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The Integrator Blog. News, Reports and Networking for the Business, Education, Policy and Practice of Integrative Medicine, CAM and Integrated Health Care. - Your Comments: WA State's Denial of CTCA Hospital a "Travesty" and a Study in Integration Models
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Your Comments: WA State's Denial of CTCA Hospital a "Travesty" and a Study in Integration Models PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Your Comments: WA State's Denial of CTCA Hospital a "Travesty" and a "Showcase" on Variances in Integration Models

Summary: Washington state's block of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) effort to build an inpatient hospital is viewed as a "travesty" by integrative medicine leader Sheila Quinn. Quinn describes her tour of a CTCA facility, and a non-integrated hospital experience she had with one of the CTCA competitors ... Oregon leader in naturopathic medicine Noel Peterson, ND, wonders whether "integration light" isn't like "BP and Exxon-Mobil marketing themselves as 'green corporations'" ... Naturopathic student researcher Vanessa Esteves notes how the diverse integration strategies described in the Integrator article "make it difficult for "true integration models to stand out in the crowd." Holistic medicine veteran Bill Manahan, MD, views the Washington action against CTCA as an act of the medical monopoly. All were written in response to Will "Integration Light" by Competing Hospitals Kill CTCA's Plans for an Inpatient Facility?
Send your comments to
for publication in a future Your Comments article.

The Integrator article on the denial by the State of Washington of the effort of Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) to build a hospital provoked strong response (Will "Integration Light" by Competing Hospitals Kill CTCA's Plans for an Inpatient Facility? December 2006). A focus is on how corporate marketing of "integration" may be successful in confusing the consumer. Where is Consumer Reports when we need them?

1.   Is "integration light" akin to Exxon-Mobil calling itself "green"?

Noel Peterson, ND
Noel Peterson, ND
, is a clinician who has served in numerous leadership capacities with the naturopathic medical profession in Oregon, including a term on the State of Oregon Board of Naturopathic Examiners.
"Yes, CON's denial is unfair protectionism, pure and simple. For Swedish, MultiCare, and Evergreen hospitals, talk is cheap. Worse, it is a misleading con job on vulnerable patients who are truly looking for alternatives to the medical-industrial cancer complex.

"It reminds me of  B-P and Exxon-Mobile marketing themselves as 'green'
corporations. Thanks for bringing this CON to light."*

Noel Peterson N.D.
Clackamas, Oregon
Note: CON is the acronym for the Certificate of Need CTCA will need tp build its facility.

2.   State's denial of CTCA "a travesty" - What can be done to fight the decision?

Integrator advisor Sheila Quinn
responded to the article as both a consumer of hospital services and as a professional who has toured a CTCA facility. Quinn is senior editor and handles special projects with Institute for Functional Medicine and chairs the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium.

"First, thank you so much for this detailed, informative article on CTCA’s Certificate of Need process.

"Second, please consider providing an edited version of the article, plus attachments of any responses you get, to both DOH and CTCA—perhaps there is an appeals process that could be invoked based on this compelling evidence of the superficiality (in fact, the sheer inaccuracy) of their investigation. If there’s no established mechanism, however, then please consider asking one of the major local newspapers to run your article and the responses you get. We need to bring some attention to this travesty! 

"Third, my opinions. A few years ago, I would have had little personal knowledge of hospital procedures and services anywhere. However, in 2001 I experienced a medical error-induced near-death experience that resulted in my spending 3 weeks in a MultiCare hospital in Tacoma. I know a lot more now. I know, for example, that herbs and homeopathics brought to me by my personal naturopathic physician were not permitted to be administered to me. I know that the
Sheila Quinn
  'mind-body' services offered were limited to some tapes in the pastoral counselor’s office that, during my time there, did not have a working tape recorder to play them on. I know that the food choices were dreadful, that neither massage nor acupuncture was available, and that no services at all were offered for the 20 pounds of fluid that had accumulated in my legs—not even compression stockings. I also know that the conventional care I received, after the original errors that left me in a coma, was outstanding, but that is not 'comprehensive care' as I would define it.

"I have visited the CTCA hospital in Zion, Illinois. It is a remarkable place – receiving on one of its accreditation reviews a score of 96 out of 100 (almost unheard of). All the services mentioned in your article were not only available, but were fully integrated into each patient’s care plan. The full team of providers met regularly to discuss each patient’s care plan and progress.

"I, too, would like to have this kind of cancer care available in the Puget Sound area, and there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind that what we have here today, with the many conventional hospital services offering cancer care, bears only a slight resemblance to the CTCA model. I hope there is something we can do to right this wrong and re-open the CON process. I would be happy to testify!

