Dr. Steve Hotze is the founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in Houston, TX where they’ve helped more than 30,000 patients to take charge of their health. But Steve Hotze is more than just a doctor — he’s an entrepreneur and a pioneer who has spent his career pushing back on the HMO’s, PPO’s, insurance companies, and big-pharma to build a medical practice that’s focused on one thing…the patient’s health.
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Take me back to the time when you first decided that you wanted to be a doctor. How long ago was that and what was that moment like for you?
Well, my wife Janie and I got married right out of high school. I went to the University of Texas. At Texas I went into an engineering program. My father had an engineering business, Compressor Engineering Corp. He encouraged me to do that, so I did a year in engineering school, and I did a year in Business Route to Engineering, in the business school. I came to my third year and I was gonna have to do Fortran computer work.
Okay, Fortran. Nice.
You remember that?
Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
That was way before your time.
It’s still around.
Yeah. So anyway, I thought “I just don’t wanna do that. I’m not interested in that.” I said “I guess what I’ll do is I’ll go get a biology degree.” I had some doctors that I had looked up to as a young man in high school, and I thought “I’ll just go to med school.” I didn’t have a burning desire to go to med school. I had a paint contracting business in high school, and a paint contracting remodeling business in college that put me through college.
When you say “I had” you mean that you owned these businesses?
It was called HoPaCo - Hotzy Paint Contracting Company. I had four friends of mine from high school that worked for me in college… So we painted homes in the nicest area of Austin, and did home remodeling.
So that’s what I did, and I graduated in 3,5 years. I took my MedCat which is the medical boards and got interviewed and got accepted to the University of Texas in Houston. Interestingly enough, I had decided if I’m not admitted to med school, I will just go on to homebuilding; I enjoyed construction, I’ll go do homebuilding. But I got into the University of Texas, and interestingly enough, the first course I had to take in medical school was a Computer Route to Medicine; I had to take another computer course, and I went “Oh my gosh, I don’t wanna do that”, and I literally thought “Maybe I’ll just drop out of med school, if I have to learn computers.” Now I’m a big computer guy and we have all kinds of computers, but at that time I didn’t – I’m not a highly detailed person; I’m more of a 36,000-foot guy, entrepreneur, so I don’t like the details so much. I like the big picture.
[00:03:57.10] But anyway, I got into med school at that time, and that’s how I ended up in med school. I believe it was God’s divine providence that was there, because he had plans for me to do something that would help people in a way that I hadn’t really thought about it, and that’s getting into natural approaches to health.
So I went to medical school, started in 1972 at the University of Texas in Houston, and graduated in 1976. Married, by the time I got out of med school we had four children, and then the night I graduated from med school my dad held a banquet at the Houston Club downtown. I have six brothers and a sister, so they were there, and family, friends, and dad was honoring me for graduating from med school. And over dinner, my dad turned to me and said, “Son…” I said, “Yes, sir.” He said, “Son, don’t poison your patients like all the other doctors do.” So he planted a seed in my mind that ultimately gave birth 13 years later to the Hotze Health & Wellness Center here in the greater Houston area, out in Katy.
During medical school I was somewhat of a maverick. I challenged things, I questioned a lot. I learned from a professor by the name of Dr. Herb Fred, who has recently passed, God rest his soul; he’s a great guy… He always taught us to ask “Why?” If somebody told you something or gave you a diagnosis or recommended this or that, he said “Always ask why. Why is that so.” And when we would make our presentations to him on patients, and make our diagnosis or our treatment recommendations, he would always ask “Well, why do you think that’s the case? Why?” So he would always challenge our thinking. So I learned that from Dr. Fred, always to challenge conventional thinking.
My mother had taught me “Don’t follow the herd. If you do, you’re gonna get run off a cliff, or get stampeded.” So I just never have followed the herd, I’ve always questioned why things are done, and if it makes sense to me, I’ll try it. Even if it’s against conventional wisdom, or against orthodoxy, if something makes sense to me, and somebody’s done it and they recommend I try it if it makes sense to me, I often times am gonna try it, even if it goes totally 180 degrees opposite to what everybody says should be done.
It’s a different trait to have not as a doctor, this maverick sort of attitude.
Right. Well, you know, in medicine, like probably most fields - you think of law, I’m sure it’s the same way in software, it’s the same way in accounting… You’ve got rules, regulations, and you just follow those, and there’s systems that have been built, and you go to school and you learn the system. That’s the way it’s been done, and you don’t question it because you’re the learner, and they are the mentors, and they’re telling you that… So my experience is with most physicians - and it’s probably in most professions - most people aren’t willing to think outside the box they’re living in. Why? Because it means you’re gonna have to change things, to do things differently, and when you do things differently, people look at you oddly, like “Why are you doing it that way? Everybody else does it this way.”
So I’m somewhat of a contrarian. That doesn’t mean I’m against everything that everybody does, by any means, shape or form, but on some big issues, particularly in healthcare, the whole concept that we can help people get well by giving them toxic pharmaceutical drugs - it doesn’t make a bit of sense to me. Not because I don’t believe in double-blind studies; I don’t need double blind studies to tell me you can’t poison yourself to good health, no matter what you do. I don’t care how many studies you and tell me it’s good, if you’re taking a toxin that has to be detoxified by your body, you’re building up toxins in your body, even if they’re made by a pharmaceutical company and prescribed by a doctor. It can’t be good for you if you put toxins in your body. There’s gotta be another way to get yourself on a path to health and wellness.
Something you’ve said I think is pretty interesting - we don’t lack a pharmaceutical intake.
Nobody’s sick because of low levels of pharmaceutical drugs.
[00:07:55.26] God’s given the body amazing restorative powers, if you put the right molecules in your body, whether it’s the nutrients you eat, whether it’s the right hormones, whether it’s the right vitamins and minerals… If you put the right substances in your body, your body can heal itself. But if you put substances that never existed before in nature, how can you believe the body is gonna take things that never existed in nature and make you well? That just doesn’t make sense.
When you were well at one time in your life, it wasn’t because you were taking pharmaceutical drugs. If you’re sick now, it’s not because you need pharmaceutical drugs in your body.
