Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
Thursday May 12, 2011
I’m back in Wisconsin again, for good reason. The quackbuster cancer has come back. We didn’t get it all.
In Wisconsin, we tried surgery. The Department of Regulation & Licensing (DRL) Secretary, Donsia Strong Hill had, previously, told the whole State; legislators, media, the Health Freedom Movement, and the public-at-large that “Alternative medicine was NOT going to be singled out, in Wisconsin.” With the settlement of the Kadile case, the dropping of the Waters case, the cessation of action against NAET, and a few other cases disappearing, we were lulled into comfort and security.
We thought the cancer was gone. It has begun all over again. The "quackbusters," we know, are a subversive organization formed, and funded by twenty-six drug companies, after the American Medical Association (AMA) was ordered by the Federal Court to cease its covert operation against the Chiropractic profession. Their job is to harass market competitors to the drug treatment paradigm. I believe they are run out of a New York ad agency.
Three things are going on that changed our thinking in Wisconsin, and convinced us that something was still very much awry. They are:
(1) DRL prosecutor Arthur Thexton, although supposedly curbed after the Kadile fiasco, continued to prosecute the Suster case – and THAT case is four times as bad as Kadile’s. Even though the Suster case been through the Administrative Hearing Stage, Thexton, apparently, spends most of his work hours at DRL on the phone with attorneys and former patients, trying to further damage Suster. It appears that Thexton has NO OTHER assignments other than to “Get Suster.” The abuse of State power is incredible., and it shows that Strong Hill’s management has had no real affect on Thexton – he does whatever he wants to do, whenever he wants to do it. He has NO supervision – at all.
(2) DRL prosecutor Polewski NEVER was reigned in in any way that we can see. He’s currently prosecuting two cutting-edge Dentists, a Chiropractor, and is getting ready to go after a third Dentist. He targets health practitioners for prosecution ONLY based on quackbuster guidelines. If quackpot Barrett is against something on his weird website, Polewski is there to prosecute. Period. He has NO DRL RULES to follow.
(3) Our investigations have turned up the fact that neither Thexton nor Polewski have prosecuted ANY health professionals other than “alternative” since the beginning of time… They both devote ALL of their working hours to the quackbuster mission – to the exclusion of ANY other activity. DRL has had to add on a third health prosecutor just to handle regular conventional practitioner problems. Strong Hill has absolutely NO CONTROL over the cases Thexton and Polewski go out and find, and assign to themselves. They were, and are, completely autonomous.
A group of cutting-edge health professionals in the State, suspecting the above problems, arranged a joint meeting of the Senate, and Assembly Health Sub-committee Chairs, plus the Legislative Counsel. They detailed their concerns to this group, and as a result, a letter was written over the signature of three Senators, and one Assemblyman, asking DRL Secretary Donsia Strong Hill to answer their concerns about the above situations. Strong Hill answered almost immediately with a STRONG denial that Alternative practitioners were being singled out, and gave an explanation of how, and why, DRL did things.
In Strong Hill’s response letter, she outlined DRL policy, and the steps that are supposedly taken in an investigation/prosecution situation. It sounded good. It would have been even better if the policies and procedures she outlined, were, or had ever been, actually used. They are not, and never have been, the ACTUAL way cases are handled.
Which Brings On the Questions…
Is Strong Hill telling the truth about WHAT SHE THINKS is DRL policy and is she is being DUPED by her employees? Or is Strong Hill telling a lie to, hopefully, cover up bad management?
Considering that the “Policies” she laid out are so blatantly NOT THE REAL policies, and there are NO examples of those policies she described EVER being used in health cases in Wisconsin, there are, really, only the two above choices. So which is it?
