Some Notes on Mary Veltri, Kerry Heitkotter,
and their Healthy Foundations Clinic

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Healthy Foundations, which is now located in Northbrook, Illinois, is described on its Web site this way:

Healthy Foundations is a Holistic Healthcare practice founded by two passionate bio-energetic practitioners. Our approach is non-traditional and the modalities we utilize are not FDA approved. We are not a traditional primary care practice; our treatments are natural and holistic. We certainly DO work with clients who have been prescribed traditional prescription medication, however we do NOT renew, refill, alter or discontinue any medications. Any changes made in your medications regime, need to be discussed with your prescribing Physician.

Our mission is to offer clients an alternative to the traditional medical approach to managing illness. The majority of our clients have had unsatisfying experiences with "allopathic"/Western medicine. These clients have repeatedly been disappointed and frustrated by the "bandaid" therapy they have received. Unfortunately, too little attention is given to illness prevention and maintaining optimum health verses merely attempting to "fix something" that has already broken [1].

The Web site does not identify its "passionate practitioners" or say anything about their credentials. However, I was able to identify them elsewhere as Mary Veltri (a registered nurse who license is suspended), and Kerry Heitkotter (who, as far as I can tell, has no recognized health-related credentials).

From about 2009 through 2012, Veltri and Heitkotter operated the Progressive Wellness Center with offices in Inverness and Wheeling, Illinois. Their practice was centered around the use of bio-energetic sensitivity and enzyme therapy (BioSET), which their Web site described as a system of "energetic assessment and evaluation." The site also claimed that BioSET had successfully treated heartburn; gastric reflux; irritable bowel syndrome; colitis; spastic colon; gastritis; stomach ulcers; environmental allergens; allergies and sensitivities to chemicals, hormones; foods, and essential nutrients; rheumatoid arthritis; lupus; connective tissue disorders; Crohn's disease; fibromyalgia; chronic fatigue syndrome; EBV; type 2 diabetes; fatigue or low energy; hypertension; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; high triglyceride levels; ADD; ADHD; autistic spectrum disorders; sleep disorders; depression; anxiety; and panic disorders.

The Progressive Wellness Center Web site described BioSET this way:

BioSET™ (BIO-energetic Sensitivity and Enzyme Therapy) is a revolutionary system of healing that incorporates energy medicine, detoxification and enzyme therapy. Enzymes, both Digestive and Metabolic, are absolutely essential for our body's survival. Enzyme deficiencies are the single greatest underlying cause of illness and disease. Digestive Enzymes are crucial to the proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. If our digestive systems are too busy dealing with foods that they cannot breakdown properly, our bodies eventually become too exhausted to deal with the REAL stressors to our immune systems, such as bacterial and viral infections. When the simplest of bodily functions—breaking down the foods we consume—cannot occur, it starts a chain of events that compromises our immune system. When those improperly digested foods are not recognized by our body, our immune system attacks the undigested food as if it were a harmful invader that the body must promptly remove. The proper and consistent use of Digestive Enzymes can dramatically improve one's overall health by freeing up our immune system to protect us from REAL threats like cancers, environmental toxins and bacterial and viral infections.

3 stages of healing with BioSET:

The first stage involves non-invasive, safe, trans-dermal screening, (by testing a point on the hand) to determine if there are any blockages or imbalances in the energy channels or meridians of the body. The second stage is to determine levels of toxicity in the body. Homeopathic Remedies are used to gently release and drain harmful toxins trapped in the cells of our body. The third stage is to determine the basic nutrients that the body will need to function at its most efficient level.

BioSET corrects energetic imbalances and blockages with the use of Enzymes, Homeopathic Remedies and through sending Balancing Energy back into the body. This desensitization technique releases the blockages, corrects imbalances and resets the nervous and immune systems to function optimally. This process, called a "Clearing" sends the appropriate healing energy code that matches our energetic frequency to restore perfect balance to areas of the body that are experiencing dysfunction or disease [3].

BioSET is a pseudoscientific system of diagnosis and treatment centered around the notion that muscle-testing, electrodermal testing, and/or various questionnaires can detect "energy blockages" that are responsible for disease [2]. The above description does not provide enough information for me to determine how it was deployed at the Progressive Wellness Center. However, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR), the agency that licenses and regulates health professionals in Illinois, apparently didn't like it. In 2012, the IDFPR announced that Heitkotter, who was unlicensed, was ordered to (a) cease and desist the unlicensed practice of medicine, (b) stop advertising or using the title of "Advanced Bioset Practitioner," and (c) pay a $5,000 civil penalty [4]. A few months later, the agency announced that Veltri, who is a registered nurse, was indefinitely suspended for a minimum of one year and fined $5,000 due to unprofessional conduct and for permitting Heitkotter to offer medical services to patients at the clinic [5].

The IDFPR's actions did not stop Veltri and Heitkotter from seeing patients. In December 2011, they incorporated Healthy Foundations in Illinois as a business corporation with Veltri as president and Heitkotter as secretary. Shortly afterward, they registered the domain yourhealthyfoundations.com and programmed the Progressive Wellness site (pwc4bioset.com) so that visitors would automatically be forwarded to the new site, which indicates that their practice is centered around the use of a Zyto electrodermal screening device. According to the clinic's consent form:

Electro-Dermal Screening (EDS) is an amazing technology, which allows the practitioner to assess what energetic imbalances are going on within the body. EDS can detect which organ systems, glands, hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes or metabolic processes are producing stress.

The consent form states that the initial evaluation costs $150 to $350, depending on its length, and that follow-up visits costs $100 or 150, depending on complexity. Unfortunately for clients, Zyto devices are not amazing. The Zyto Compass is a hand cradle that relays low-voltage signals to and from a computer that runs software that recommends products that practitioners sell. Its manufacturer, the Zyto Corporation of Orem, Utah, has stated that the software "sends stimuli to the body using digital signatures that represent actual things" and interprets fluctuations in skin resistance that indicate "the body's degree of preference for the items being assessed." [6] However, skin resistance and the other data generated by the Zyto have no practical diagnostic or therapeutic significance [7]. Zyto's hand cradle has FDA 510(k) clearance for the purpose of measuring galvanic skin response (the skin's resistance to the passage of electrical current). However, the software component of the Zyto system that "interprets" the measurements is not cleared or approved for diagnosing anything, identifying "toxins," preparing medications, or any significant health-related purpose. If fact, in 2015, the FDA ordered Zyto Corporation to stop claiming that its devices have diagnostic value or can guide treatment recommendations [8].

It will be interesting to see whether the IDFPR will take further action against Veltri and Heitkotter.

References

  1. Healthy Foundations home page, July 31, 2015.
  2. Barrett S. Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) and its variants. Chirobase, Oct 30, 2012.
  3. What is BioSET? Progressive Wellness Center Web site, archived May 20, 2011.
  4. Barrett S. Kerry Heitkotter ordered to stop practicing without a license. Casewatch Web site, Aug 26, 2015.
  5. Barrett S. Disciplinary action against Mary Veltri, R.N. Casewatch Web site, Aug 26, 2015.
  6. 16 commonly asked questions about ZYTO technology. ZYTO Corp. Web site, accessed May 24, 2009.
  7. Barrett S. Zyto scanning: Another test to avoid. Device Watch, March 29, 2015.
  8. Mitchell LM. Warning letter to Vaughn R. Cook, May 8, 2015

This article was revised on August 26, 2015.