Post Info TOPIC: Lie Number 7
Innate Defender

Lie Number 7

LIE # 7: VSRI was a patient getting scam that was forced to close down


Many of my critics like to drag out an old program I started back in the late 1980s, called Vertebral Subluxation Research Institute's "Outreach 2000." This was my first attempt to jump start the kind of research we needed in chiropractic.


My enemies say this was a scam to lure unsuspecting patients into doctors' offices. That's absolutely nonsensical and if they would have taken even a few minutes to look at the facts about the program, they'd never utter such ridiculous lies.


First of all, the research director I hired to develop the original protocol and design the preliminary health survey questionnaire was Michael Hecht, Ph.D. Dr. Hecht was the associate professor of communication and director of the Communication Research Center at Arizona State University. He was a regular consultant to business and industry, and had provided services to such companies as Xerox, Burroughs, the United States Navy, Baskin Robbins, Los Angeles County Bureau of Social Services, Pan Am, and Barclay's Bank.


When the initial phase of the pilot program was completed, the responsibilities for analyzing the research were assumed by Dr. Barbara Nienstedt, M.S., D.P.A., president of Research and Information Specialists, Inc.


Dr. Nienstedt holds a doctorate in Public Administration and serves as a research methodologist for the Auditor General of the State of Arizona and as a research associate and guest lecturer at Arizona State University. She had been contracted by such government offices as the U.S. Department of Justice, the Arizona Supreme Court, and Arizona State University for a wide variety of research projects.


Nienstedt -- who had just returned from Washington, D.C., where she had been involved in a research project for the U.S. Sentencing Commission established by former President Reagan -- spoke out about the validity of the program.


In responding to accusations that VSRI doctors gained new patients through the program, Dr. Nienstedt stated: "Naturally, exams sometimes uncover health conditions which would benefit from chiropractic care. It would be unethical for the participating doctor to keep that condition secret or refuse to provide needed care if it is requested. It is not surprising, then, that a large percentage of volunteers request care from the participating doctor.


"All volunteers, however, are told very clearly that they are under absolutely no obligation to become a patient after volunteering for the research. In fact, they must read and sign a statement reminding them of that policy before they fill in the questionnaire. In addition, each doctor is provided with detailed instructions on how to conduct the volunteer examination, as well as clear and strongly worded admonitions concerning ethics in research conduct."


Dr. Nienstedt's article with these statements appeared in the October 1989 issue of The Chiropractic Journal, which can be accessed online.


Here's more from that article:


It is unfair and ridiculous ... to dismiss a research project as a 'sham' based on his unfounded assertions that some participants might be unethical, just as it would be unfair to paint the entire research community as unscrupulous on the basis of the unethical behavior of some of its members. The other (and perhaps the most interesting) implication is that VSRI is not legitimate because it is a private enterprise program. Because VSRI has not chosen to take advantage of the numerous and lucrative tax benefits of a 'Non-Profit' status, it is supposedly tainted and unclean. Yet, around the country we are seeing a trend toward the privatization of health research. Robert K. Oldham, director of the famed Biological Therapy Institute, has encountered similar criticism. In a speech delivered in Cleveland, Ohio in 1987, he stated that, "it is illogical to ascribe evil motives to those in the business sector and good motives to those in the public sector. We recognize that private sector researchers use as one measure of their success, monetary rewards. Researchers in government and academia strive for rewards as well. Those rewards often take the form of non-monetary currencies, including recognition, power, position, ego, and professional advancement." He continued, "However, salaries are paid in the public sector. A recent New York Times article reported salaries and benefits in excess of $400,000 a year for the head of Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. As is apparent from a variety of highly publicized cases in recent years, the currencies and pressures to succeed in the public sector have resulted in a number of instances of fraud and deceit." It is also important to note that some organizations that profit from their "non-profit" status do not bother hiding their monetary goals. The "Non-Profit" Motion Palpation Institute -- publisher of the "Non-Profit" Dynamic Chiropractic, for instance -- once boasted that doctors who "make a commitment to success" and attend MPI seminars could "have a professional gross income of between a quarter and a half million dollars annually." ("Report of Findings," October 1985). Coming from an organization with a phone number of 1-800-DCS-2BUY, any recrimination because of profit motive seems ironic. Hundreds of doctors of chiropractic around the country are currently involved in this exciting and vital research program. They are being thoroughly instructed as to proper research procedures and ethics. The project is headed by a respected and reputable research expert. Volunteers are being conscientiously informed as to the goals of the program, and about their rights as volunteers. All research has been properly, accurately, and truthfully identified as non-clinical, demographic survey research. No pretense has been made as to the "non-profit" basis of the program, and no outside interests are permitted to manipulate the program for their own motives.


