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Consumer Protection – Do Your Homework

May 10, 2016

Beware of false advertising claims – Are the Claims Provable?

You have probably seen claims from other Vein Centers such as, “We have performed the most procedures” or ”More patients in Colorado have been treated by us” or “Our ultrasound diagnostic accuracy is in the top 10% of the nation.” These claims should be considered suspect since there is no published data from other Vein Centers for comparison. And these types of claims should also be considered potentially illegal to make; prospective patients should be suspicious as to the need for a legitimate Vein Center to make these false claims. Malpractice Insurance carriers are very interested in monitoring false medical advertising.

Beware of false significance of credentialing.

There are no Board Accredited Phlebology fellowships in Colorado. The only accredited Phlebology fellowship is at New York University in New York City. Any reference to a Phlebology Fellowship in Colorado is unrecognized and non-accredited by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. Any statement suggesting completion of a non-accredited fellowship declares exclusive excellence (top % of nation) is false and misleading.

Board certification of any type is simply an admission ticket to allow a physician to prove his/her value to patients and referring physicians. Passing a test does not prove anyone’s capability to be a competent Phlebologist. It is a minimum requirement. A combination of a high level surgical skill set in combination with an extensive experience level in treating venous disease, supported by an exclusive commitment to Phlebology, is a good recipe for success.

Do I need an Ultrasound?

Other than identification of symptomatic suspected superficial or deep vein thrombosis, duplex ultrasound should be performed selectively. Duplex ultrasound reflux studies are only indicated in the presence of symptoms consistent with venous insufficiency (aching, burning, itching, heaviness, leg fatigue, and significant swelling associated with varicose veins). Asymptomatic patients with spider veins in most circumstances do not need ultrasound analysis to determine treatment.

Offering “free venous screening” to Medicare, Medicare Advantage patients or patients with standard insurance that follow Medicare guidelines is not indicated. It’s a violation of the Office of the Inspector General 2002 report delineating that it is illegal to offer a Medicare patient any services that are valued at more than $10.00 that may potentially influence where the patient pursues treatment. These offenses may result in a $10,000.00 fine per incident.

Medicare does not sanction vein screening since there are no unsuspected conditions in asymptomatic patients that would require treatment to improve quality or quantity of life. At this point in time there is only one vein treatment facility of the six total in Colorado Springs that offers free vein screenings.

Who is going to perform my treatment?

Vein Centers may provide you with a “bait and switch” approach, whereby you are told that one doctor will perform any needed procedures. You then discover that this physician is somehow providing services simultaneously at 7 different Vein Centers across locations 500 miles apart while meeting full-time obligations as a physician at a hospital in the region. Make sure to do your research about the credentials and employment responsibilities of the person actually performing your procedure. You may find yourself initially seen by an Interventional Radiologist and then have your procedure performed by a Family Practice Physician who has completed a non-accredited fellowship, or potentially by a Physician Assistant.

The Albert Vein Institute (AVI) has been providing state-of-the-art vein care since 2006. Initially established in Colorado Springs, AVI expanded to Lone Tree in 2012 to meet the demands of our Denver patients. Dr. James D. Albert RPVI is double board certified in Cardiothoracic Surgery and Phlebology, and he is exclusively committed to the treatment of venous disease at these 2 facilities. Although Dr. Albert is certified as a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation, and AVI’s vascular lab is IAC accredited for vascular interpretation, and AVI received Best Vein Care Premier Status when Best Vein Care was in existence, we feel no need to inappropriately boast about these credentials. We feel they are required as minimum standards for a state-of-the-art Vein Institute.

Albert Vein Institute (AVI) has No association and No relationship to an organization that uses any name or abbreviation similar to AVI. Albert Vein Institute as been associated with the abbreviation AVI since its inception.

We wish to clarify the issue, apologize for any confusion our patients have incurred, and let our patients know we will be using all methods under the law to protect our name and goodwill from this piracy.

Copyright 2016 Albert Vein Institute.

Posted in Blog by Albert Vein Institute ©2016