"My disclosures: As a founder and former vice president of Bastyr University, a former executive director of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, and currently senior editor at the Institute for Functional Medicine, I have devoted nearly 30 years of my life to bringing credible, science-based natural medicine to our healthcare system. Naturopathic medicine has been my primary health care for 28 years. I have no current connections with CTCA, but did work with them in the mid to late 1990s when they became a corporate sponsor of the AANP." (Bold added)

Sheila Quinn
Gig Harbor, WA


3.   Report showcases how variances in "integrative" confuse the public

Vanessa Estevez, naturopathic student and researcher
Vanessa Esteves, BSc,
is a naturopathic medical student at National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon, who has a research interest in the models of integration in our hopsitals and conventional academic health centers.
"Just finished reading the 'Integration Light' story in the Integrator and truly enjoyed it!  This is such a huge issue that I have been struggling with for quite some time as a naturopathic medical student.  It is the focus of some of my research to qualitatively give an analysis of the Integrative Centers that are across America, targeted specifically at the members of the IM consortium. 

"The word ‘Integrative’ is as overused as the word ‘Organic’ and the public is seriously confused from what I have gathered from my patients and consumers.  The lack of consistency within the integrative/CAM field of medicine has made it difficult for “true” collaborative medical practices to stand out in the crowd, and it is that ‘trueness’ that we still have yet to define.
(Bold added)

"Thank you for putting together a great compilation of examples in this article that showcases the variance of ‘Integration’ that is occurring in some of these establishments."

Veronica Esteves, ND student
National College of Natural Medicine
Portland, Oregon

4.   The DOH Denial Was the Medical Monopoly at Work

Integrator advisor Bill Manahan, MD told me he'd written something in response to the CTCA article but that it got lost in the ethers. So I asked Manahan, a co-founder of the American Board of Holistic Medicine and past persident of the American Holistic Medical Association, to reconstruct it. He did.
"Thanks, John, for your discerning piece of writing regarding the CTCA and their inability to get approval from the health authorities in the state of Washington.  You have a wonderful ability to ferret out the truth from what appear to be routine and innocuous events (such as CTCA not being given approval for a truly integrative hospital to treat oncology patients).

"In 1994, Jeff Bauer wrote an excellent book called Not What the Doctor Ordered: Reinventing Medical Care in America.  He wrote a revised edition in 1998 called Not What the Doctor Ordered: How to End the Medical Monopoly in Pursuit of Managed Care. They were both excellent books with a profound message for America's health care system. Unfortunately, we were not ready to listen then and we are still not ready to listen now.
Bill Manahan, MD
"Bauer's message was that the delivery of medical care must be removed from the single-handed control of medical doctors. It is purely and simply a monopoly that has excluded multiple other types of practitioners for the past century, and this monopoly has ultimately caused serious problems regarding our health care and what it could potentially be.  A number of countries have built their national health systems over the past fifty years according to social and political imperatives - not on doctor's orders.  And those countries tend to have remarkably better health and medical care than does the U.S.  I believe that we now rank about 16th in the world in statistical analysis regarding quality of health care.

"So what you put your finger on in the CTCA article is a good example of what Bauer discussed in his book.  Your Washington Department of Health (DOH) came to the conclusion that many hospitals in the state of Washington are offering integrative therapies and doing the same things that CTCA would be doing in their hospital. That is just plain false information, John, and you proved it by actually going to the other hospitals and discovering how much integrative medicine they are really doing (which is very little, of course).

"But in a monopoly, the truth often has little to do with what is said or what is done by those in power.  And that is what occurred in your state.  Your DOH is basically acting as a spokesperson for the AMA and saying that CTCA has nothing new to offer its patients.  The AMA has issued similar statements for the past thirty to fifty years regarding complementary and alternative modalities and natural healing practitioners.  Think how insane it is, John, that naturopaths are licensed in only 15 states.  The AMA is committing malpractice every day that they do not allow licensed and qualified natural healers to be helping us take care of patients with problems.

"So the Washington DOH is continuing to prop up the medical monopoly that ultimately gives power to only the medical establishment - physicians, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical device companies.  Saying this, of course, does not mean that this present system does no good.  These four powerful entities do tremendous good.  But they could do so much more good if they truly collaborated with other providers and other systems to work for the benefit of all people.

"I believe that ending the medical monopoly would advance our health care system in the same manner that ending the male-power monopoly this past century (voting, athletics, etc.) has vastly improved life for not only women but also for men." (bold added)

Bill Manahan, MD
(Past President, American Holistic Medical Association)
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