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How I Kicked Myself Out of the Holistic Moms Network

March 30, 2009

From: Courtney Ostaff
Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 22:21:37 +0000
Subject: [HMN Connection] Re:compensation for docs with 100% vac rate???

> I am sure there is. I do not know for sure – However
> I do know that 65% of their income comes from vaccines.
> This was a statement from a Doctor presentation I went to.
> Casey

Putting aside the issues of whether or not vaccines are harmful:

This is just the sort of statement to make people go, “geez, those anti-vax people are nutballs!”

Stating that 65% of doctors’ income comes from vaccines is not logically coherent.

For one, assuming that doctors administer vaccines leaves out the vast number of vaccines that are administered through county health departments, clinics and so on by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing technologists, and health care assistants.

Nevertheless, even if we assume that doctors administer all vaccines – not all doctors administer vaccines. Since you’re discussing pediatric vaccination, only 7.5% of doctors are pediatricians.
http://www.bls. gov/oco/ocos074. htm

Therefore, to assume that 65% of doctors’ income comes from just 7.5% of all doctors is blatantly impossible.

However, even if we were to give this statement the benefit of the doubt, and assume that you meant 65% of pediatricians’ income comes from vaccines leaves out several facts.

1) Most states buy all the vaccines required for their underinsured/ uninsured/ Medicaid/ indigent populations and distribute them. See Section 1928 of the Social Security Act. The states compensate vaccine administrators at cost, not profit. Government purchases of vaccines, costing $1 billion a year, account for more than half of U.S. vaccine sales. Therefore, it is unlikely that those purchases could account for any of the 65% of the doctor’s income.

2) 16 percent of children who are covered by private health insurance are in plans that exclude benefits for immunizations
http://www.apha. org/publications /tnh/archives/ 2003/10-03/ National/ 826.htm
Again, these children are unlikely to be sources of income for vaccine administration.

2) Insurance companies know don’t pay for the vaccines, but only for injection of the vaccines. (via my pediatrician)

3) The problem for the doctor is the issue of balance billing. If the insurer covers $50 but the vaccine costs $100, and the insurance company, or Medicare, prohibits balance billing to cover the cost, so then the vaccine becomes a loss to the doctor. That is why when you go to the doctor, they cannot charge you more than the insurance company is willing to pay.

Check here for the current vaccine price list:
http://www.cdc. gov/vaccines/ programs/ vfc/cdc-vac- price-list. htm#pediatric

In addition, see how often a vaccinated child actually pays the cost of the vaccine? Never. Most insurance companies only reimburse for a well-child visit, during which your child may be vaccinated.

But, let us be generous and say that the cost of the vaccine and vaccine administration is covered by a well child visit, and assume that a child gets a vaccination at every well-child visit up to the age of 2, with 5 more to be administered over the next four years, and 2 more to be administered at age 10. Do you really think that these visits make up the majority of the doctor’s visits?

On average, people make four doctor’s trips a year:
http://www.cdc. gov/nchs/ data/nhsr/ nhsr008.pdf
The average annual number of doctor visits per 1,000 children is 1,725 for long-term uninsured children versus 3,461 for insured children.

Therefore, those are at least three visits with no immunizations – at least 75% of pediatrician visits involve no well-child visit, and therefore no immunization. How can a doctor possibly make 65% of his or her income from 25% of the visits?

They cannot!

In fact, I called my pediatrician’ s busy practice, and asked. http://www.cardinalpediatr She offered to let me examine her books, in fact. Not only does she not get kickbacks for administering vaccinations, she actually loses money. She budgets it into her office expenses the same way she would electricity, or practitioner insurance.


She says that it’s part of a child’s medical care, and as the child’s medical care provider, it’s her obligation to provide the care – even at a loss.

Why do doctors kick out families who don’t vaccinate?

She says it’s very simple. Not providing medical care (AKA vaccinations) is child neglect. She has colleagues who, upon a parent’s refusal to allow a child’s vaccination, automatically call Child Protective Services. My doctor is more lenient. However, doctors see a refusal to vaccinate as neglect, and if they continue to see families whom they know are neglectful of their child’s health, then that leaves doctors wide open for a malpractice lawsuit.

So doctors simply refuse to see those families, and avoid knowingly leaving themselves open to charges of complicity in child neglect.

Remember, doctors are REQUIRED by law to report child abuse and neglect, and can go to jail for not reporting child abuse and neglect – not to mention losing their practitioner insurance!

