WISCONSIN LEGISLATURE = P.O. Box 7882 Madison, WI 53707-7882
July 16, 2003 FOR IMMEDIATE ReLEASE
For more information, contact:
Rep. Sheryl Albers 608-266-853
Sen. Dale Schultz 608-266-0703
Schultz, Albers Blast Chelation Therapy Witch Hunt
State Agency Spends $50,000 On “Expert” Witness With Suspect Background
State Capitol – Sen. Dale Schultz (R – Richland Center) and Rep. Sheryl Albers (R – Reedsburg) questioned today the legitimacy of a disciplinary process underway against a state doctor using alternative therapies to treat patients.
The Department of Regulation and Licensing (DRL) is currently in the middle of disciplinary proceeding against Dr. Eleazar Kadile, in part for using chelation therapy as an alternative treatment for patients with heart disease. Similar arguments have been levied at LaValle resident Dr. Robert Waters, who runs the Waters Preventative Medicine Center in Wisconsin Dells.
“We have constituents who swear by this treatment. If they feel better as a result of it, who are we to take that from them?” said Schultz. “When it comes to health care, individuals should make these decisions, not overzealous paper-pushers.”
Much of the attention surrounds the state’s expert witness, Dr. Robert Baratz. Baratz runs the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), a non-profit organization based near Boston, Massachusetts. However, many individuals have questioned his professional credibility. He has been accused of padding his resume as an expert in alternative medicine so that he can collect fees for testifying before licensing and review boards. To date, Baratz has received $48,806 in state funds for his services. According to Christopher Klein, DRL Executive Assistant, Baratz has dropped off an additional stack of invoices to cover his fees for this appearance. However, it is unclear as to what further payments Baratz will receive from the state.
According to the NCAHF’s 2001 tax return, the non-profit organization reported just $17,967 in contributions, including $13,000 from one individual. “No matter how big or grand it tries to appear on paper, this organization is hardly a major player in the medical field,” Albers said.
“As taxpayers, we are outraged that a person with such a questionable record has soaked us to the tune of $50,000,” Schultz added. “We’re paying $50,000 to fly in some character from Boston who has entire websites devoted to questioning his expertise. Sounds to me like a bad investment of our tax dollars.”
At the request of Dr. Robert Waters, Schultz and Albers have introduced identical bills in the Senate and Assembly to allow physicians who practice chelation therapy to do so without aggressive bureaucrats attacking their credibility. “Dale and I are both aware that studies are still being done as to the effectiveness of chelation therapy for some conditions,” Albers said. “The FDA licenses chelation therapy for treating lead toxicity. Dr. Waters provides chelation therapy as one option for his patients and properly informs them of the potential risks. If people want to spend their hard-earned money on this treatment, why shouldn’t they be able to?”