A Skeptical Look at Monte Kline and Pacific Health Center

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Monte Kline, doing business as Pacific Health Center (PHC), operates two clinics in Oregon and one in Idaho. He claims to be able to help people with "fatigue, candida, headaches, low-blood sugar, high colesterol, depression, digestive disorders, hypertension, allergies, PMS, infections, arthritis, insomnia, immune deficiencies, obesity, osteoporisis, and more [1]

Kline's approach to patients is centered around electro dermal testing (EDT) with a device that measures skin resistance to an eletric current. The PHC Web site states:

New clients receive an initial Electro-Dermal Testing evaluation including organ-gland-system measurements and tests for nutrient deficiencies, food/environmental sensitivities, toxicities, and various other health analyses. An individualized diet based on these test results, complete with a 100-page Client Manual [1].

The site further states:

Electrodermal Testing involves taking simple, painless, electrical resistance readings on the surface of the skin at acupuncture points on the fingers. The subtle differences in electrical resistance detected by the sophisticated testing instrumment determine specifics such as nutrient deficiencies, food and environmental sensitivities, toxicities, energetically weak organs, and compatible nutritional supplements and other remedies. . . .

The computerized Electrodermal Testing allows the practitioner to test vitamins, minerals, enzymes, herbs, and homeopathic remedies for their "balancing effect" on the body, measured by their improving previously poor test readings. Thus, the guesswork of nutritional programs is eliminated.

Electrodermal Testing has been described as a method of “conducting an electronic interview with the human body.” Thousands of Pacific Health Center clients have benefited from this state-of-the-art approach [2].

The PHC Web site states that Kline holds a B.S. from Oregon State University, a Master of Bible Theology from International Bible Institute & Seminary and "has completed graduate work in Nutrition & Wholistic Health Sciences." [3] The "graduate work" to which this refers is a "Ph.D." course from Columbia Pacific University, a nonaccredited correspondence school that a California court ordered to shut down in 2001 [4].

Electrodermal Testing (EDT) is not a valid diagnostic procedure. EDT devices are little more than fancy galvanometers that measure electrical resistance of the patient's skin when touched by a probe. If the moisture of the skin remains constant - as it usually does - the only thing that influences the size of the number is how hard the probe is pressed against the patient's skin. Moreover, skin resistance to an electric current has no value in the diagnosis of health problems [5].

Regulatory Actions

In 2002, the Oregon Attorney General settled a lawsuit against Kline, Shirley Hancuff, and Pacific Health Center (PHC), under which the defendants agreed not to misrepresent that EDT can diagnose food allergies, "weak organs," certain viruses, lead levels in children, and various other health problems. The agreement enabled Kline to continue EDT device provided he informs patients that his device is not FDA-approved for diagnosis and that EDT has not been demonstrated effective for assessing for nutritional deficiencies, the presence of toxins, food allergies, Candida, Epstein Barr virus, and the strength or weakness of organs and glands. Kline was also permanently enjoined from representing that he possesses any academic degree unless it was from a school that was accredited or was approved by Oregon's educational authorities [6].

The stipulated judgment also called for the defendants to pay $15,000 for costs and to offer refunds available to individuals whom they had tested during the previous three years [7]. Kline's attorney told me that only one person requested a refund [6].

State authorities in Washington subsequently charged Kline and PHC with (a) violating the state's consumer protection act by misrepresenting the significance of his credentials and the diagnostic capabilities of EDT and (b) practicing medicine, naturopathy, and acupuncture without a license. The courts ultimately ruled that Kline had violated the licensing laws but not the Consumer Protection Act. The court also awarded Kline attorneys fees for winning the Consumer Protection Act part of the case. However, Kline decided to stop operating in Washington because the "unlicensed practice" ruling barred him from doing EDT in that state [8].

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Services. PHC Web site, accessed Sept 5, 2007.
  2. Electrodiagnostic testing. PHC Web site, accessed Sept 5, 2007.
  3. PHC Web site, accessed Sept 5, 2007.
  4. Court orders Columbia Pacific University to cease operating illegally in California.
  5. Dubious "electrodiagnostic" tests
  6. 6.0 6.1 Oldham G. E-mail message to Dr. Stephen Barrett, June 12, 2007.
  7. [[Oregon Attorney General Limits Electrodermal Testing|Stipulation and judgment]]. State of Oregon v Shirley Hancuff, Monte Kline, and Pacific Health Center. Circuit Court of the State of Oregon, Case No. CCV0111396, Filed Jan 14, 2002.
  8. Appeals Court issues mixed ruling in Kline case.