Dr. Andrew Weil, Alternative Medicine Guru, Will Ask County to Cover Costs of Workers Who Visit Pseudo-Scientific Health Center

weil andrew im center shot.JPG
Image: Center for Integrative Medicine
Harry Potter's grandpa? No, Dr. Andrew Weil, guru of alternative medicine.

Dr. Andrew Weil, alternative medicine guru, will ask the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to cover employees who choose to visit his pseudo-scientific health center.

Weil is the founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, and has helped establish medical residency programs in some U.S. hospitals. He's been at the center of several controversies due to his promotion of pseudo-scientific medical ideas and drugs like Ecstasy. He's also the guy who supposedly once snitched on LSD-using legend Timothy Leary.

On Monday, Weil is scheduled to pitch the Supervisors on the "opportunity to enter into an agreement to establish a health center in Phoenix that offers world class integrative health care treatments," according to a news release.


Integrative medicine is a fancy term for health care that incorporates non-traditional, scientifically unproven (or even debunked) treatments like herbal remedies and acupuncture.

County spokeswoman Terri Mulholland tells us that Weil won't be asking the county for any money. She sent us an excerpt for the Board's agenda, which shows that the plan does indeed involve money -- though the costs are hidden.

Weil wants the county to add his center to the list of approved providers for the county's employee health-benefits plan. That way, county employees and their dependents could more easily take advantage of the center's treatments. The county would benefit by access to health data (minus the patient identifiers) for a three-year study of integrative medicine.

The best part about this deal for Weil and his center, as far as we can tell, is that he risks nothing. The county benefits plan, meanwhile, is betting that the integrative medicine treatments are worth the money and will have to pay either way.

UPDATE: The county approves Weil's plan.



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28 comments
James Chong
James Chong

 

E²Acupuncture Science Since 2600BC

Anyskeletal muscle pain can be easily cured by Tradition Chinese Medicine (TCM)Acupuncture.

 

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“Anacupuncture is bad science”. not much can be expected  in 4,610 years ago,science not even exist. Good science & Resources only available from 1850ADsuch great scientists:   Heinrich Hertz(1887) & Albert Einstein (1905).

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Only 1 EEAcupuncture treatment on 30th/10/2011 and continue her normal work.

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Ray Stern
Ray Stern

What a ridiculous diatribe, ExpertShotty. You must not understand the definition of pseudo-science. Acupuncture, for example, isn't scientifically proven despite some studies that show it may have benefits (one of those studies intentionally did not insert needles into traditional acupuncture points and benefits were still noted). By the way, being skeptical of "alternative" medicine does not imply total faith in everything done by Western medicine -- duh.

Below is an excerpt from Dr. Weil's acupuncture summary. It's no sin to be skeptical of something that claims to heal just about anything based on the vague concept of a "balance of energy:"

What is acupuncture used for?Because the goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy, which flows throughout the body, it can be used for a wide variety of conditions, from emotional disorders (anxiety, depression) to digestive complaints (nausea, vomiting, irritable bowel syndrome). It can be beneficial for pain syndromes due to an injury or associated with chronic degenerative diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be helpful in treating neurological problems like migraines or Parkinson's disease, or as a rehabilitation strategy for individuals who suffered a stroke. Respiratory conditions, including sinusitis and asthma have been relieved with acupuncture, as have many gynecologic disorders and infertility. Acupuncture has also proved beneficial for reducing fatigue and addictions, and for promoting overall well-being.Studies in the U.S. indicate that acupuncture can help relieve chronic low back pain, dental pain, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and symptoms of osteoarthritis. It has been shown to assist in the treatment of emotional pain syndromes such as post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as controlling chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It has also demonstrated clinical success in achieving pregnancy when used in conjunction with in-vitro fertilization.

PTCGAZ
PTCGAZ

TBH I think that some people who use "alternative" methods for treatment of illnesses are nuts, but some things work. There are many plants most of them legal, some illegal to grow that can give people relief of many different problems. Acupuncture has helped some people I know, whether it's it effective or like a placebo is anyone's guess.

I do not know whether that is a good thing or not, but I do know that I don't live in MC so if it raises your taxes or something I really don't care.