So you’ve got 43 years of medical history behind you…
30 years or more…
Doing natural approaches.
Doing natural. And you’ve got confidence in saying what you say, right?
We’ve evaluated 31,000 guests; we call our patients “guests”. So we’ve seen remarkable, life-changing, transforming health experiences in our guests. Does every one of our guests get well? No, they don’t. We started on programs and I’ve slowly built our regimen so we incorporate airborne allergies, food allergies, treatment of yeast, natural thyroid home-owned supplementation, treatment with sex hormone replacement, treatment of adrenal fatigue, vitamin and mineral supplementation, a good, healthy eating program - we usually recommend ketogenic - and an exercise program. These are the points of our regiment. Does everybody get well on that? No, because some people have other problems going on, and we’re always looking for other things. Some people have Lyme’s disease, some people have problems with methylation, they don’t get the right B vitamins and they can’t detoxify their body properly. You need to address that in certain ways.
Some people don’t get well because they don’t wanna take charge of their health. They come in literally and pay good, hard-earned money to get up on a program, and then just say “I can’t do it, and don’t wanna do it.” Or they come in and they wanna do it, but their spouse derides them or doesn’t give them support, and tells them they’re stupid for having come and seen another doctor, and spending more money, and they’re just crazy and they need to stay on their anti-depressants… So they go to a conventional physician.
Yeah, an internist or some other doctor, and they go “Why are you going there? That’s crazy. You can’t get well on that. You need to take my drugs.” So we get derided by those in conventional medicine… Which is okay. But there are those patients that have tried conventional medicine and have a heartache, because they never got better, and they’re on a pot-full of drugs… So many drugs you’d think they have to have a pharmacy license, because their cabinet is full of all these drugs - antidepressants, anti-anxiety, sleep medication, anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, antiarrhytmics, anti-diabetic drugs, anti-hypertensive medication… All these antidotes to mask problems which don’t address the underlying cause of their symptoms. High blood pressure is not a diagnosis, by the way. It’s a…
It’s a symptom of an underlying problem. What can cause high blood pressure – the most common cause of high blood pressure in our experience has been low magnesium levels, being overweight, eating improperly… So if somebody came into our office and we check their blood pressure, and they hadn’t ever been diagnosed with high blood pressure and it was elevated, I’m not gonna tell them they have high blood pressure; the first reason people have high blood pressure in doctor’s offices is white coat syndrome. That’s why we don’t wear white coats here.
So we check their blood pressure, and 25% of the people will just have high blood because they’re nervous being in a doctor’s office. So we say “Go home, get yourself a blood pressure kit at the Walgreens or CVS and monitor your blood pressure in the morning and in the evening. Let’s look what it is at home.” Then we also say “Let’s get on a good, healthy eating program, let’s get our weight down, let’s exercise, let’s take some magnesium and some other vitamins or nutrients and let’s see how you do over the next month. Let’s check you back.” One time doesn’t mean you have high blood pressure, but often times you go to a conventional doc and they’ll slap you on some – “Oh, you’ve got high blood pressure. It’s too high, we’ve gotta put you on some medication.” They put you on one, and usually it’s a diuretic, which is a water pill; you spill magnesium, which means now you’re low in magnesium to begin with and have high blood pressure - now it gets worse, it doesn’t go down. Then they put you on a second blood pressure medication, and then a third. And the blood pressure medications can make you feel terrible, they can adversely affect your thyroid function and your ability to use thyroid in your body, and it’s a heck of a problem.
[00:12:25.21] So what I’m trying to say is what you wanna be sure to do if you’re seeing a conventional doctor, you wanna make sure you educate yourself about what’s going on. Go on the internet, there’s plenty you can learn about health conditions on the internet… And if your doctor says, “Well, that couldn’t be that.” For instance, thyroid is a very common problem that’s overlooked by doctors, because the blood tests come out in the normal range, but I believe - and many physicians that practice the way I practice believe - if a person has the signs and symptoms of low thyroid, whether it shows up in the blood test out of the range of the normal range which the lab finds, even if it doesn’t fall out of range, it doesn’t mean that they’re not hypo-thyroid within their selves, because that’s all we’re measuring, blood, and I believe they deserve a therapeutic trial of thyroid preparation. Conventional doctors don’t do that, but we’ve treated thousands, tens of thousands, over 30,000 people with thyroid, with tremendous results.
So when I go back and I talked about our program, it has been a life-changing, a life-revolutionizing, transforming health experience for literally tens of thousands of people… And not just for the individual, but for their family. Because if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
And if poppa ain’t happy, nobody can be happy either.
Yes, sir. What I hear there is that you’ve got this confidence as a doctor, this ability to run this kind of practice, and what you’ve described to me, the way you’ve got this confidence is through results.
You’ve got 30,000 patients - you called them “guests”, and I’m a guest here as well, which is… You know, for the listeners tuning into this - that’s why I’m sitting here with Dr. Hotze right now; this man is super-successful as a business person, super-successful as a doctor, and I wanna figure out how in the world he did both of those. They seem to be mutually exclusive, but maybe not. This man here is a doctor and an entrepreneur, and I think that’s amazing, because we have so many conventional doctors out there… And not that they’re bad; part of my curiosity - and hopefully you can help me find this out - is why are doctors not pursuing the kind of… What’s stops a doctor from being a good doctor, basically?
What stops a doctor from thinking out of the box is because he’s concerned about what his fellow physicians are gonna say about him. He’s gonna be out of the norm. When anybody - whether in the medical profession or any profession - does something that’s out of the norm, that’s considered eccentric or different, people look at you and you come under scrutiny… And people don’t like to do that. People routinely like to go with the herd; that’s just human nature. They don’t wanna be different, because it requires taking leadership, it requires challenging the powers that be… And frankly, if you challenge the powers that be in medicine, they’ll come after you.
