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Dr. Asa Andrew sells health and hope at a steep price. Behind the scenes, however, the man’s practice may not match what he preaches.

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"He did not do a single manipulation on my son," she claims. "Very exorbitant billing." She says she asked for an updated bill, but one was never sent.

This doesn't surprise Keri Montilli, a former patient coordinator at Dr. Andrew's clinic, who says she left due to pregnancy. "People were getting billed for things they didn't have done," she tells the Scene. "And a lot of the times they'd say it has to go through billing this way for insurance to cover it."

A receptionist who handled the clinic's insurance claims said patients would get paperwork indicating they'd received a manual chiropractic adjustment when they insisted "he'd never touched me."

"We would go to Dr. Andrew and say that the patients are getting really hot about this. What are we supposed to say at the window?" she recalls asking. "And he would say 'While examining them, I would adjust them and they wouldn't even realize it.' I can remember at the time thinking, I go to the chiropractor monthly. You can't tell me you get adjusted and don't know it."

In this cynical age, people have hardened themselves to resist the come-ons of quick-fix peddlers and health-care hucksters. For some of Dr. Andrew's former employees and patients alike — drawn by the faith-based appeal of his ministry of better living — the conduct they've encountered at the Center for Natural Medicine is doubly disillusioning.

Raven Willard, 62, is on a fixed income and requires a number of medications to control her lupus and an associated heart condition. But when Dr. Andrew's book was brought to her church in West Valley, Utah, she saw a natural answer to some of the pharmaceuticals she hated taking. So she says she paid $200 toward his signature blood work, along with an extra $300 for a phone consultation.

After just 10 minutes on the phone, she says, Dr. Andrew prescribed $1,000 in supplements. Willard balked — not only at the price, but at the supplements themselves and the interactions they might have had with her prescription drugs. She says he dismissed her concerns about the ways her various medications (for conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to atrial fibrillation) might interact, saying "the blood work tells all."

"He prescribed me a thyroid medication," Willard says. "My doctor doesn't dare prescribe me thyroid medication because it sets off my heart." She claims he never would tell her what was in the homeopathic remedies he expected her to take.

"All I wanted to do was to get off my medications, all these expensive medications I'm paying for," Willard says. "And he was peddling some snake oil I'd never heard of before — these combination packs. When I ask what's in these combination packs, he'd say it's proprietary."

In his statement, Dr. Andrew reiterated the purity of his motives and mission.

"My entire career has been dedicated to providing hope and the utmost care to individuals — including those with no access to health care — with the mission of vastly improving their health and making a marked difference in their lives," Dr. Andrew wrote.

"The list of people who have had their lives enhanced by my life's passion and work is overwhelming and a true testament to the quality of care I strive to give of myself to others each day.

"I refuse to let the comments of a few dissuade me from my life's mission which is to teach, empower, and help others achieve the life they desire."

Raven Willard doesn't seem convinced.

"He's not a healer," she says, "he's a greedy stinker."



Dr. Asa Andrew's Statement

"I am deeply troubled by the hurtful, false and misleading allegations that have been presented to me. 

In my opinion, they are the work of a few disgruntled former employees with ulterior motives.

My entire career has been dedicated to providing hope and the utmost care to individuals — including those with no access to health care — with the mission of vastly improving their health and making a marked difference in their lives. My credentials are as follows: I have a doctorate and am currently licensed in Tennessee as a chiropractic physician. I also hold a Diplomate in Nutrition and am currently in the final stages of completing my clinical rotations for my medical degree (MD).

The list of people who have had their lives enhanced by my life’s passion and work is overwhelming and a true testament to the quality of care I strive to give of myself to others each day.

I refuse to let the comments of a few dissuade me from my life’s mission which is to teach, empower, and help others achieve the life they desire."

Email editor@nashvillescene.com.



Writer's note:

Since the publication of this story, the Tennessee Department of Health has notified the Scene that the Board of Chiropractic Examiners has filed notice of charges against Dr. Asa Andrew. It charges that Andrew "advertised and provided services outside the scope of practice for a chiropractic physician" and that he has also published a book and appeared on a regular radio show "without disclosing the fact that he was a chiropractic physician and purported to provide medical advice, misleading the public about his true qualifications or lack thereof." Andrew faces the possible revocation of his license and a $21,000 fine. An electronic version of the complaint filed by the board is available here.

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