Wendy Terry
Wendy Terry

What are you, a lapdog for Big Pharma? Here's a clue: if the FDA calls it medicine, it's probably dangerous, and if it's found in nature, it's probably safe and effective.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

1. ". . . pseudo-scientific . . ."?  Did you travel to his clinic to observe first hand the science or lack thereof to make this statement?   You have made criticism of other journalists for not doing their  homework - did you do yours?2. "promotion of pseudo-scientific medical ideas and drugs like Ecstasy"?  Where did you get this information about Dr. Weil promoting false scientific medical ideas.  Did you know that Ecstasy was a well studied substance.  In fact, Clinical trials are now testing the therapeutic potential of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety associated with terminal cancer.[3][4] (from Wikipedia)  3.  Over 20,000 years of human evolution and information resulting from our use of natural plants and other substances and you're going to go with a 50 year old industry (Big Pharma) which has nothing to lose in criticizing natural health advocates and everything to gain.  4.  Dr. Oz, a well-respected Doctor who plays a Doctor on TV, has many good things to say about herbs and alternate medicines, including Omega 3s.  He suggested using Krill oil to supplement your diet and cited studies which show a direct link in reduction of serum cholestrol. 

Dr. Weil is just passing on information from the wisdom of the species.  We knew hibiscus flowers lowered blood pressure before it was confirmed in studies.  We knew that White WIllow bark taken each day helps to cope with heart problems, before it was confirmed in studies that Aspirin does that too (WWB is what Aspirin is derived from).  There are thousands of alternative medicine practices that have been confirmed by "science."  Most of these outcomes have been known to people of this Earth for over 6000 years. 

The State of Arizona licenses naturopathic and other alt healing doctors and professionals, why not include them in the State Health system so that the poor can get the treatments that the wealthy are already getting.

What's the dif to you anyway?  You own stock in Bayer?

BTW - You might consider traveling abroad.  I understand that China, Britain and Japan (as well as many other countries) allow payments to insureds for alternative medical treatments.  In fact, perhaps the US is the ONLY country that doesn't include alternative medical treatments in the payments insurance companies pay out for.  It's because BIG PHARMA controls the medical industry in this country - why do you think that there's such a pushback against "OBama care" when it's a boon to the 99% and a bust for Big Pharma?

One last question, do you consider yourself a journalist and is your role in writing this article as one?  If so, you FAIL.  Why are you such a tool?

Mistalee
Mistalee

Many insurance plans already cover acupuncture, which if nothing else has been demonstrated to be an analgesic and which was the inspiration for the TENS unit.  Much of our medical formulary is made up of synthetic variants and derivatives of plants which are used as herbal medicines. Aspirin, for example. This article seems to be more random shit-flinging than anything else.

restitutiontouscitizensfirst
restitutiontouscitizensfirst

Some truth there but I am finding that among the diseases that both animals and humans get, the veterinarians understand relationships and follow-up conditions and also treat them whereas human doctors are simply not allowed to acknowledge even if they do know.  In some cases the only treatments remaining are alt/care treatments - western medicine physicians have a limited tool kit.  Points again to the criminality of our current healthcare set-up.

A national data base that would allow some of these correlations to be made definitively and would be an exceptional research tool.  It could also enable western med doctors to help patients find relief or cures if alt med was included in that data base.  This would be an expensive effort but well worth it if the monied interests would not corrupt.  Is our goal to actually help patients to get well or is it to support the medical industry bottom line?  I sense that many western med doctors know the end is coming for the status quo - too many patients harmed, overlooked, left ill.  

It is also clear that US patients pay high costs for Rx, subsidizing the low costs for those exact same Rx in the rest of the world that has them.  Our government has shown no interest in lowering those costs for citizens/taxpayers, too many of them have invested in those firms and like their returns.  I am NOT encouraging same investment in alt care remedies and treatments.  OCCUPY THAT!