That’s happened in my practice way back when I wrote my first book, in 2005; within six months I had three complaints to the Medical Board. Confidential. I don’t know who filed them. I know they were filed by other doctors, but they won’t tell you. There’s no due process. But they got me on advertising. I wrote a book, and they claimed that I violated the advertising code of the Medical Board. Well, this is America. It’s a free press. I can write a book about anything I want to, much less about medicine, since it’s my field. Of course, I had to gear up for that. I had to get lawyers, and go up and go before panels at the Board, and I was exonerated, it was dismissed, but it cost me a lot of time and effort to do that, and that’s the way medical boards and bureaucratic agencies intimidate people.
[00:16:04.27] They use the power of Federal Government and politics to try to intimidate you to follow the herd, to stay in line… And thank God we won that. We did, and we continued on and basically, thanks be to God, we haven’t had any problems with that since that time. But I fought the Board, and I didn’t take it laying down; I ended up suing the Board, as a matter of fact. I even sued on another issue the FDA. We used natural bioidentical hormones and in 2003 they wanted to take them off the market. They didn’t want compounding pharmacists to make them. I got a group of pharmacies I led, and we sued the Federal Drug Administration in Midland Federal Court, and won in Federal Court in Midland, and went to the Fifth Circuit Court and won. And they stayed off of us; they wouldn’t mess with us anymore, because they knew…
And then when they tried to get rid of another bioidentical hormone, I led a nationwide campaign that had hundreds of thousands of people call and write into the FDA to tell them not to take these compounded preparations off the market. And I stayed politically active, so I’ve got friends in Washington that I can go to to put pressure on the FDA when they’re trying to keep you, as a patient, from having the availability of natural approaches to health, and when they try to keep me as your physician to offer you natural approaches to health.
It’s a big fight we’re in, because the pharmaceutical industry and the medical industry doesn’t want anybody challenging their hegemony, their control of the system, and what we’re up against is we’re up against a medical industrial complex. You’ve got the pharmaceutical companies, you’ve got the hospitals, you’ve got the insurance companies, you’ve got organized medicine, and the government - all organized together to govern the way your medicine is being delivered to you, and what kind of medicine you can get… And it’s not natural approaches to health, because there’s no money in that. Healthy people don’t spend money on pharmaceutical drugs, on hospitalizations, and don’t have high insurance costs… So by keeping people sick, you’re a cash cow now to the pharmaceutical company, and as you get older to the hospitals, because you’re gonna go and have surgery, you’re gonna have hospitalizations…
…and you’re a cash cow to the insurance companies, because as the cost of medical care goes up, guess what they do? They just raise the premiums. They have no incentive to have you healthy and well, because then the premiums would be low… And they’re guaranteed - the insurance boards in the various states guarantee the insurance companies X amount of profit. So if they’re guaranteed they can make 10% profit and they’re generating a billion dollars in premium revenues, then they could make 100 million dollars.
“Oh, but if we have a lot of sick people and the cost goes up, we can charge two billion dollars in premiums, and we get 10% of that. That’s 200 million dollars.” So there’s no incentive for the pharmaceutical, no incentive for the insurance companies or the hospitals to help you get well, so the cost of health goes down. They want the cost of health to go up; the patients in America are cash cows to the medical industrial complex. That’s the long and the short of it.
Yeah. I don’t understand why it’s so like that. I guess the motivation there would be…
Here’s what my dad said, years ago… He said, “Son, if something seems inexplicable, or out of the ordinary, or not good common sense, and people are doing something, there’s always a money trail.” And that’s what it is, it’s a money trail.
Let’s go back to your dad with this wisdom, because I want you to touch on the influence of your parents. I know your story, to some degree, being your father being the first influencer to say, as you mentioned earlier, “Don’t poison your patients.” Can you speak to the importance of parental involvement in influencing you in particular, maybe just generally entrepreneurs, or anybody that’s a maverick, willing to challenge the status quo? The importance of that parental guidance.
[00:20:02.26] Well, my mom and dad were strong Christians growing up. They were in the Catholic Church, but they were strong Christians, had a strong faith in God, and they instilled that in each one of us in the family, there was no question. We always believed in Christ, we believed in God, and we knew that was important. We went to Catholic schools and we were raised to know right and wrong. So they gave us first a good moral foundation to conduct our life.
That doesn’t mean we were perfect, for crying out loud; we were disciplined all the time for breaking the rules, because it was a family full of boys. There were seven boys and my poor momma. So anyway, they kept us in line and they taught us right and wrong.
My dad was a sales engineer Dresser Industries, a Dresser clerk. He graduated from Oklahoma University in 1935, during the Depression; he was born in 1915. And then he went into sales engineering, and he sold reciprocating engines on the gas pipelines all over the country.
Then in 1964 he started his own business. He started in the breakfast room of our home, manufacturing parts for all gas pipeline compressors. He built that up into a compressor engineering corporation, which exists to the day, and one of my brothers is the president to the company, I’m on the board and part owner in the company.
So I saw my dad grow that business and all the hard work he did, and I was just geared that was. I was the oldest of eight, and I remember dad told me “Son, if you wanna have money, you’re gonna have to go out and make it.” This was as a kid.
He wasn’t giving it to you.
No. There was no allowance. We had eight kids, there’s no way you can… I mean, he’s gotta raise eight kids, so my dad had to be an entrepreneur…
So you had to put in the work.
So I had to work. I had a paper route, then I had a lawn mowing business, and then I had a paint contracting business, all while I lived at home. And then because I had that entrepreneurial spirit, after that I set up that business that I talked about earlier, in college. Necessity is the mother of invention. “Hey, you wanna take a girl out on a date? You’d better go make some money.” So that’s what I did.
And then mom was always very important on encouraging each one of us, and encouraging me to be a leader. Don’t be a follower, because if you follow people, you’re gonna get stampeded. You move away from the herd and you’re moving in the wrong direction, because the herd is usually going in the wrong direction… So mom had a big influence, and dad did, and I loved them both, and they were just great parents, a great example.
Dad died in a – it was through one of his health issues that I finally made the final turn in 1988-1989 to natural approaches to health, when he had a heart problem. I took him to see one of my friends who was a cardiologist, and had him evaluated. He had a blocked artery in his heart, so they did angioplasty, and during that procedure they blew up his artery, and he had significant heart damage, and had to immediately have by-pass surgery.
He lived through that, but he was not pleased that it happened to him and that he’d let the doctors invade his body… And so two weeks after he’d been released from the hospital he called me over to the house and said “Son, I don’t know what the Sam Hill I was thinking letting these doctors invade my body. I’ve got a calcified artery, how can they stretch it? How can they balloon it? It’s gonna crack, just like our pipelines crack when they have pressure put on them. If they’ve got a crack in them, and you put pressure on them, they’re gonna blow, like what happened to my artery.” So he gave me this article by Dr. Julian Whitaker. Dr. Whitaker talked about the dangers of letting the doctors invade your body. This is in ‘88 - there was a 15% of chance of dying after a heart attack if they do angioplasty, 5% chance of dying if they do by-pass surgery, and 1% chance if all you do is don’t let the doctors touch you; just exercise, lose weight, keep your blood pressure under control and take vitamins and minerals and nutrients. So dad said “Son, what do you think?” I said, “I wish we’d have tried it.” He said, “The doc says I need to take vitamins. What do I need to take?” And I was like a deer in the headlights…
This is pre-Hotze Wellness Clinic, right?
[00:24:07.13] This is 1988, November by the end. I said, “Dad, I’m a doctor. What do I know about vitamins? I don’t know anything.” He said, “Would you find out?” And so I did. Now we have a multi-million-dollar vitamin business, and we ship vitamins all over the world… Which goes back to a key principle that I learned from Napoleon Hill, where he said “In every adversity there’s a seed of equal or greater benefit.” So with my dad’s adversity, he challenged me to do what he had told me earlier - “Don’t poison all your patients like the other doctors do.” Now he said, “Go learn about vitamins.” And I did, and I learned about other natural approaches to health… And we’ve gotten tens of thousands of people healthy and well, because of my dad’s problem.
Then my dad - I got him up on a lot of this… In fact, he told me about Coenzyme Q10, he said “You need to learn about Coenzyme Q10.” What’s that? Well, that’s a very important molecule in the body that helps the heart muscle develop energy. He had heart failure, so we got him up on Coenzyme Q10 and he did great.
So I started seeing my dad improve on these natural modalities, and I said “Well, you know what? We’re just gonna start treating our patients that way.” And we did, and they got well.
That was the spark for you.
That was it.
Let’s go back to that timeframe, and let’s maybe gear towards the business side of being a doctor, maybe the doctor that you are in this clinic…
Hotze Health & Wellness Center.
I think what I wanna figure out is – we see doctors every day; the doctors that I’m most familiar with are less entrepreneurial… Maybe I meet the wrong ones, or maybe I don’t know enough doctors… But how do you build a business around medicine? Obviously, it seems pretty clear, but how do you build this kind of business, being a maverick, challenging the status quo, being sued or being accused when you write a book…? How do you get the thick skin, how do you do what you’ve done?
Well, it all goes back to what my mother taught me, to be a leader, and what I learned at St. Thomas High School… I was a quarterback on the football team, I was president of the student body. Our football coaches taught us to be winners. Just go out and win. Take leadership, go out and make it happen. We used to beat public high schools all over the state. I learned how to be a winner doing that, and I learned to have convictions, because my parents had convictions… Not only in our faith, but in what’s right and what’s wrong, and I saw this as being the right way to do things. It’s the right thing to do. I don’t wanna keep patients sick and tired. And I found when I took care of patients’ health and saw their underlying health problems instead of masking them, all of a sudden we got busier and crazy. People started getting well and telling other people, and then I started a market.
I had a practice on the North side of town, up until 1989, when I opened up out in Katy, way out at the old [unintelligible 00:26:48.07] Hospital out there. That was in July of ’89. We moved here in ’91, in January of ‘91, and I put out brochures, I sent out brochures about what we did. We did primarily airborne and food allergy, yeast, and vitamin and minerals at that time. So I put that information out, I mailed everybody in the neighborhood, I was on TV, I marketed, so I did TV commercials… I used to [unintelligible 00:27:16.21] and just said “Come on out, I’m gonna shoot a commercial.” He’d come to the office, I’d shoot a commercial, and we’d go put it on the cable TV. I started here in Katy, we just started advertising, and marketing, and people started to come.
Now, when I started to market on the other side of town, it was unheard of for doctors to market. I put my ad [unintelligible 00:27:34.08] back in the ‘80s, and the doctors at the hospital were just chagrined that I would think of advertising… But I said, “Look, doc, the insurance companies are trying to get my patients to go in HMO’s. They’re stealing them from me. The hospitals are setting up practices taking my patients… I’ve gotta market. You’re crazy if you don’t market.” And they had laws about advertising. Anyway, I just said “It’s America, it’s a free press. I’m gonna let people know what I could do to help them. I’ve got something to offer.”
[00:28:04.15] It was in the early 1990’s, after I’d set up here, my chief of staff came to me and said “Dr. Hotze, you’ve gotta join the HMO’s and PPO’s. If you don’t, you’re not gonna have a practice. All the patients want you to join. They’re joining these HMO’s and PPO’s.”
This was a different world then too, when that was beginning, so everyone was jumping on the HMO bandwagon.
It was just beginning, yeah. And they got all these doctors to buy into the situation… I had been approached about it years earlier, on the North side of town, several year earlier, and I realized then “That’s a scam. That is a scam. The insurance companies think they’re gonna treat the patients… They’re gonna take the money and then they’re gonna capitate and give me a little bit, and keep all the other money for themselves. That doesn’t make sense to me. And they’re gonna get between me and the patient, tell them what I have to do, and if I’m a good boy and don’t order a lot of lab tests they’re gonna give me a bonus at the end of the year for a couple of thousand dollars.”
Is that how it works?
Yeah, that’s how it works.
That’s how being a doctor even today is?
Oh yeah, it does. So I said “I’m not gonna do that.” But she kept wearing me down, and finally I said “Okay, Sherry. Check into it.” And then my current president of my company was on my staff at that time and she overheard me say that, Monica Luedecke. She came up to me in the hall after Sherry walked away, and said “Dr. Hotze, I will throw myself down, kicking and screaming, if you ever join an HMO and PPO.” And she told me about how she had worked for a pediatrician’s office a few before she came to work for me, and they had adopted HMO’s and PPO’s, and how it totally ruined the morale in the office. The doctors had to see twice as many patients, and they weren’t making as much money… It was a terrible situation. And she said “You offer things to patients they’d be willing to pay you for. Don’t do that.” And she’s not a direct person, but she was very direct that day; she’s usually indirect, but she was very direct, and I thank God for that…
That was a pivotal moment.
It was. That was a pivotal moment. And God used her in my life at that point, and I thank God for her, because we never have done HMO’s or PPO’s. People always ask “Why don’t you do insurance?” If I join an HMO and PPO, the HMO’s and PPO’s have treatment protocols that are adopted by their physicians, most of whom have relations with pharmaceutical companies, and they have a plan. I’ve gotta treat them with these pharmaceutical drugs, and every HMO and PPO is different; sometimes it’s the same drugs, but it might be different drugs. Based on certain laboratory values, you’ve gotta give this drug.
Now if I go to a conference and I learn about natural approaches to health, and say “Look, I think those Statin are dangerous. We’re not gonna give Statin drugs for blood pressure. We’re gonna do some other things. We can get people on thyroid, we’re gonna get them on Vitamin C, get then on Vitamin D, we’re gonna get them on some other medication. That will get up their metabolism, and their cholesterol is gonna come down naturally.” If you do that, then the insurance company will whack your hand and say “You can’t do that. If you do that, you’re out of the program.” Well, I’m earning my money from the insurance companies, so if I don’t do what they say, they knock me out of the program; how am I gonna make any money.
Basically, doctors are agents of the insurance companies and the drug company cartel. It’s a cartel, and they are the drug agents. They are the guys that are selling the drugs, pushing the drugs to the people.
That was one of my questions - why is it better for your practice to not accept insurance? It seems counter-patient… I’m not really sure how to describe it. As one of your guests for a while there, I would say that was my initial concern. Not so much like why, but more like “How do I pay out of pocket for this?” Because we’ve been trained by the system - as you mentioned earlier, which is how you’re a maverick, as you described earlier… You’ve said that that is just the way that we’re programmed to think that’s how medicine, how being a doctor, how being a patient works.
[00:32:03.10] The insurance companies, which I pay for to have the ability to go to a doctor - they’re in-between and my doctor’s ability to treat me. And maybe conventional medicine - and this is, I’m sure, why you’re in the position you’re in - that’s not how it’s supposed to be done.
It’s like any other service - medical insurance should be for catastrophic problems: hospitalization, you get in a car wreck, you get shot, you break an arm…
It’s a risk, for insurance, but it’s not for daily maintenance.
You have a car, and you go to the filling station; you don’t pull up and say “Here’s my insurance card. I’ll copay on my gas.” Or “I want you to change my oil. Here’s my copay, and bill the rest to insurance.” Or “Get me new tires, and bill the rest to insurance.” No. You pay for general maintenance, you’re in charge of that.
Now, here’s a novel idea that I came up with - why don’t we have our guests (patients) pay for the services at the time they’re rendered? Just like when you go to Capital Grille, or you go to a restaurant to eat. You don’t give them an insurance card and say “I’ll pay the copay, and the insurance is gonna pay for the rest.” No, you pay for it. And guess what, you’re in charge of your health.
Now, there are other ways you don’t have to buy insurance that you may not be familiar with, but there are some out of network ways to go out of insurance and you can get onto the health plans. There are health plans out there that cost about one fifth of the insurance plans, and they pay – they can’t call themselves insurance policies. They will cover everything; office visits and everything. And you only pay about a fifth. And how do they get by and do it with – where is all that money going, if they’re a fifth the price of an insurance company, and they provide hospitalization and everything else; they take care of you, but it only costs a fifth. How much money are these insurance companies making off people?
And the prices, I understand, have gone through the ceiling ever since Obamacare got in, ACA. They’ve gone up double; some of them have doubled in price already, which is ridiculous. How can the common person afford that? How can the common business afford that? They can’t, and that’s why there’s this cry for – why they’re trying to do is drive these things so we have full government care; the government’s gonna pay for it. It’s gonna be “free”. Nothing’s free. Somebody pays for the care, and what happens in a socialized system - you think the care is bad now the way it is? Well, it really goes down, because now you’re a cost center to the government; every time you’re sick, it costs some money. They don’t wanna spend the money.
In a private and you’ve got a problem - I wanna see you. If I’m taking cash, you’re part of my income and revenue. I’m incentivized to see you. But if I’m getting paid by the government, I get a salary no matter what, I don’t have to see you. The government doesn’t want me to put you in the hospital, because it’s gonna cost the government money, so in socialized systems that’s why it takes sometimes months and months to get a CAT scan…
The incentives are missing.
Because there’s no incentive. There’s no free enterprise incentive to provide that service, it’s all a government health plan. The doctors become like bureaucrats.
The difference though I think - and correct me if I’m wrong - is it’s not that you don’t just accept insurance, because when I leave, I get the slip that says “Hey, if you want to hand this to whatever private insurance you have…”
I can, but they’re not gonna interface with you directly, and the reason why you have that position is twofold, for the reasons you’ve just mentioned, but more specifically the relationship you can have with your guests.
Right. I want to be in charge, and I wanna…
Because you’re the doctor.
Right. And I want a one-on-one relationship. I don’t want the insurance company or the federal government intervening in my care of the patient. The patient - our guest - has made a decision to come here because they wanna try alternative approaches, natural approaches to health. That’s their freedom to do that. I want to provide that.
[00:36:04.13] Here’s something else I learned from a business coach of mine, coach Burt… He said “Whenever you solve people’s problems, money always exchanges hands.” So what I’ve found is that when we take care of people’s health problems, that they’ve tried to go through insurance companies and doctors to get help, they can’t get help from them. If we solve their problems, they’re glad to pay us money because their problem is worth being solved under the current plan. So that’s something to remember if you’re in business; it’s not applied just to doctors, to every business - if you can solve somebody’s problem (your customer’s problem, your client’s problem, your hotel guests’ or your guests’ problem) they will transfer money to you and pay you for it.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
That’s the free enterprise system.
That’s it! That’s what our country was built on… And I loved it last night, Trump in his speech said “We’re not gonna let the country go socialistic”, which is communist without a gun.
What are your thoughts on big pharma? If you have all these thoughts here… Let me ask this question a different way though, because you said that you wanna have a direct relationship with your patients, and you wanna help your patients make choices. Now, I think there’s a large majority of people who may watch mainstream TV, or normal TV, or even YouTube or whatever - they’re gonna see ads from pharmaceutical companies laying out symptoms and/or descriptions of illnesses and basically direct you to go talk to your doctor about it… Versus the other way, which is you have a relationship with a doctor that cares about your long-term health and wellness, and they’re advising you throughout many years, not just a few years or when you’re sick only. It seems that the world is now skewed to be “You ask the doctor what’s wrong with you.”
For the drug.
Right. You ask them, “Here’s my problems, fix them for me” versus the relationship portion of it. Can you talk about big pharma from that lens?
Well, here’s the lens - big pharma’s got one goal.
Is that a bad word to say? Is “big pharma” a bad word?
I think it’s bad.
Because not all pharmaceutical companies are bad… Are they? There’s some that are good. There’s gotta be good out there, right?
Sir, I’d like to find it.
I don’t trust the pharmaceutical companies as far as I could throw them. They are making drugs that are toxins. You can’t take toxins and get well. All the drugs that are made by the pharmaceutical companies are toxic. The definition of “toxic” is “poisonous.” A toxin is a poison. Every drug you put in your body has to be detoxified by the liver. It goes through a methylation process, where the methyl group is stuck onto the toxin to neutralize it, so it can be excreted in the urine, during the stool. So how can you take toxins or poisons and get well? You can’t.
So this is for treating ailments, chronic conditions…
You’re not saying pharmaceuticals are bad in the scenarios where “Hey, I broke my leg. I’ve got pain. I need to manage it for the time being” - is there any time that pharmaceuticals are okay?
Well, there are gonna be some cases where you could use it, like pain medication. The problem is with the pain medication oftentimes those things are so very addictive that people can have problems, and the next thing you know they’re hooked on them.
Yeah, it’s a whole other problem. Right.
I mean, on something which you were taking to get rid of pain, but they liked it so much when they got rid of the pain that they were hooked on the drug. These drugs are all very addictive.
Are they trying to get people addicted to drugs?
Absolutely, sure. The anti-depressants, the anti-anxiety and sleep medications are all highly addictive. They have terrible withdrawal effects… They know they do. They deny it, but they do have severe withdrawal effects. And they know that, but they do that anyway. And they know they increase the – antidepressants, for instance, increase the risk of suicide; they have black labels on the bottle, it says “It may increase the risk of suicidal ideation and thought and action.” What does that mean? Why would I take something that– if I thought somebody was depressed and I’m a doctor, why would I give them a drug that says “May increase the risk of suicide.” Why would I do that? I mean, help me. People are not depressed because they have low levels of anti-depressants in their body; that’s just not right.
Yeah. People don’t wanna take charge of their health, they want a pill. The drug companies advertise on TV to convince the public that what they have can mass their problem, or alleviate their symptom. If you’re into symptom relief, which most doctors are - “Just relieve the symptom, mass the problem. Don’t make the diagnosis, don’t find out what’s causing it… Just give them the drug.” But you mentioned that they talk on the commercial about the problems you have and their solution for it, but you didn’t mention in the last 15 minutes they talk about all the side effects of these drugs.
You maybe laugh, because it reminded me of that… That’s either the thing they say at first, because now the regulations may be that you have to describe the downsides to taking the drug, versus after describing what it solves… And then I think you may have even said, either here or other times we’ve spoken, that you often take one drug and then have to take another to combat what this one’s doing, or offset, or upper or downer it, that kind of scenario.
Sure. Some of the saddest cases I’ve seen here at our center… And I see this more commonly in women than I do in men. A third of the women in the middle and upper income groups, a third of them above the age of 30 are taking anti-depressants… And they don’t need anti-depressants. Most of them have hormonal changes, they may have female hormone changes that need to be balance, they have thyroid problems that need to be corrected, they may simply have eating problems, they’re not eating the right kinds of foods, and that causes them to be unhealthy. These things can be corrected naturally, without drugs. But once you get them on drugs, it’s just hard to come off those drugs.
If someone hears your mission, just a natural approach to medicine, sometimes you think kind of quack, or weird… How have you personally offset the ability or this stigma or this myth of a natural approach?
I stigmatize the conventional doctors that don’t have the courage or don’t have the energy… They’re just basically lazy and they don’t have the energy or the guts to stand up against conventional medicine and go out and read about this. I’ve written in my books, everybody in medicine ought to be practicing with their patients, that sees the general public for problems of aging - they ought to be practicing the way I’m practicing. I’ve taught a lot of doctors to do this, and their practices are thriving, they’re on a cash-based practice, their patients are getting well, they’re getting well on the same things that I’ve recommended.
I’ve set up a business called Hotze Elite Physicians. Hotze Elite Physicians is set up to train doctors on my medical protocols - natural approaches to health, and my business protocols. How to transition out of insurance practices into concierge practices. So we’ve just rolled that out for doctors, and our goal is to train doctors to think differently.
Hey, look, it’s a red badge of courage. If somebody complains about what I do or doesn’t like what I do, I know it’s just professional rivalry. They could do what I do, they’re just lazy, basically, and they don’t want to take the time to study and challenge conventional thinking.
Listen, there’s a story about Dr. Semmelweis, who was back in the early 1800’s a physician in Austria. He was an OB-GYN, and what they found happening in the hospital is that their patient would get puerperal sepsis, females would get infected in their vagina, in their uterus after they had babies. They’d get puerperal sepsis, which is a strep infection, and they would die. They’d get puerperal fever and die.
[00:44:01.03] Among women that had babies from midwives, at their homes, they didn’t have the problem. It was rare. So Dr. Semmelweis started thinking what could be causing it. The doctors, between births, would go down into the cadaver labs without gloves on and they would work on the cadavers… So they picked up all the bacteria on the cadavers. Then when they’d go to deliver, they didn’t have gloves on and they didn’t wash their hands, and they would transfer the germs. This is before germ theory, this is before Pasteur, so they didn’t know there were germs… But they would pass that on to the patients.
So Dr. Semmelweis tried washing his hands. He washed his hands and he noticed that his patients didn’t get puerperal sepsis; so he made the recommendation that all the doctors wash their hands. Oh, my gosh, you thought he was a heretic! They brought him in front and tried him, they stripped him of his license… No doctor could feasibly carry a disease, doctors couldn’t be causing that; you know, they’re next to God, doctors couldn’t do that, so it was heresy for him to do that… And he was thrown out, went back to hungry, and ultimately he died a pauper, because he stood up… But he did what was right. He knew it was right, but… The medical profession – I mean, they used to believe people with leeches, for crying out loud in a bucket.
The medical profession comes up with its orthodoxy, even if it’s wrong, and once it’s adopted, then everybody does it. If you don’t do it, then you’re thrown out of the club. That’s just the way they work. But we’re seeing more and more individuals - in fact, well over 50% of the population takes some type of vitamins and minerals on their own, without even the doctors recommending it, and we are seeing more and more doctors… I would say there’s probably in the country somewhere 10% to 20% of the doctors have moved towards natural approaches to health. The largest medical society besides the American Medical Association is A4M, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, which has over 25,000 members, of which over 20,000 are physicians. That’s the second-largest medical society nationwide, and they train in natural approaches to health, what I do.
Let’s go back to this educational process you have for doctors. I wanna key in on that, because I think that’s pretty awesome… For one, that you’ve obviously perfected and mastered being a doctor, being an entrepreneur, building a business - you’ve done it successfully, you’ve recruited some of the best staff I’ve ever experienced in ever going to a doctor, which is a big reason why I wanna sit down with you… My audience, talking to a doctor - they may not be expecting this show, but I knew I had to do this show because I saw in you not only a trustworthy doctor, that focused on functional medicine, which is what I’ve been educating myself on for years, but finally was able to find someone like you and your center to be able to partner with on my health… But more importantly, that you’re an entrepreneur, and I can see that side of you; I can see that in your business, because when I come in here, I’m treated like a guest.
You have a certain level of care which we’ve just touched on a little bit - you’ve described that it’s there, but not really how you came up with that. I’m really interested in this position where you’re educating other doctors. Do you have to be accredited for that? What kind of scrutiny, what kind of cutthroat situation is that, to be able to educate doctors?
You just have to market, just like you do for patients.
That’s just it?
Yeah. I do a webinar, and then I host…
You don’t have to be a medical school? These are actual doctors that–
These are doctors that already have their own –I wanna teach them natural approaches…
A different way to be a doctor.
A different way. And there are other – you know, the A4M has courses to teach doctors in natural approaches to health, and other doctors do what I do, and some concierge services recommend that. I’m just gonna take doctors and show them my medical protocols - how they can get their patients healthy and well naturally, and how they can be on a cash-based practice that their patients will gladly pay them for the service. That way, the doctor has more time, more money, more freedom to enjoy his life. He’s not enslaved to the insurance companies, and he can take genuine care of his guests… And he’s not pushed, he doesn’t have to see 60 patients a day, for 5 or 10 minutes apiece. The average doctor spends less than 5 minutes of individual time with any of his patients.
I can account for that. That’s true.
Five minutes and that’s it.
[00:48:13.24] My biggest pain point is seeing what you call conventional doctors - to me, they’re just doctors; I didn’t know there was a term for you versus them, or whatever…
Well, I’m unconventional and they’re conventional.
[laughs] That’s right.
They’re mainstream, so to speak.
I had never really considered that – I mean, I’d noticed that I was always perturbed that I get maybe ten minutes if I asked too many questions… It’s almost like you’ve gotta schedule another appointment to get the – “You came in for this, and I don’t have time to talk to you about that, but if you schedule more time…” which is another copay, or if I don’t have the luxury or the ability to have insurance, I’m paying out of pocket for that… Well, now I’ve gotta just pay you more for advice - I haven’t had that scenario here. I don’t know why it’s like that. As a patient - or what you call “guest” - I don’t understand that difference. You maybe do, because you’ve been in this business for so long, and this is what you do; as someone with medical problems or someone who’s seeking a partner in my health, I don’t understand the difference.
The difference in what? Why they don’t spend as much time?
Why they can’t. To me, I just see you both as equals, both doctors.
Well, it has to do with compensation.
I’m now more educated, so I see that part of it, but generally towards people, they’re like “What’s the difference between the doctors? Why can’t they see me? Why can’t they give me more advice? Why do I only get 5-10 minutes at a time?”
Well, if you think about it, if you’re gonna see 60 patients a day and you’re going to do that over six hours, that’s ten patients an hour. If you do it over eight hours, it’s about eight patients an hour. That doesn’t give you much time; less than ten minutes apiece. So you can’t spend but five minutes with him, because you’ve gotta write out some kind of prescription, and you’ve gotta look over a chart…
Some small talk, “How’s the kids?” Or there is none of that really, these days.
They don’t even know my kids.
It’s either getting a capitated fee… I don’t know how much they get now per patients they see. They get a little copay, and then the insurance companies are paying per month X number of dollars per patient that are on their panel, whether they come in or not. Maybe it’s $8, maybe it’s $10 per patient on the panel. They just get that money. So they’re getting paid whether you come in or not. That’s why routinely in HMO and PPO’s offices if you wanna go in, they’re saying “Well, we can see you in two weeks, or three weeks.” “Well, I need to get in today.” “Well, we’re not covered today.”
But if you’re a cash-based patient - most of those doctors do cash pay as well; if you were a cash-pay, they go “What HMO–”
“I’m getting money today, I’ll see you today.”
“I’m getting money, so I’ll see you today.”
Yeah, right. Because the HMO’s and PPO’s are taking their time to get them their money.
So yeah, it makes sense. Let me ask you two more questions and then we’ll let you off the hot seat here. There’s so much I could talk to you about, but I’ll keep it to one thing I know you wanna say, and then I wanna ask you about the future. Maybe you said this to some degree, but I wanna ask you about what I heard you say recently - labelitis. You as a patient describing what my concerns or my issues are, and you retort “You’ve got this.” Can you talk about that?
Sure. And I’d say most physicians have this disorder or disease called “labelitis”. They label your symptoms the diagnosis. Diagnosis, by definition, explains the cause of the symptom, what’s causing the symptom.
So you go on to the doctor and you’ve got a headache. He listens to you, he talks to you, and you describe that to him. His initial diagnosis might be “You have migraine. You’ve got a migraine headache.” “Okay.” “Good, here’s the drug for it.” He’s giving you a drug for it. Your question should always be “Why do I have a migraine headache? What is a migraine headache and why do I have it? What’s causing it?” The formal medical term for it is “cephalalgia.” That means headache. So he puts the term in Latin.
[00:52:09.10] You go to him with joint muscle aches and pains he checks you out all over, runs some blood tests, sees you have an elevated ANA, which is an inflammatory mark, and goes “You have fibromyalgia.” You go, “Oh my gosh, that sounds very ominous. So what do I do?” The treatment of fibromyalgia is anti-depressants; they give you anti-depressants.
But what does fibromyalgia mean? Well, that’s a Latin term for fibrous tissue and muscle inflammation, or muscle pain; “myalgia”, muscle pain. So you say “What does fibromyalgia mean?” “Well, it means you have joint muscle pain.” “But that’s what I told you I have”, but I told you in Latin what the diagnosis was. So he labeled, he used your symptom as a label, and now he’s gonna treat the label of the symptom. But he hasn’t told you what’s causing the underlying disorder.
My point is that when a doctor tells you you have a problem, ask him why. What’s causing this? If you have high blood pressure, “Why do I have high blood pressure?” If I’ve got diabetes, “Why do I have diabetes?” “Well, you’ve probably gotta lose weight…” He doesn’t tell you it’s caused by improper eating… In fact, in diabetes - this is what’s crazy - they tell everybody to eat a high grain diet. You know, the food pyramid is upside down for the heart disease and for diabetics. They say, “Eat a lot of grains. Whole grains.” And then you can eat green vegetables, a little bit of meat, and no fat. That’s the diet.
So if you eat a lot of grains - ever since they promoted this in the 1960’s, we’ve gone from 16% of the population overweight to 70% -75%, and 8% obese to about 35% obese, all since we went on this high grain diet, and cut out the fats. Well, if you’re on a high grain diet, you’re converting that to sugar; sugar burns really quickly, so you get sugar highs and sugar lows, you’re always hungry and you always need another donut, or another roll, or another scoop of sugar. You need some candy. And sugar is highly addictive.
Yeah. Well, I could ask you a lot more questions, but the one I wanna end with is probably bringing it back – maybe you’ve thought about this, maybe this is part of your ten-year plan of the last ten years, I don’t really know, but… What’s the future of this? I know you’ve talked about legacy. Maybe not in this conversation here before, but you’ve talked about legacy… What are you doing to set this practice up for when you’re not daily involved? Right now you’re founder, CEO; I don’t think you practice as a doctor right now, I’m not really sure, but…
I see a handful of patients or guests over the last several years, because I’ve taken an interest in heart disease, so I’ve wanted to deal with individuals with heart disease; and I have an interest in Alzheimer’s, trying to correct that problem. So I’ve taken on several guests of ours that have had those problems, that I wanna manage myself, to see if I can correct their underlying problem and reverse their disorder.
So I’ve got five providers that work here with us, and we’ve got a succession plan set up. I don’t plan on retiring. As my dad used to say, “There’s nothing in the Bible about retirement”, it didn’t say anything. As a matter of fact, Moses, when he was 80 years old, old enough to retire, got his big job and had to wander around and lead the Jews around in the desert for 40 years, until they arrived in the Promised Land. So I could [unintelligible 00:55:24.29] and I may live another 20, 30, 40, 50… I have no idea. But as long as I’m alive, I’m gonna continue to be operating this, and we’ll be bringing on new doctors. When I pass, then we have a succession plan for other doctors to continue the work.
I’m thinking less on the morbid side of passing and more along the lines of the future of the practice itself. As you take a more elevated approach - as you said before, the 36,000 view - versus day-to-day as a doctor… How do you see things changing? You’ve got the wellness center, you’ve got the pharmacy, you’ve got vitamins… I didn’t even know about this educational process for the doctors to know about natural medicines.
[00:56:06.04] Our goal is not to grow the primary Hotze Wellness Center much larger than it currently is. We can always see more guests, we can do that, but… What I wanna do is train other doctors in my medical protocols, in my business procedures, so I can lead a wellness revolution, and I don’t have to take on the overhead of a new office, and new staff, and more patients. I don’t wanna become like a mail; I’d much rather train other physicians who are interested in doing what I do, and train them in that all over the country, so we can lead a wellness revolution that spreads and is decentralized; you don’t go to Hotze’s clinic in Houston, and it’s a huge 10-20 story building. That’s not my plans for that. I’d much rather train…
You wanna educate others, you wanna pass it on.
I’d rather train others. It’s easier to scale, than it is to build one big building and keep adding patients to it. As more doctors become interested, and that way… Although we have patients come from all over the world. You’d be surprised. I mean, literally, they come from all over the world. What do you think the farthest a guest comes from? How far?
Egypt, I don’t know. Japan.
I mean, how many doctors in Houston see patients from Mongolia?
Probably not many.
Not many. But anyway, it’s interesting, these patients are all over the world - well, why not train other doctors in their areas to do that? I can train them, and I get compensated to do that, by training them; I’ll be a health coach for them, I’ll be a medical doctor who’s coaching them. I’ll provide consulting to them, and I can train a whole country of doctors to do what I do, just like I’ve trained our physicians here.
Yeah. Well, Dr. Hotze, I really appreciate you as a person for listening to your parents, for being a maverick, for challenging the status quo, because you’ve enabled me to sit here today more healthy than I was four months ago. I’m appreciative of you as a person, the entrepreneur that you are, the doctor that you are, the person you are, and… Thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it.
Hey, it’s been a privilege being with you, and I’m proud of you for taking charge of your health.
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