An Offer I Can Easily Refuse

Last week, we talked about companies popping up to offer “Balance Clinic Packages” to primary care physicians, emphasizing how profitable and easy it is. This week, we look at one example of this.

A few weeks ago, one of the ENT physicians in our group received a fax from a company called Innovative Healthcare Systems (IHS). No address was given but the fax number area code was from Palm Beach County, Florida. Attached was a letter from Dr. Edward R. Popick. In the first paragraph of the letter Dr. Popick says “you may earn an extra $15,000 to $25,000 a month in ancillary income.”

After a few paragraphs of statistics about geriatric falls and hip fractures, Dr. Popick makes the statement, “Medicare and major insurance companies are more than willing to pay for fall prevention testing…” Then there is an offer to “send you a financial projection that will let you know what this program could mean financially for your practice.”

Then, after signing off “Most sincerely, Edward R. Popick M.D.”, he offers, this time in bold print “we are willing to give you a $10,000 Fall Assessment System – FREE (if you respond to us within the next two weeks). Don’t delay!”

Now, if you read my blogs, you know I am a proponent of improving vestibular screening in emergency departments and primary care offices. The letter never mentioned what the program was, or what equipment they were selling, although it mentioned several times how much money we could make. So I decided to visit the website listed on the letter. I visited Balance-Plus.com and looked around. The website did confirm that Innovative Health Systems is based out of Royal Palm Beach, Florida

The first thing I noticed was that much of the information looked familiar. Paragraph after paragraph was directly lifted, and another whole section was intermittently paraphrased from publications I had written several years ago. There was no attribution or any indication that the text was not the property of, or written by the company. There was also considerable text that was unfamiliar to me, so I don’t know if they wrote that themselves or lifted it from someone else.

Second, they list CPT Code 92546 as part of their test battery when they do not sell rotational chairs. They also describe Active Head Rotation as the appropriate test for this code. They fail to mention that in 49 states, Medicare guidelines prohibit the use of 92546 for Active Head Rotation. Don’t you think a company that sells equipment should be aware of policies regarding that equipment?

Lastly, I was curious about Dr. Popick, and read his bio describing him as “a voice of the information age” and a “consultant to ABC News.” But, I have learned that most bios enhance the good stuff, and gloss over the bad stuff, so I Googled him to see what else he may have been involved in.

Imagine my surprise when one of the first sites with information on Dr. Edward R. Popick was Mugshots.com. Please click and draw your own conclusions.

Now, to be fair, there is a chance there is more than one Dr. Edward R. Popick of Lake Worth, Florida, age 67. I attempted to contact Dr. Popick through the Balance-Plus website twice for verification and he did not respond.

 

 

About Alan Desmond

Dr. Alan Desmond is the director of the Balance Disorders Program at Wake Forest Baptist Health Center, and holds an adjunct assistant professor faculty position at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. In 2015, he received the Presidents Award from the American Academy of Audiology.

12 Comments

  1. I noticed on your site you have no information on Autoimmune Disease of the ear. It seems as if every site forgets this topic.

  2. Do not trust this company, they lie from saying that they sent a letter to your office that the Post Office sent back to them to saying that Dr Robert Popick is a Medical Dr. His real name is Edward Popick and he is convicted drug trafficker into Florida Pinella’s County. Dr Edward Popick and CEO Richard Gant should be investigated for illegal business tactics.

  3. I got the fax last week, and was looking into it. You’re post is very helpful. I generally ignore this faxed crap, but this one I figured I might as well try to get some background on. Glad I did before calling Dr. Popick. Thank you.

    1. Don’t buy anything from this horrible company. They are not a Dr’s office and they never sent you a letter as they say when they call. They lie about everything, trust me I worked there……..

  4. Received the same fax.
    My front office clerk received a phone call stateing I was sent some time sensitive information that was returned because it was undeliverable

  5. I received an urgent phone call from Lise Diggs, Dr. Popick’s assistant (?) stating that they had mailed us some time sensitive material and the post office had returned it as not deliverable. Me, being the jaded person I am, and having worked in this profession all of my adult life, offered to have her just fax me the info (which she did after clinic hours yesterday). Of course this is just a marketing scheme, so I promptly sent her a fax back stating that we were not interested. I feel like they are just picking random physicians and trying to coerce them into buying this equipment. Had they even looked at our specialty, they would have realized we would not be interested.

    1. I have heard from others that this marketing continues. I would hope that more people respond as you did and look into a companies background before they make decisions to buy equipment and offer and bill for services based on a questionable sales pitch.

  6. Dear Mr. Desmond,

    I read your Blog. We were going to buy this machine. Now after reading your article I have some doubts. Kindly, let us know which machine to buy. Please call me. My cell number is 734-748-2292.

    Regards.

    1. Dr Hussain:
      I really have no opinion about the equipment being offered by Innovative Health as I have never used it. My concern is with their questionable marketing strategies, lack of transparency and misleading coding and billing advice. Personally, I use Micromedical Technologies equipment and have found it and them to be reliable. ICS is also a good reliable manufacturer.

  7. Alan,

    Your last two posts provide a real service to those who care for patients who have vestibular problems and also to those patients and insurers who may be overcharged for the services they receive.

    Congratulations.

  8. Alan,
    Thank you for informing me of the marketing efforst, being ratehr sketchy at best, that is being conducted to ENT’s on balance screenings. I will share the word in our area. Appreciate it!
    Rich

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