Dr. Andrew Weil, alternative medicine guru, will ask the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to cover employees who choose to visit his pseudo-scientific health center.
Weil is the founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, and has helped establish medical residency programs in some U.S. hospitals. He's been at the center of several controversies due to his promotion of pseudo-scientific medical ideas and drugs like Ecstasy. He's also the guy who supposedly once snitched on LSD-using legend Timothy Leary.
On Monday, Weil is scheduled to pitch the Supervisors on the "opportunity to enter into an agreement to establish a health center in Phoenix that offers world class integrative health care treatments," according to a news release.
Integrative medicine is a fancy term for health care that incorporates non-traditional, scientifically unproven (or even debunked) treatments like herbal remedies and acupuncture.
County spokeswoman Terri Mulholland tells us that Weil won't be asking the county for any money. She sent us an excerpt for the Board's agenda, which shows that the plan does indeed involve money -- though the costs are hidden.
Weil wants the county to add his center to the list of approved providers for the county's employee health-benefits plan. That way, county employees and their dependents could more easily take advantage of the center's treatments. The county would benefit by access to health data (minus the patient identifiers) for a three-year study of integrative medicine.
The best part about this deal for Weil and his center, as far as we can tell, is that he risks nothing. The county benefits plan, meanwhile, is betting that the integrative medicine treatments are worth the money and will have to pay either way.
UPDATE: The county approves Weil's plan.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.