Meditation Retreats

MANDEL: Toronto psychiatrist disciplined for overbilling, selling meditation retreats

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Michele Almond Dr.  Jasjot Chadda, author of The Heart That Heals Itself: Discover Emotional Wealth through Meditations and Reflections and Mindfulness in Italy.  (Book cover) Dr. Jasjot Chadda, author of The Heart That Heals Itself: Discover Emotional Wealth through Meditations and Reflections and Mindfulness in Italy. (Book cover)

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She will now have plenty of time to meditate.

A Toronto psychiatrist who overwhelmed her patients and sold them meditation trips to Italy worth $ 5,000 has lost her license to practice medicine for six months.

Dr. Jasjot “Tina” Chadda cried during her hearing at the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO) on Friday, where she confessed to professional misconduct and then stoically stood up with a scathing reprimand.

“DR. Chadda, the agreed statement of fact presented to this panel is an unfortunate charge against a doctor who has used the practice of medicine to build a business of meditation retreats and self-promotion marketing for your personal benefit,” said Pierre Giroux , the panel chair.

“There is a power imbalance in any professional doctor-patient relationship and it is up to the doctor to maintain boundaries and avoid situations where conflicts of interest can arise,” he said. “Of course you chose to ignore these guidelines in order to take advantage of your very vulnerable patients.”

In the agreed statement, Chadda admitted charging four patients between $ 5,295 and $ 5,695 plus HST – excluding airfare – for their 2014 Eat Breathe Think Heal Your Heart retreat, which included yoga, hiking, mindfulness, and meditation training in Italy .

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She also asked “Patient A” to create a video testimonial to promote the trip for her website and offered to have her hair and makeup done. When she declined, Chadda continued to bring the subject up during her therapy sessions until the patient finally asked her to stop.

In 2015, Patient A complained to college that the psychiatrist had “blurred lines” and that she wasn’t sure whether she was her doctor or her friend.

Dr. Greg Chandler, appointed by the CPSO to investigate the complaint, found that Chadda displayed a lack of judgment and professionalism.

“When a doctor makes a financial offer, the chances are that a doctor may have a conflict of interest between his role as an entrepreneur and his role as a doctor,” he wrote.

“In this particular case, there is a foreseeable risk that (patient A) will come under pressure, Dr. Buying Chadda’s product (the meditation retreat) with the concern that doing so could lead to a relationship change or even termination of therapy. “

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Carolyn Silver, a college attorney, added, “She has failed miserably in her responsibility to maintain these patient-doctor boundaries.”

You would think Chadda knew better. In 1998 she co-authored a paper entitled “Boundary Transgressions in the Psychotherpeutic Framework” in which “the authors emphasize the therapeutic value of establishing and maintaining boundaries between clinician and patient”.

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In the agreed statement, Chadda also admitted that patients were billed extra – patient A had to pay an additional $ 65 on top of the $ 160 per hour the psychiatrist charged OHIP. Three other patients received $ 75 an hour for their therapy sessions.

“As a psychiatrist, you have shown a lack of judgment and professionalism by charging an expensive surcharge on top of OHIP billing, not showing a receipt for fees paid, and not showing patient files on time,” Giroux said in his reprimand.

Dr.  Jasjot Chadda, author of The Heart That Heals Itself: Discover Emotional Wealth through Meditations and Reflections and Mindfulness in Italy.  (Book cover) Dr. Jasjot Chadda, author of The Heart That Heals Itself: Discover Emotional Wealth through Meditations and Reflections and Mindfulness in Italy. (Book cover)

Chadda has agreed to have her billing monitored for a year as soon as she is allowed to resume her practice. She must also take an ethics class and pay $ 6,000 to cover the cost of the hearing.

The hard medicine must have required a lot of deep breathing for a doctor who trains others to deal with stress: Chadda is the developer of a meditation app and author of The Heart That Heals Itself: Discovering Emotional Riches Through Meditation and Reflection and Mindfulness in Italy.

She also has her own website. But click on it now and all that is in bold is “goodbye”.

Your six-month suspension begins on June 15th. We hear that Italy is particularly beautiful at this time of the year.

mmandel@postmedia.com

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