If you follow this blog, you know that the stem cell wild west is exploding now with a new phenomenon that has unshackled the good parts of stem cell technology from reality. We now have chiropractic clinics putting on aggressive sales seminars claiming to regrow new knees in patients with severe arthritis using dead amniotic stem cells. The physicians who have attended these seminars have been astounded by the ridiculous claims about how magic amniotic stem cells can regrow and, frankly, treat just about everything else. We now have a new ridiculous video produced by Jeff Hayes that claims that stem cells will also help you live longer! It’s in this context that a new Florida Senate bill has been introduced that seeks to try to put the brakes on the snake oil insanity. Let me explain.
This week, the new Jeff Hayes film launched, called “The Healing Miracle: The Truth about Stem Cells.” If you want to know why this new Florida Senate bill was proposed, look no further than this film. In fact, it is the embodiment of the unhooking of stem cells as a tool used by trained physicians versus the hype that chiropractors and business owners have inserted into the field.
You may have seen the headlines this past year that discussed the blinding of three patients who had their eyeballs injected with stem cells in Sunrise, Florida. One of the most egregious things about the treatment was that it was performed by a nurse practitioner. Why? The usual reason is cost. Specialist ophthalmologists are very expensive providers and would charge roughly 5–10X more for the same service as a nurse practitioner.
New Florida Senate bill 1508 seems squarely aimed at this phenomenon. In the case of US Stem Cell, the clinic side of the operation was owned by a corporation, and in the instances of the three patients who were blinded, the company employed midlevel providers to perform treatments. The new Florida legislation would restrict the practice of stem cell therapies being provided by a nonphysician-run medical group.
The new bill would also heavily restrict the explosion in the chiropractic practices mentioned above. In this case, a chiropractor who employs a nurse practitioner or physician assistant, or even a physician part-time, to deliver stem cell therapies would be restricted from doing so. Why? Stem cells are medical therapies, and, ultimately, a physician’s license as the clinic owner has to be on the line. However, there’s an even more important reason: keeping physicians in control is good for the field.
When you put a business in charge of a stem cell clinic or a nonphysician, the focus is to run it as a business. That means overpromise and hype everything, reduce the costs of delivering services to the absolute lowest by cutting corners, and do everything you can to maximize profits to shareholders or owners. While chiropractors are health care providers, they have never been responsible before for life and death decisions or invasive care that if done incorrectly can permanently injure a patient. Hence, they don’t know the controls that need to be put in place to protect patients and keep them safe.
The upshot? Please support Senator Dana Young from district 18 (Hillsborough County) in Florida as she pushes Senate bill 1508 forward. This is a critical bill that will protect the patients of the state of Florida and is much-needed legislation nationally. Take a minute to e-mail her right now in support of this excellent measure; her e-mail address is [email protected]
About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…