To make sure the program was 100% legal and above board, I also hired noted attorney Paul Eckstein to review all aspects of the program. Mr. Eckstein is a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, and -- at the time he worked with VSRI -- was listed as among the top one percent of the nation's attorneys in "The Best Lawyers in America" and was one of only 27 attorneys out of the nation's top 200 lawyers, to be featured in The American Lawyer magazine as exemplars of their profession, based on legal ability and leadership potential.


When VSRI was contacted by several practitioners in Canada who wanted to participate, the Institute hired David Chapman-Smith, now better known as the Secretary General of the World Federation of Chiropractic.


After a review of VSRI materials, Chapman-Smith offered several suggestions and reported, "I see nothing of concern... a well-based research project, in which those chiropractors acting in a responsible way as directed face no risk whatsoever of a successful charge of misconduct."


The board of several states -- including California, New York, Minnesota, Iowa, and Alabama -- closely scrutinized the program and none took any action against participating doctors.


As reported by the Alabama Board of Chiropractic Examiners, "The Board finds that the OUTREACH 2000 program is an ongoing chiropractic health research project designed to collect and correlate survey data obtained from examining and questioning volunteer research participants throughout the country on, among other topics, the relationship between the presence and level of subluxations and various demographic factors such as age, ethnicity, occupation, gender, lifestyle, and geographic environment."


Further, the Board found that the program was, "sufficiently based in scientific principles, methodology, and statistical analysis so as to constitute legitimate scientific research."


At one point, attorney Michael J. Schroeder -- who represented both the state's Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the California Chiropractic Association -- said he was "familiar with" VSRI's program and felt it was s possibly "a sham." However, the California Board never took any action against the Institute or the approximately 100 California doctors involved in the program even after it made inquiries into the project in 1987.


Ed Hoefling, then executive director of the Board, implied that doctors using the program were soliciting patients. VSRI responded to the accusation, supplying complete, documented information proving that the only purpose of the program is to recruit volunteers. There is no solicitation of patients. The Board took absolutely no action on the matter, and the case, as they say, was closed.


If, as Schroeder suggests, the program is against Board regulations or even against the law, why hasn't he done something about it? Where are the license revocations, the lawsuits, the complaints? Evidently, California realized -- as VSRI's attorney reminded them at the time -- that "any attempt by a State or State agency to prohibit (a doctor) from engaging in this research would be unconstitutional."


My enemies brought out the "big guns" in February 1987, when the American Chiropractic Association, filed an inquiry about the program. Again, VSRI responded in a cooperative and open fashion, providing information for its review. In addition, VSRI attorney Paul Eckstein offered to discuss the matter further in writing or by telephone. I never heard another word about the program from the ACA -- at least not officially.


It was only much later that the VSRI discovered the ACA had secretly filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Protection Bureau. The FTC apparently dismissed the entire matter, since they never followed up on the blatantly unfounded complaint.


Still, the constant harassment took its toll and I finally decided to close down the project rather than subject its members to more attacks. What could have been an important research project was destroyed by those same people who time and time try to annihilate anything to do with subluxation-based chiropractic, or anything I'm personally or professionally involved in.


What a loss for chiropractic!



Here we go again with misinformation, distortion and deception--typical yellow journalism for TR and his ghost writer, Barbara Bingham.

First of all, TR suggests his VSRI was totally above board, but Dan Osborne spoke at the 2005 ACCC to the contrary when he mentioned "Wrongbergs VSRI scam that ended when the feds gave him a cease and desist order."

Secondly, if the VSRI was so wonderful, where is the research it produced?

It became obvious that this was simply a patient solicitation scam disguised as research, just like the latest RCS scam. While nothing came from either one, TR allegedly made over a million on the VSRI scam.

So, TR, tell us why your RCS scam lost its IRB. Where is the research from field docs that was to prove the Big Idea that chiro care cures everything? Why did David Jackson and Matt McCoy both quit RCS and left you holding the bag alone?

Indeed, Life #7 is your rendition of the sham research you've done to make money for yourself.

To learn more about this mess, logon to Rondberg's Research Ruse @

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