Some Notes on Eric Dover, M.D., the
Indigenous Health Care Practitioners Organization,
and the Turtle Island Providers Network

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

In 2013, the Oregon State Medical Board revoked the medical license of Eric A. Dover, M.D.. after concluding that he had "engaged in unprofessional conduct and repeated negligence" in his care of five patients. The board also assessed a $10,000 administrative penalty plus $20,712 for costs [1]. Dover was very unhappy with this outcome and appealed through federal court system, but his appeals were summarily dismissed [2,3]. In addition, he helped found the Healthcare Alliance for Regulatory Board Reform (HARBR), which offers free membership to "those currently being accused, investigated, tried, or disciplined by a healthcare regulatory board and "committed activists who would like to give their time and energy toward healthcare regulatory board reform." [4]

Despite the revocation, Dover still appears to be offering medical services through The Seli Wellness Center, which he directs in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The site identifies him as "Eric Dover, MD, CTTH" and says:

Dr. Dover has cared for over 100,000 seriously ill folks since 1983. He currently uses his significant bank of medical knowledge and experience to positively impact lives without using allopathic drugs. Come see how he can change your life forever." [5]

The site's home page describes the center this way:

Seli Wellness Center is part of the nationwide Turtle Island Provider Network of non profit Traditional Healing Centers which are run by the Indigenous Health Care Practitioners Organization (IHCPO). Each center is unique in their educational approach to health optimization and disease correction. Indigenous Tribes are sovereign nations who are free to practice and choose the healthcare treatment they desire. Certified Traditional Tribal Healers (CTTH) educate members about healing modalities that are typically unknown and/or unacceptable to most allopathic ("modern") medical practitioners, the corporate medical establishment, medical schools, hospitals, and the governmental powers that control medical and naturopathic licensees . . . .

Seli Wellness Center is staffed by Certified Traditional Tribal Healers (CTTH) who are trained Medical Doctors (MDs). These physician healers became disillusioned with allopathic medicine which pushes poorly studied and expensive pharmaceutical treatments, vaccines which are highly questionable in regards to safety and efficacy, and life long costly and dangerous treatments for "chronic disease" instead of disease prevention and correction of underlying metabolic imbalances [6].

Another page states that center's "focus" is on cancer; autoimmune disorders; ADD and ADHD; autism; Lyme's disease [sic]; chelation; chronic pain issues; nutrition for athletes; weight loss; and general health issues; and that "members may come educate themselves about hypertension, Type II diabetes, depression, gout, allergies, acne and many other medical issues." [7]

Affiliations and Credentials

When Dover came to my attention, I searched used Google, Archive.org's Wayback Machine, and Secretary of State business searches to see what I could learn about the Turtle Island Provider Network and the Indigenous Health Care Practitioners Organization. I found that the IHCPO had a Web site in March 2016 that displayed the announcement shown to the right. By the end of 2016, traffic to the site was redirected to a site said to be operated by Turtle Island Providers in Chatham, Virginia. I also found a recently created Turtle Island Providers Network site which hosted two documents related to the network's formation. One document was a decree from the "Sovereign Principality Church of the East creating "the Grand Priory of Turtle Island," which it described as "an international, non-profit Corporate Sole dedicated to the healing of people and the land through mostly monastic or indigenous measures." [8] The other was the Grand Priory's constitution and bylaws, which said that its provider network "is made up of Doctors and Practitioners of all types, such as Medical Doctors, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Naturopathic and Naturopathic Medical Doctors, health coaches and others working in a natural health capacity, as well as agriculture and business executives, who want to aid in economic development of indigenous groups and others desiring natural healing for themselves and their land." [9]

 

Several Web sites describe IHCPO as "a Native American group that certifies over 200 practitioners under native sovereignty to practice alternatively without limitation by the FDA and AMA. "The "Certified Tribal Healer" credential appears to come from an entity called the First Nation Medical Board, whose Web site states:

First Nation Medical Board ("FNMB") licenses practitioners of indigenous medicine ("IM"), which includes the practices of alternative, complementary, and integrative medicine. For some IM practitioners (e.g., MDs, DOs, etc.) FNMB provides dual licensure. For other IM practitioners (e.g., NDs, OMDs, etc.) FHMB provides a home for single licensure where no Board exists for IM regulation in their state. This is because IM practitioners need supervision by a Board that specializes in the optimal health and wellness approach to the treatment of patients as opposed to the conventional disease management model. Currently, dual licensure for IM practitioners is only available for those who practice homeopathy in NV and/or AZ. Conversely, this means that IM practitioners do not have dual licensure in 48 states. Such dual licensure is needed to protect, preserve, and promote the practice of IM medicine. In addition, FNMB also offers IM practitioners the opportunity to share IM protocols by participating in clinical studies with the FNMB's Indigenous Medicine Institutional Review Board ("IMIRB"). Thus, FNMB provides not only protection but opportunity for IM practitioners in all 50 states to participate in the understanding and advancement of IM with its IMIRB. . . .

The mission of the First Nation Medical Board ("FNMB") is to provide certification for medical providers and traditional healers who practice indigenous medicine ("IM"). IM practitioners use natural products and natural treatments with the goal of helping patients achieve optimal health and well-being. Such practitioners can help advance medical science by submitting standardized protocols to the FNMB's Indigenous Medicine Institutional Review Board ("IMIRB") for clinical studies that can be used to document the effectiveness of indigenous medicine products and treatments. In short, FNMB is an alternative to state medical board licensing agencies where healers who utilize natural medical alternatives can be supported for putting patients first [10].

