Physician assistant has members hypnotized

Hypnotherapy isn’t a payable benefit at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. That didn't stop Physician Assistant Thomas Stetler from performing hypnotherapy on four Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members and billing the sessions as office visits.

When interviewed, Stetler said that he performed psychotherapy, not hypnotherapy. But Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan doesn't recognize physician assistants as qualified to perform psychotherapy. And one member insisted Stetler treated her with hypnotherapy six times. Three other members reported that they received hypnotherapy from Stetler for weight loss, smoking cessation and alcohol cessation. All three members stated they saw Stetler specifically to receive hypnotherapy.

One member asked Stetler what hypnotherapy would cost. He said $100 to $125 per session. When this member said she couldn’t afford hypnotherapy, Stetler said he would charge the sessions as office visits. That way they'd be covered by the member’s insurance.

We were able to verify claims for office visits billed to us on the dates the members went to Stetler’s office for hypnotherapy. Since we paid him for these office visits, Stetler was charged with health care fraud. He's currently serving a prison sentence. 

Members who suspect health care fraud should call our Anti-Fraud Hotline at 1-800-482-3787, or report fraud through our website.