From: Eileen Landies
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 10:58:02 AM
Subject: [HMN Connection] Re:compensation for docs with 100% vac rate???


I beg to differ on a point or two:

1. This is a current trend, not something that was happening even 3 years ago. Something has changed.

2. Your statement below regarding doctors “know” they (parents) are neglectful. There is no knowing here, just an opinion. Now how is this opinion derived? A Dr forms his/her opinion, as do we all, from the information we have available to us. Most medical schools are heavily subsidized by the pharm industry, not to mention faculty and researchers jump in/out of academia and pharm employers. Almost 89% of all CME courses are funded or conducted by the pharm industry. All of the medical journals receive funds from the pharma industry. Almost all of the research conducted regarding vaccines and their safety have been conducted by the pharma industry. The CDC, NIH,FDA, etc. are also heavily funded by the pharma industry. So, the prevalent source of their “opinions” are based on the knowledge they have obtained by the companies and individuals that stand to profit from a drs promotion of their products. Not a very reliable opinion.

3. It is apparent that you are connected with Marshall University, an institution with strong affiliations to both a Medical and Nursing School. I have also noticed that the many of your responses are entrenched with the dogma preached by those institutions.

Speaking for myself only, I became a part of HMN and this loop to find alternatives to the readily available institutionalized dogma. As a scientist, I appreciate good stats and credible sound science. However, I always take into consideration the motivation, funding, outcome, and caliber of the individuals providing the information when looking at any data. I certainly hope that each and every one of us look to these questions as well.


From: Courtney Ostaff <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 1:16:18 PM
Subject: Re: [HMN Connection] Re:compensation for docs with 100% vac rate???

1) I wouldn’t know.

2) I asked my doctor. This is what my doctor said. I am repeating what my doctor said, because I find it interesting that nobody actually went and asked a doctor for the truth. You prefer to make stuff up based on what people who are not in a position to know have to say – e.g., run for a conspiracy theory.

3) When you accuse me of being a PR flack for “the man”, let’s get all my “affiliations” straight. Sure, I’m affiliated with Marshall University, in that I have a degree from there. I have also attended Glenville State College, the University of Houston, and West Virginia University. I have a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Sociology, with Honors, Cum Laude, in the Honors Program, as a John Mashall Scholar from Marshall University. I was also a National Merit Scholar and won a full scholarship to the University of Houston and to Marshall University. I was accepted to medical school at age 16 at the University of Southern California (but did not attend). I have a master’s degree in Public Administration from West Virginia University, cum laude. I also have a year of law school from West Virginia University College of Law – I quit because I felt they were ethically challenged. I also have all the courses but student teaching to be certified to teach public school in the state of West Virginia in science and social studies from grades 5 through 12.

Oh, and I won a NASA Research Fellowship to study species differentiation in Madagascar’s mouse lemurs under Dr. Suzanne Strait-Holman at Marshall University. I taught basic computer skills to low-income West Virginia residents as part of my graduate student assistantship under Dr. Karen Harper-Dorton in the Division of Social Work. I currently teach Environmental Science, Introduction to Life Sciences, Foundations of Business, Critical Thinking (which you could apparently use), Skills for Learning in an Information Age, Basic Math, Algebra I, Algebra II, Finite Math, Supervision and Leadership, Organizational Theory and Behavior, Introduction to Marketing, and Math for Teachers for the Axia College of the University of Phoenix. Oh, and I also donate money to Planned Parenthood, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Girl Scouts, the ACLU, Smithsonian, National Geographic, and the World Wildlife Federation.

You say you’re a scientist – what’re your creds? I don’t see you looking for any opposing views to challenge your mindset. In fact, I see a paucity of opposing views on here – I’m the only one who will stand up and say, “Hey, you’re mindlessly repeating crappy information.” God forbid you go ASK someone for their views and create a dialog.

I didn’t say, “Take what my doctor says as the truth.” I said, “this is what my doctor says.” You could debate that what she is saying is the truth, but instead, you want to attack me as being a mouthpiece for “institutional dogma.” You don’t have any data that contraindicates what my doctor said, so you’re going to exclude it on the basis that she’s part of “system”, where I’d bet money you get paid.

This is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve been accused of being just a hack for pharma, medicine, or some such bullshit.