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

I see you take the stance for western medicine and anything that is not under the thumb of the AMA is supposedly untested or has been debunked.   Those would be called lies if this article was anything other than your opinion.   But let's be honest about this opinion thing you've attempted to instill in the reader's minds.  Writers for NewTimes write under the guise of it being a newspaper.  Most people still believe that newspapers print the news which is supposed to factual.   That has never been true and never will be.  A newspaper is like a magazine and they are published in order to make money and not to publish facts.  This entire article is filled with inuendo, assumption, false statements and is backed by a mainstream western medicine, corporate driven agenda.   You can't even write using proper grammar and correct spelling.   Do you people have an editor and if so, what do they do?

mirele
mirele

I think Weil, et.al., should have to prove the efficacy of the treatments first, then ask for the county to approve his center as a provider. I don't want the county insurance to end up in the position where a covered person goes to one of these woomeisters first, pursues a treatment plan that isn't worth the paper it's written on, and it costs more when the covered person finally goes for ebil allopathic treatment that has proof it works.

Leeman Taylor
Leeman Taylor

I really hope this new alternative medicine works out and that Dr. Weil can create a medication that's natural and safe.

belly fat

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Guess what Ray, I read the article you referred me to and YUP, the above items are listed as conditions that acupuncture actually does treat - as proven by the latest scientific studies.  You're refusal to accept that acupuncture actually works is pretty hard-headed I have to say.  You must be a republicant because you obviously can't bring yourself to engage in actual thought that is in opposition to your staid beliefs.  It's okay - I know it hurts you to actually think, so, please - don't.  Go back to your cut and paste articles and parrot the conservative line and we'll go back to healing people with effective treatments and saving a WHOLE lot at the same time.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

MANY techniques and substances are used regularly by conventional U.S. medical personnel every day that are not "scientifically proven."  What's your point?  My point is that you are a DOUCHEBAG TOOL FOR BIG PHARMA for spouting false information about acupuncture and Dr. Weil (E.G. presenting Dr. Knopes' false statements and intimating that the study might cost the County of Maricopa money - when the opposite was clear).  I have detailed those false statements, and used the web pages YOU cited, to prove to you that acupuncture is an accepted medical procedure used by conventional medical personnel every day.  Why you haven't gone after conventional medicine for using all the medicines and procedures they use that are not "scientifically proven."  Because you are a DOUCHE BAG TOOL FOR BIG PHARMA.  My father is a doctor and he used placebo medicine all the time, WHY?  Because it worked.  Acupuncture and many other alternative medical substances and procedures work also and we should be studying them. 

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Accupuncture IS scientifically proven to work - as much as a conventional medicine treatment called TENS is proven to work and is routinely prescribed by MDs as a matter of course in the treatment of pain.

You cited this article to me:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...

Maybe you ought to read it.  It conclusively says that acupuncture is "effective for postoperative dental pain, postoperative nausea and vomiting, and chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. For migraine, low back pain, and temporomandibular disorders the results are considered positive by some and difficult to interpret by others. For a number of conditions such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis of the knee, and tennis elbow the evidence is considered promising, but more and better quality research is needed."

In your article here you make a big deal about the County  paying for the alternative treatments as a result of the decision of the Board, yet in a later article, you admit that the County's health care ALREADY pays for alternative health treatments - including acupuncture. 

Ray, the only scientific conclusion I can come to is that you are a douche bag of the highest order and you should stop being an unwitting (or witting) tool of BIG PHARMA.   

Restitutiontouscitizensfirst
Restitutiontouscitizensfirst

Some of these "poor" own lucrative business's in other nations and somehow end up on AHCCCS here.  If they were receiving alt treatments prior to being enrolled on AHCCCS I believe there is a law regarding continuity of care to where they continue to get things like accupuncture that poor AHCCCS patients will never have a chance at.  So the class warfare continues even on the taxpayer dime.

Norma
Norma

There are books and more books on the subject of Wholeistic care. Start reading and good luck.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

Here's where I agree with you Walter - thank you for you opinion in the above post.  I'm thinking that there is an analogy to religion here.  If a person shares their faith with me and there's no hitch (e.g., a request for money), I'm gonna think he or she is sincere. 

If, however, I hear a person sharing his or her opinion on some made up make-believe shit about some space alien coming down to this one planet out of the entire universe (or multi-verses if you believe that sort of thing) and creating a whole ecosystem there (including solid faking evidence of 200 million years of evolution!) and THEN asking for money - I'm going to say to that person "I gave at the office" and walk away quickly. 

