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.