Conflict of Interest

Posted to Subscribers on 29 Dectember 2014


Dear Subscribers,

Several people have written asking for more information and for how they can help, and there were two donations, thank you ever so much!

To continue this story, let me discuss the reason for wanting to finance the Institute through individuals rather than investors. The moment there are diverse interests, the potential for conflict can — and usually does — arise. Over the years, I have bailed out of many discussions because within minutes of presenting a concept, certain people want to know how much return on investment they can expect and whether the profits would be pocketable within six months.

To run a clinic means that there must be a balance, and preferably also harmony, between the needs of the patients, the wisdom of the doctors and and healers, and, if there are such, the ambitions of the investors. Patients obviously want the best possible care, starting with profound understanding of what seems to them a unique condition, i.e., not a number with a percentage of probable success. I pride myself on siding with the patients because the purpose of a clinic is to provide healing. Those who have the professional training to offer services also do not want to have their hands tied because of corner cutting . . . and to drive home this point, I want to tell some tales.

Many clinics are somewhat like hotels, meaning they suffer if there is a high vacancy rate. Therefore, the first conflict of interest is between those responsible for sound financial management and those who want the patients to get well so they can go home. I have never been afraid of vacancies because the better one does one's work, the more referrals there will be. So, regardless of the name of the particular disease being addressed, nearly everyone who is thinking of going abroad for treatment has already been in many waiting rooms and perhaps as many support groups. In short, every patient knows someone else with whom he or she would like to share hope and enthusiasm so the best way to face the vacancy issue is to earn the referrals. The worst way, of course, is to fail to heal people in order to maintain the occupancy rate.

There are subscribers of every mindset so some will have no trouble understanding just how sinister the financial issues can become — and, of course, some people may be incredulous, but in this day of exceptionally high corruption, I think there will be more who see the potential for trouble in any model that does not put healing before profits.

To overcome this risk, the first step is to include patients in the management of clinics. They ought to have a one-third vote on all important issues. The professional staff should have a 50% vote, and those responsible for sound management ought to have the remaining influence. My experience is that patients who are participatory are very serious, very responsible, and very sensitive to all the issues, not just those issues that affect them directly. When given executive status, patients make excellent suggestions and often are able to see the need for balance more than those providing the treatment. After all, patients are people, often with a lot of life experience, so including patients at the board level is not only important but necessary.

Truly, I have been in a lot of clinics in a lot of countries and have thought this through. Challenges can be interesting so when a patient promises to do anything I suggest, I usually respond by suggesting that this is not generally the best model for healing because the most important lesson I learned from my kahuna mentor, Morrnah Simeona, is that whatever does not feel good to the patient will be resisted by the unconscious. Therefore, the program has to be a match for what the patient wants and needs . . . within the bounds of sound judgment.

With the Tijuana clinics, patients are usually screened before flying to San Diego, but before they get on the bus to go south, they present a non-refundable cashier's check, usually in the amount of $25,000. This typically covers three weeks of treatment so as much therapy as possible is crammed into that three weeks. If the therapy seems to be helping, some patients will try to stay longer, often getting second mortgages on their homes, selling land — in short, doing anything and everything possible to stay longer in their present incarnations.

This model has, in my mind, many shortcomings. There are a few wellness places where people can do work exchanges after a few weeks of paid stays. This is great for a place where more hands are needed in the juice bar or garden, but what often happens is somewhere along the line, patients develop a profound interest in a particular aspect of the healing process. Some are drawn towards nutrition or food self-sufficiency and others towards the psychological and spiritual aspects of life. As a practitioner, it is very exciting to watch patients when they become excited about healing. One of the most heart-warming experiences of my career was when a patient decided to study music therapy. That was about ten years ago and she left her job with an international company in order to start a new career. It's a very beautiful story and I would love to tell it some day.

I have been to clinics where patients come alone, like a hospital where family and friends can only visit during certain hours. I have also been to clinics where patients are encouraged to come with family and/or caregivers. I know from experience that some family and friends are deeply involved in the healing process and others want activities to keep them busy. This is why I chose a place with ample opportunity to explore Nature and/or creativity. When surrounded by those who care, it is easier to be away from home and to stay long enough to heal.

This said, the purpose is not to keep people a long time, the purpose is to get well. So, it means that evaluations are performed and protocols are tweaked. Naturally, it makes sense to to stick with programs that are working.

Over the years, many years now, I have sent countless links to videos about unique healing experiences of individuals, different discoveries, and various quests to heal. Recently, there was one about people who visited a South American shaman. The conditions were a bit more than rustic. If someone were young, athletic, healthy, and adventurous, this kind of shamanic experience could be valuable, but if dangling between life and death, I personally do not see any advantage to being uncomfortable. This is the reason for selecting a place that has the amenities people are accustomed to having, but this does not mean that all habits can be continued. It just means that there will be clean sheets and pleasant dining conditions . . . oh, and connectivity . . . but no microwave tower on the roof as we saw in Portugal!

I know I sort of sprung this on you, but the vision for a healing sanctuary was posted online many years ago. I have waited a long time to find a suitable place, and, of course, I have a lot more to add about the Institute.

For now, I want to put the emphasis on the fund raising. We obviously need the funds to get started, but it was appropriate to explain the reasons for trying to raise as much as possible through donations. The Institute can only be free to function with total integrity when pressure from investors or stockholders is not a factor. I realize we may have to borrow but that will be a last resort.

We are not seeking any patents so all research will be clinically based and published for the whole world to see.

At 72, I have no need to own anything but a good computer and a few more amenities, but I have put Dr. Indunil into a similar situation. She also will not own the Institute. Her response is always the same: she believes she has been trained as a doctor so as to heal. It is therefore her duty to provide services when they are needed.

This brings me to the last question for today's post. How much will it cost to stay at the Institute? We do not know. We created some time share plans based on our need to raise funds. We realize we are trading the short-term need for cash for long-term commitments to students, interns, and patients. In short, we will gain short-term and lose long-term. The end justifies the means here, and we will keep the books balanced by limiting the time shares to a percentage of the whole so that some parts of the operation can be adjusted to our actual costs and inflation or deflation, whichever is the case. The time shares include accommodations and meals and some plans include treatment. However, we plan to offer free clinical services to the local population. We know this can get out-of-hand, overwhelming, but there are already two requests for branches and hopefully there will be many more as we prove this model for offering as much as possible to patients without compromising what is important to professionals.

In the next post, I will talk more about the need for customizing programs. I want everyone to understand as much as he or she cares to understand about what we are doing and why.

Blessings and love,


Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2014


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