/09

March 20, 2009

On a recent Saturday morning, the clinic had a visit from Darlene Corkett, the proprietor of the Waldencroft Clinic in Barrie. Darlene purchased her first BioFlex System in May 2006 and a second unit, one month later. Over the past three years, she has developed an extensive practice in which she works on a full-time basis.
In conversing with Darlene, I was impressed with her skills in assessing patients and applying proper treatment. As we often say at Meditech, “she really gets it!”
On the occasion of that visit, I was so intrigued by her comments that I asked her to write an article about her experiences and the nature of her practice.
Her unedited article is being published in the Laser Report to serve as a “beacon” for other BioFlex users and to illustrate the benefits her efforts bring to the community.

My introduction to the Meditech laser machine was actually through my mother, who lives in the Maritimes. She had just finished reading an article about LILT by Dr. Gifford-Jones and she wanted to know if laser would be something she would benefit from. Her doctor was suggesting a total hip replacement due to a thyroid medication induced osteoporosis. I promised I would look into it.

After touring Meditech’s clinic on Horner Avenue, I met with Dr. Fred Kahn and was immediately impressed with what I saw and heard about LILT.

I purchased my first machine in May 2006 and my second machine one month later. It wasn’t long before I was very busy with the large number of senior clientele I was treating with Shiatsu and Acupuncture. I started by asking my patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis if I could treat their conditions with laser. Many, many treatments later with a tremendous amount of great feedback from my clients I felt I was just beginning to know how to customize the machines.

Each patient has their own unique set of problems, and history. Listening to their complaints and symptoms gives me a better idea as to how I can set up the protocols to suit their needs. Listening is the key!

My background as a Certified Shiatsu Therapist and Acupuncturist helps me to evaluate and zero in on their chief complaint. Combining my skills as a therapist with the sheer love I have of the study of the human body and pathologies, I was becoming more and more comfortable with “tweaking” the protocols.

The senior patients who come to my clinic are extremely active and get quite annoyed when they are unable to carry out the activities they had previously been enjoying because of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. They also want to get in and out of treatment as quickly as possible.

I explain to them that the protocol for a specific pathology usually requires a certain number of treatments, and since everyone reacts differently to laser, I reassess them at each visit.

Using “Paula”, my life size skeleton, and charts, I also explain the results of their MRIs, x-rays and CT scans in as much detail as possible. This helps them visualize the problem, and gives them some responsibility for healing themselves. I have found that the more a patient knows about their body the greater their empowerment. It also engages them as very compliant clients. Although I could not prevent my mother’s hip replacements, she did come and visit for a while and had post-operative treatments. She is now back to walking and snowshoeing and remains pain free.

Case Study:

Madeline B., age 72, presented with symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in her knees, hands and feet and shoulders.

She was diagnosed with these conditions in 1967 at age 31. For 26 years she had Gold shots. Arthroscopic surgery was done on both knees in 1989. She was taking Methotrexate for 15 years and is presently on a new drug, Arava. As of 2 years ago, she is no longer taking Methotrexate. She is also a controlled diabetic on Metformin. She finds that heat helps to reduce pain.

When Madeline came to the clinic in August 2006 she was in severe pain. Her knees, hands, shoulder joints and feet were all red and swollen. She had been scheduled many times for bilateral knee replacements but was unable to get the surgery done due to low platelet count. (Methotrexate shuts down the immune system.) Because of the severity and the large area of pain, I decided to customize the rheumatoid arthritis protocol to treat the knees first. The results in the next ten days were remarkable with a significant decrease of pain and a decrease in heat and redness in the knees. Her gait, which had been greatly affected by her pain, normalized. She was able to walk much better, with greater stability, and most importantly, she started to sleep again.

Madeline still suffered from the pain of rheumatoid arthritis in her hands, shoulders and feet so I changed the protocol once again to treat the spine.

The results of this treatment were amazing! Ten treatments later, her whole body responded to the treatments. For the first time in several years, she was able to climb the stairs to the arena to watch her grandson play hockey! She now comes in for one treatment every month. This is enough to keep the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis under control.

Her community activities have increased, and she and her friends and family feel that she hasn’t been this terrific in many years.

The majority of my clients are seniors with degenerative diseases, and even though it is sometimes difficult to treat people with such debilitating problems, it is very satisfying and exciting to see what can be done with LILT. Having treated many people like Madeline, I feel that laser therapy is nothing short of miraculous!

Darlene Corkett CST, D.Ac
Waldencroft Shiatsu Clinic
Laser Therapy