The credentials offered by the FNMB include certified tribal healer ($30), certified tribal practitioner ($400), certified tribal technician ($200), and public traditional tribal healer ($100). It also accepts public memberships ($35). [11]

The FNMB's contact page gives an address of 2121 E. Flamingo Road, Suite #112, Las Vegas, Nevada, which is the address of the Royal Medical Clinic operated by Daniel Royal, D.O., Royal is a former chairman of the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners, which his father helped create about 30 years ago to enable doctors to escape the jurisdiction of Nevada's medical board. Royal also appears to be doing business as the Turtle Healing Band Clinic, whose Web site states that patients who seek treatment from a Tribal Practitioner "licensed and approved by First Nation Medical Board" must first become members of the Turtle Healing Band by completing an application that I was able to download from another site.

The application states that the Turtle Healing Band is "authorized by the Indigenous HealthCare Practitioners Organization to train, educate, and promote Certified Traditional Tribal Practitioners and Healers and provide tribal healing centers and clinics for tribal and Indigenous HealthCare Practitioners Organization members nationwide. Tribal Healthcare Providers include Medical Doctors, Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Naturopathic Medical Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors, and many other certified healing modalities like nursing, massage, energy work, nutritional counselors, etc." To become a member /applicants must pay $35/year, attest that they do not represent any government agency, and agree to "hold the Director(s), Ministers, Healers, Practitioners, however they are titled, staff and other members of Turtle Healing Band harmless from any and all unintentional liability resulting from such care, except for harm that results from instances from a clear and present danger of substantive evil as determined by the IHCPO, as stated and defined by the US Supreme Court." [12]

Several Web sites describe the IHCPO as a "Native American group that certifies over 200 practitioners under native sovereignty to practice alternatively without limitation by the FDA and AMA. The Narutka College of Indigenous Medicine states that "The Turtle Island Provider Network (formerly Indigenous Health Care Practitioners Organization) has joined with several Indian tribes to provide indigenous health care options to Indians as well as non-Indians desiring to receive natural healing options." [13]

The Seli Wellness Center's Web site claims that "All medical and nutritional costs accrued at SELI Wellness Center are 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE. The Turtle Tribe Healing Centers are all nonprofits under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 7871." [14] This section of the IRS code grants deductions to individuals who make charitable donations or tax payments to tribal governments as long as the gifts are made for public purposes. Since an individual's medical treatment does not fit this description, I doubt whether payment for it is tax-deductible. Moreover, it is a general principle of tax law that donations are not deductible if the donor receives valuable goods or services in return.

In 2017, the Medical Board of Texas ordered Ross Stewart, Ph.D. to stop practicing medicine without a medical license and said that future violations could trigger a penalty of up $5,000 per violation and/or each day of a continuing violation. The agreed order stated that he was treating customers with an undetermined substance that purportedly contained stem cells grown from the customer's blood but was actually a saline solution with vitamins. The order also said that he "sought to circumvent the law by having customers join the 'Turtle Healing Band' . . . and signing unenforceable waivers purporting to release him from liability." [37] Stewart is licensed as a professional counselor in Texas and does business as Parkinson's Clinic International LLC (formerly called the Brain & Body Wellness Center) in Dallas, Texas and offers treatment worldwide via Skype or FaceTime [15].

Overview

Eric Dover, M.D., who had his Oregon medical license revoked, is offering nonstandard treatments through a clinic that he appears to believe is not subject to state regulation. He is also part of a small network of practitioners and organizations that are trying in various ways to evade and/or weaken state regulation of practitioners by rebranding themselves as "healers" and asserting that their operations are exempt from government regulation because they are "private membership associations." Although Dover describes himself as a "traditional herbal healer," many of the services he offers are certainly not traditional.

In 2010, an Oregon court concluded that an unlicensed "alphabiotics" practitioner who had structured his practice as a private membership association was not exempt from regulation and ordered him to stop [16]. But whether the Oregon authorities will regard Dover's setup as legal or illegal remains to be seen.

If you have any additional information about Dover or the entities described in this article, please contact me.

References

  1. Final order. In the matter of Eric Alan Dover, MD before the Oregon Medical Board. Filed Jan 14, 2011.
  2. Opinion and order. Eric A. Dover, MD v. Kathleen Haley, JD, et al. U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Case No. 3:13-cv-01360, filed Nov 26, 2013.
  3. Memorandum. Eric A. Dover, MD v. Kathleen Haley, JD, et al. U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, Case No 13-36183, filed Sept 8, 2015.
  4. HARBR Web site, accessed Dec 28, 2017.
  5. Meet our CTTH. SELI Wellness Center Web site, accessed Dec 27, 2017.
  6. Seli Wellness Center home page, accessed Dec 27, 2017.
  7. Our center's focus. SELI Center Web site, accessed Dec 27, 2017.
  8. Decree Nr. 2016.0014. Sovereign Ecclesiastical Principality Church of the East. Document accessed Nov 28, 2017.
  9. Constitution and bylaws of the Grand Priory of Turtle Island. Sovereign Ecclesiastical Principality Church of the East. Document created Nov 28, 2017.
  10. Home page. First Nation Medical Board Web site, accessed Dec 28, 2017.
  11. Medical professionals-application. First Nation Medical Board Web site, accessed Dec 28, 2017.
  12. Turtle Healing Band membership agreement.
  13. College policies of the Narutka College of Indigenous Medicine, accessed Dec 28, 2017.
  14. Pricing. SELI Wellness Center Web site, accessed Dec 28, 2017.
  15. Agreed cease and desist order. In the matter of Ross Stewart, Ph.D., P.C., before the Texas Medical Board, March 3, 2017.
  16. Judge issues preliminary injunction against unlicensed practice of chiropractic. Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners press release, Oct 2, 2016.

This article was revised on May 7, 2018.

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