I had this come in with this weeks bundle of flyers, and it peeked my interest. Well, not so much peeked my interest, as activated my bullshit detector.
The first thing that is noticeable, is the mass marketing of this flier. The “By Appointment Only” and limitation to just 2 days (April 1st and 2ed) raise a red flag.
“Medicare will not cover preventative scans at this time” raises another.
But I am a blogger that likes to research things for myself, and present you with my findings. So that I will do. Starting with their website.
Ultra Life, Inc. was founded on the principle that preventative medical testing can save lives. Established in 1985, Ultra Life pioneered not only preventative diagnostic medical testing, but testing in mobile facilities.
Safe, noninvasive ultrasound technology is used in all organ and body scans. Ultrasound is the technology of choice for testing since it does not involve the use of radiation or other harmful side effects.
Preventative medical testing can save your life and ultrasound is one of the leading technologies within the radiological field. Ultrasound can identify the early signs of cancer, stroke, heart and liver disease, plaque build up in the arteries and a myriad of other potentially lethal and non-lethal physical maladies.
Preventative medical testing is a necessity if you have a family history of serious illness. You need to be aggressive in establishing an on-going review of your medical history to identify the early indicators of potentially fatal diseases.
The first thing that is noticeable, is the webpage is incredibly un – detailed. Even my free wordpress theme with a lot of white in the background has more of a professional feel then that website.
For an outfit that can afford the expense of paper mass market advertising for every population center within 100 or 200kms of their stop in location, this seems an odd thing to skimp on (the VERY first interaction that your customer will have with you ).
But I have to give it credit for being non bandwidth intensive.
As for what the company is trying to sell you (ultrasound testing that can be preventative of many known ailments), I am not sure. But the push to get you to buy (in the name of your health) is hard to miss.
In starting my research on this, I first noted names on the document in which I could look up. The only one being Thomos D. Johnson, M.D.
That brought up a number of presumably unrelated links, including at least 2 M.D.`s with the same (or similar) names in 2 different states.
I did however find THIS piece, written back in April of 2008 by Eve Harris (identifying herself as a patient advocate and healthcare writer) from the San Francisco area. She had this to say:
One recent morning I opened up the newspaper and found a flyer inserted. From a sheet of goldenrod-colored paper these words screamed at me: “A Body Scan Can Save Your Life!”
Thomas D. Johnson, MD of Ultra Life wants to sell ultrasound scans directly to consumers. Small print discloses that Medicare will not cover the cost. Ultra Life will charge $500 for the holy grail “full body scan” and send test results by mail within 21 working days.
“Dear Ms. Baby Boomer, your results were inconclusive…”
Johnson and Ultra Life will be available by appointment tomorrow in a down-market hotel meeting room. Shame on them!
This is a result of market-based healthcare. Unregulated providers have cherry picked the most expensive, least invasive tests; use sensationalism to scare the public and offer false hope in response. It’s evil.
My bottom line is this:
• Early detection of most disease processes is an admirable goal.
• Imaging is one tool that is sometimes helpful
• Diagnostic screening should always be covered by medical insurance.
• Results should be delivered when the patient can ask questions.
A body scan will not save your life. Knowing and ameliorating your health risks by working with credible providers might.
This is quite telling.
As I suspected, this scheme has been ongoing and on the move for quite some time, but for much longer then I would have anticipated. And the tactics of these people do not change either, right down to using the same template in the advertising from the 2008 right to now. The Google search even included a couple archived flyers from 2 local papers, both printed in different years and in different states.
Being it looked like that was it for the good material on that search, I tried the name of the outfit itself. At the top of the list is the site of the outfit itself. But following is a stream of articles from all different sources, advising against the procedure. Ill grab just 4.
As you can see, the scanning procedure itself appears to be harmless. But what information one can gain from taking part in such a procedure is thought to do more harm then good. Either you may become worked up over a non-existent (or non-serious) problem, or you may gain a false sense of security.
By all means, do what you want with your money. I found one reporter who seen the good in this test (he appears to be affiliated with Sun Media. Big surprise there). But the vast majority of the experts on both sides of the boarder say the same thing. Save your money, and go to your/a REAL doctor.