Same with "news".  I studied journalism in college (ASU) in a couple of classes while getting my business degree there.  I worked for The Current and had a number of articles published (Ray, for your information, the Current was the "newspaper of record" in Arizona to the progressive movements here for many years during the 1980s and 1990s).  The current did not ask for money beyond it's operating costs.  It was not in the business of making money, nor were any of its reporters.  I believed most of what I heard there.  I also KNEW what was printed there was factual, because I was living it at the time.  Anti-nuclear power and weapons info, anti-war info, anti-imperialism info, anti-pollution info - In other words, things we could use as people trying to make a difference in our communities. 

New Times seems to have forgotten that it was once that sort of newspaper.  Now it's just a cynical lazy old man that hires cynical lazy young men and women (or pays them to be cynical - they're lazy on their own) and apparently can't afford a decent editor who can't be bother to fact check and grammer check the articles submitted by its writers.  It's a shame. 

Stephen Colbert's and Jon Daily's writing staff, is an example of good cynical journalism.  Well presented in a way that is genuine.  When they ask for money (advertising) it's clear what's being asked for (we see it).  I'm not interested in that here.  If it appears in "Valley News - 1000 mg of News"  I want to read NEWS, not opinion - and CERTAINLY NOT MISINFORMED OPINION as was the case in this article. 

There are at least 12 other articles presented in past New Times issues by other writers, praising Dr. Weil and his approach to health.  However, I knew those were puff pieces by the hacks at New Times wanting to help (or get) ad revenue from sales of space to Dr. Weil for his books and products.  While I agreed with most of them (Jennifer Woods is GREAT by the way), I knew they were opinion because they didn't appears under "Valley News".

This is a sincere request from a sole reader to the editor of Phoenix New Times.  When presented "news" in the Valley News section, please edit out comments which show the opinion of the writers.  If a writer wants to report on the opinion of another person, factually, in conjunction with a story, I wouldn't mind so much.  I would know it's an opinion because it would start out something like this "In the opinion of so and so. . . ."

Please, editor - if you must hire corporatist lackeys, at least exercise your discretion and stop your news writers from injecting his or her mis-informed opinions in the "news." 

Restitutiontouscitizensfirst
Restitutiontouscitizensfirst

Yes, when ARG offers you a week's delivered subscription for $1.66 you really have to wonder.  I am critical of PNT but they do have some redeeming qualities.  Some on-line media look to be having Chinese computers writing their text - PNT isn't nearly that bad at all.

Ray Stern
Ray Stern

Walter, you're absolutely right -- there was a typo in the article. I fixed it.

I also changed "scientifically untested" to "scientifically unproven," for clarity's sake.

Ray

Wendy Terry
Wendy Terry

I think people should mind their own business and realize that people have the right to their own bodies. 

charlie_oscar
charlie_oscar

This type of medicine has been around for 6,000 years...Weil need not prove anything.

Restitutiontouscitizensfirst
Restitutiontouscitizensfirst

That is the point.  Big Pharma cannot patent and control the results so no funding for testing is allotted so he would have to finance the efficacy testing himself - nobody who has that amount of money can see a financial return on such investment so it never happens.   Circular mess and Occupy issue.  I agree with you that there needs to be serious oversight and co-ordination.   The world of alternate medicine is filled with quacks eager to separate you from your money and patients have no way to know who is a quack and who is legit.

Lot's of people could get well if only they could get co-ordination of care and truth in medicine.  I hope Dr Weil is successful but part of me gets angry because after paying my huge monthly insurance premium I no longer have enough funds left to seek that type  care for myself, even though multiple "western medicine" specialists have been advising me for years that is the route I need to go. 

The question is, are we going to pay for people to get well?  Or are we merely going to continue to profit off their disease and let them remain ill?  County or private pay - my doctors get paid for doing absolutely nothing, exhibiting no scientific inquiring mind, helping me not one iota, but they still get paid because I keep trying to get well so I keep going to them because it is the only option I have. 

When the "approved" docs keep telling you to seek alt care it is an open admission, imho, that the insurance company has shackles on them.  Their days are numbered too.

Steve Muratore
Steve Muratore

The story still doesn't even come close to fairly characterizing the concept of integrative medicine.

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