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News in Brief
Dr. Frank Nicchi Receives Award at ACC-RAC; Sherman College Expands International Influence.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Apple Takes a Bite Out of Research
The more than 700 million iPhone users have just been given the opportunity to "do their part to advance medical research."
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
Trouble in the Wellness Waters?
Call me old-fashioned, paranoid or just old, but I do remember graduating from chiropractic college in the late '70s in the midst of the Wilk v AMA lawsuit.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Teach Your Patients About External Healing Applications
Since the skin is the body's largest organ, and is able to respond to both internal and external stimulations, communicate sensations to the brain, protect the body, breathe and even excrete toxins, it can be an excellent source of healing.
Talking to Patients About Medial Branch Neurotomy (Part 2)
Even when lumbar facet denervation (medial branch neurotomy) is successful, relief is rarely complete or permanent. Smuck, et al., reviewed 16 articles and found the average duration of >50 percent pain relief for an initial procedure was nine months.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Functional Impingement of the Hip (Part 2): Rehab Exercises
I find functionally impinged hips that don't move properly on so many of my patients. (See part 1 of this article for a description of the condition.)
If Your Pro-Chiropractic Governor Resigned, Would You Be Prepared?
John Kitzhaber, MD, recently re-elected to a historic fourth term as Oregon governor, has resigned among alleged ethics violations by his fiancée' and first lady, Cylvia Hayes. I developed a personal friendship with John and consider him a good friend.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Make Every Day Mother's Day
May is a special month for many reasons. After a long, harsh winter, spring is at last in full swing. Memorial Day helps us honor those who have fought and fallen in the name of freedom.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
August, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 08
What to Do When Your CE Is Not What You Expected
By Cherie Sohnen-Moe
How many times have you taken a CE course that didn't quite live up to your expectations? It's important to distinguish whether you just didn't enjoy the course, didn't like the course content, or thought the course was in some way misrepresented.Perhaps the course wasn't the best learning venue for you. (See "Learning Environments" in the May 2001 issue of MT.) If it was a "live" course, logistical issues such as uncomfortable chairs, poor acoustics, or lack of temperature controls could have made learning difficult.
It's important to investigate what recourse is available to you, if you determine that the CE course didn't deliver as advertised; the stated objectives weren't met; the quality of the materials was substandard, or you feel that some type of impropriety occurred (i.e., a financial issue or an issue of inappropriate behavior by the course facilitator).
Contact the CE Provider
The first step is to address your concerns directly with the course provider. Most providers will be open to your comments as long as they are presented in a respectful manner.
Determine ahead of time several options for remedying your complaint. Some possibilities are: a full or partial refund; repetition of the course; or a commitment on the provider's part to make necessary changes.
If you are unable to resolve your complaints directly with the provider or the provider's company, you can contact the Better Business Bureau in the provider's city; lodge a complaint with state and national organizations; or file a lawsuit.
Associations and State Boards
I contacted two national associations (AMTA and ABMP), one certifying board (NCBTMB), and four state licensing boards (where CEUs are required). Neither the AMTA nor the ABMP have "approved providers," so there isn't any action they can take. The process for handling complaints with NCBTMB Category A Providers is to submit your complaint in writing to the NCBTMB office. After it is reviewed, NCBTMB may directly contact the provider and require that the complaint be addressed or changes in policy be made. If it can't be resolved to NCBTMB's satisfaction, then the provider could lose his or her Category A Provider status. Many states require CEUs for license renewal. Here are the results of the four we contacted:
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) can be quite helpful. The BBB requires that complaints be filed in writing. Contact your local office by phone to request a form or you can go online. The URL for most cities is www.[cityname].bbb.org. Thus, the address in my city is www.tucson.bbb.org. If you can't locate your BBB directly, just go to the main site at www.bbb.org and you will find a search site for other BBB offices in the U.S. and Canada.
When you submit your complaint form you can also request mediation or arbitration. The BBB is affiliated with many trained mediators and arbitrators (the cost of these services vary). Once you have submitted your complaint, a copy is mailed to you and the provider/company. This letter also contains a status update section.
You can also call the BBB before taking a CE program to find out if the provider/company has any complaints on file. The BBB will give you broad categories of the type of complaints, the number of complaints, and the resolution status.
Filing a lawsuit is usually the last action to take once all other avenues of resolution have failed. If you are looking for financial reimbursement you can take your complaint to small claims court. This can be a hassle if the provider is not in your area. Also there are limits to the amount you can sue for in small claims court, and that varies by state. Contact your local justice court for the specific rules and procedures. Nolo Press provides a good deal of information on this topic. (See www.nolo.com/encyclopedia/small_claims_court_ency.html). If your complaint has to do with issues such as sexual harassment, you can file a civil suit. Contact your state attorney general for information on how to proceed.
Shout It from the Rooftops
It can be quite tempting to tell everyone about a bad experience you've had with a CE provider. I've overheard uncomplimentary conversations about providers and read similar postings on Internet newsgroups. Be careful of what you say so you are not sued for defamation.
The two major branches of defamation are slander (verbal) and libel (written). Make sure that you state your concerns as your opinion. It's fine to be emphatic and say, "I won't do business with this person and nobody else should either!" Always stick to the facts. The minute you start embellishing the truth you get into trouble. For instance, saying someone is a crook could be actionable, but stating that you never received a refund or that the course was too basic is fine.
Action can be brought against you if you try to interfere with someone's right to contract. The term for this is Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations. The measure is if you stated something that is not true and contacted someone who is doing business with that person. For instance, you know a school has hired a CE provider to facilitate a workshop and you contact that school and badmouth the provider; you could be liable. Again, you can state facts, but be cautious about the wording. Gary Wolf, attorney at law in Tucson, Arizona says; "Truth is the best defense for a defamation claim."
An Ounce of Prevention
Most problems can be averted by due diligence. (See my article on "Evaluating Continuing Education Providers" in the March 2001 issue of MT.) Invest your time in checking out CE providers and their courses. Yet, there may be times when you are dissatisfied with a course, despite all your research. My motto is that whenever possible, talk directly to the person who can do something about the problem -- which in this situation is the CE provider.
In subsequent issues, we will explore what constitutes a good distance-learning course; CE administration/tracking; and how to prepare before attending a class. Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions.
Click here for previous articles by Cherie Sohnen-Moe.
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