I joined this group because I thought I’d find it openminded and open to new ideas about childrearing. FYI, when I joined this group, nobody said squat about vaccination, not even on the main web site. I paid upwards of $50 for the priviledge of belonging to an organization that is as narrowminded and set in its ways and just plain MEAN to each other as the local trophy-wife Parents Club or the local fundy-religious MOPS.

And what do I get for my bucks? An email loop that is free to set up, a low-cost electronic forum, an email “newsletter” that is entirely volunteer-written, and a cheap plastic membership card. I don’t see any of these upper-middle class women actually getting off their butts and trying to make the world a better place for anybody else, unless it’s by trying to sell products of questionable value to each other. As far as I can tell, all the money goes straight to pay salary for central administration.

How do I know you’re upper middle class? If you think $50+ is a nominal membership fee, you all spend $800 a month on food, and there’s a spirited discussion on finding nannies – and no one says, “Yo! Maybe you should actually try PARENTING your kids instead of passing them off to strangers.” Your kids don’t get sick because you keep them at home with other upper-middle-class white kids – god forbid they go out and play in the toxic world with sick kids from low-income households.

Not to mention, my husband and I adopted his niece from his clinically mentally ill sister at the age of eleven, after she had already suffered severe physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. I have an intimate knowledge of the inside of psych wards, courtrooms, and social service offices from that particular experiment. How many of you have adopted severely abused children, oh holier-than-thou ones? Hell, how many of you have adopted local children instead of the fashionably poor on other continents? How many of you have been to your local psych hospital? How many of you have been woken up at 3am by some mother accusing you of stealing the child she beat so many they required stitches? Tell me, where does the Holy Grail of Anti Vaccination come into play in that scenario? No, let’s protect our precious little white babies from some helpful medicine that may have side effects, and ignore the pain and suffering of the rest of the world. Spiritual books for kids my ass – god forbid you actually take your little one to work at soup kitchen! They might get TB, and you can’t cure that with blessed sheep dung.

Had I known that Holistic is code word for “New Age Spiritual Bullshit” and that the HMNetwork was really a group of hysterical, rich-bitch anti-vaxers taking advantage of the fact that everyone else vaccinates their kids, I would have saved my money. I suppose that I should have known that every time I point out idiocy on an email loop, I would get accused of being a shill for “the Man”, because you all are as fundamentalist as my local apostolic church. I’ll bet you vote Republican, too.

From now on, you can take your nonsense and shove it where the sun don’t shine – but of course, it’s already full of tibetan healing crystals!

From: “Director, Holistic Moms Network”
To: Courtney Ostaff
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 1:26:54 PM
Subject: Holistic Moms


I have to say I am quite taken aback by your message to the Online Connection, the tone of which is offensive and inappropriate for posting. I am not sure how you came to your conclusions about HMN, particularly with regard to vaccination, as we have resources, articles, books and speakers on our website, at our Conferences, at Chapter meetings, and more. And I do believe that many, many of our members are working quite hard to make a difference – some in small ways, others in rather big ones, starting groups, getting involved in political action, and much more. What’s more, I am shocked at your assumption that your $45 member is going to “central administration”. HMN has no office, virtually no staff and as Executive Director I have not only worked for FREE (yes, FREE) full-time, for 5 years, but have also donated thousands of my own dollars to make this organization happen and continue. And I am not wealthy. I struggle to put food on the table but believe passionately in educating parents and empowering them to make both big and small changes.

I’m sorry, I just don’t even know what else to say to address these wild accusations. – Nancy

Nancy Massotto
Executive Director
Holistic Moms Network

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Courtney Ostaff
To: “Director, Holistic Moms Network”
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 1:43:06 PM
Subject: Re: Holistic Moms

Yeah, well, I figured you’d censor anything that offended the spiritual circle-jerk. Interesting that none of your website or facebook stuff says anything about vacciantion. Yeah, they’re workign to make it better for more anti-vaxers – you should just rename it the anti-vaxers mother group. Fascinating that you can’t actually list anything that the money is going to – and it was more than $45, as I got a family membership.

You’re wealthy enough to be able to afford to donate your time, lady, which more than most mothers can do in this country and you don’t even know how wealthy you are.

Yeah, it’s not a wild accusation to say that doctors get 65% of their income from vaccinations, and that kind of bullshit is ok to spread, but god forbid someone calls you on your hypocrisy. Don’t worry, I don’t want to be associated with you any more than you want to be associated with me.

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