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June 28, 2007
State Police seize equipment at Key Research
FORT SUMNER, New Mexico (STPNS) -- New Mexico State Police on June 22 executed a search warrant at the Key Research facility at 571 North 10th Street in Fort Sumner.
Computers, documents and equipment and equipments were seized during the execution of the search warrant. No charges have been filed and State Police declined comment on what they called an ?ongoing investigation.?
The facility is operated by Kenneth West, who says he conducts research on the use of low-intensity lasers to introduce natural substances into the body, and its potential for pain relief. More than 2,500 persons have come to Fort Sumner for treatment by West in the past three years, including persons from numerous other states and at least 19 foreign countries. He said he treats 700 to 800 clients a month.
According to the nine-page affidavit used to obtain the search warrant, New Mexico State Police agent Warren Persall sought the records and equipment as part of an investigation of Key Research by the New Mexico Medical Board. The affidavit said the Medical Board investigated West for practicing medicine without a license, then referred the case to the 10th District Attorney?s office. The case was referred to the State Police by Assistant District Attorney Len Walker, the affidavit states.
The affidavit lists a number of local residents interviewed by the State Police about the Key Research facility including Dr. Joyce Roberts, nurse practitioner Kay Caraway and administrator Joy Garner of the De Baca Family Practice Center; and public health nurse Nancy Giannini, a former Key Research employee.
West, who was out of state at the time the warrant was served and has not yet returned, told the De Baca County News in a telephone interview that he feels a complaint from Roberts is the basis for the investigation.
Roberts declined to say if she had filed a complaint, or if she know of anyone who had.
?It?s important for the people of the community to know that there are agencies in the state where they can file a complaint anonymously and confidentially if they have concerns about health care,? said Roberts. ?If there is nothing there, then (the investigation) will soon go away.?
West said he approached the New Mexico Medical Board when he set up his operation in 2005 and explained what he was doing. He said he was told that based on the work he was doing, a medical license was not needed.
Six months after he opened, West said he directed his attorney to contact the Medical Board again to make sure there were no problems with his facility. There were none to his knowlege, West said.
West said he does not diagnose medical problems, nor treat symptoms, nor prescribe any type of medication and does not feel he has violated the New Mexico Medical Practice Act. He does not have a fee schedule, asking only for donations if a client feels the treatments have helped them.
?So, I?m quite surprised about (the confiscation of his records and equipment),? West said. ?I?ve been honest and open about what we do and I really don?t know where or what went wrong at this point.?
Garner told the De Baca County News no one has filed a complaint against West on behalf of De Baca Family Practice and that the information she provided to Persall was based on a public meeting in which West approached the Clinic Board about becoming affiliated with the clinic and using space in the facility.
Asked if she or anyone that works for her had filed a complaint against West, Garner said, ?I have no knowlege of anyone filing a complaint on behalf of the clinic.?
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