Reality Can Bite a Secretary…
Strong Hill, in her response letter, said, for example “Currently, complaints are initially screened by a panel made up by three Board members and a Division of Enforcement attorney to determine if investigation is warranted.” Over the last several months in Wisconsin, we’ve had EVERY ONE of the so-called “completed cases” practitioners go to DRL and get a copy of their case record. Not one of those files shows that this so-called “screening panel” ever meets, or exists at all…
Amusing, was the statement “Members of the Enforcement Staff work in conjunction with the (case) advisor in conducting the investigation.” With only one exception we found that this is blatantly NOT TRUE. There are no records in any of the files we’ve looked at – and we looked at most – of involvement of any so-called “case advisor.” In that one exception the so-called “case advisor” is a geographical competitor for that health professional’s patients – and aggressively solicits those patients – his case advisor-ship is an act of self-serving conflict of interest.
More amusing, in a dark-humor sort of way is the statement “If the results of the investigation present probable cause to believe that a practitioner has engaged in unprofessional conduct of a nature that warrants imposition of discipline, informal settlement of the case is generally attempted.”
Nonsense…. In the Kadile case, Thexton’s settlement offer was “If you shut down your office, and turn in you medical license, I won’t prosecute your wife…” Polewski, each and every time he walks into an Alternative practitioner’s life starts with “I’m going to take your license away from you.” He does this every time – no exceptions.
The Cutting-Edge Health Professionals Responded…
In an even newer letter signed by THIRTEEN irate cutting-edge Wisconsin health professionals, responding to Strong Hill’s policy claims, is the following. “ In the interest of fairness, balance and completeness and because we strongly disagree that the department acts in the ways described in Ms. Strong Hills’s response, we believe a reply is necessary. We have all been subjected to Disciplinary actions by the Department of Regulation & Licensing for practices which may be considered alternative medical practices.”
The letter goes on “In summary, the major differences in our experiences of the disciplinary process as compared to the descriptions in Ms. Strong hill’s letter are as follows:
1. Rarely is an informal settlement attempted or offered prior to the actual filing of a formal complaint.
2. The actual “expert” witnesses hired by the State have little or no training in or understanding of the ‘alternative practice’ they testify to. The actual practice is: the State hires an ‘expert’ with little or no training in the practice in question. That ‘expert’ states that the practice (itself) is ‘unprofessional conduct’ or that it ’constitutes a danger to the health and welfare of the patient or the public’ and that statement becomes the basis for the filing of a complaint against the health care professional. The fact that the procedure is not used in mainstream medicine is used as the basis for claiming that the procedure is dangerous or unprofessional. In many of the actual cases, the basis for a complaint against the practitioner is a letter from an insurance company and not a complaint from a patient. When the accused practitioner provides medical literature, professional guidelines, court rulings and medical expert testimony by practitioners actually using the practice in question, the prosecutor and the Board ignore or reject them.
The health practitioner’s response letter is five pages long, and every page contests Strong Hill’s claims.
We’re going in With Chemo and Radiation Next…
Everybody knows how rough chemotherapy and radiation treatments can be on a patient. The survival rate is practically nil. But if that’s what it takes to get rid of the quackbuster cancer at DRL, then that’s what we’re going to have to do…
(1) The Wisconsin legislature re-convenes in January. It’s time for some hearings on the “state of health care” in Wisconsin. We’re organizing the way to get them, by just picking up our original war plan right where we left off. We outnumber the quackbusters 100,000 to 1.
(2) Donsia Strong Hill is the only Doyle appointee NOT YET CONFIRMED by the Legislature for her position. We need to make this situation an issue at that confirmation hearing.
(3) But first, and foremost comes the letter writing campaign. That’s now beginning. There are patient support groups all over the State who can write, call, and button-hole-on-the-street their individual Legislators. We’re getting the packets together right now. Those packets will have a complete program explaining the situation, and asking their Legislator to do four specific things. Judging from the responses I’ve already had from individual legislators ALREADY involved, I see only success at the end of our quest.
The State of Wisconsin belongs to the people of Wisconsin, not the drug lords of Big Pharma.
Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate