Is BoneSmart® Knee Replacement Forum…Unbiased?

Advice on whether to have knee replacement surgery or how best to recover from the surgery, seems to be everywhere, but all the information tends to sound the same.

{Enter BoneSmart® Knee Replacement Forum}

BoneSmart® is the most recognized patient forum for all things knee replacement.

There you can get help and advice from other people just like yourself who have experiences to share and hard-earned wisdom to dispense. You’ll be an insider to what really goes on and privy to the real deal ups and downs of surgery recovery, good things to know before you sign on for the actual surgery.

Finally, a knee replacement forum where people without an agenda share unbiased information about their experiences…but is it really?

1. BoneSmart® Does Receive Funding From Orthopedic Manufacturers

BoneSmart® receives limited funding from the following list of orthopedic manufacturers: Zimmer Biomet, Medtronic, Conformis, smith&nephew, Don Joy Othropedics,  CeramTec and MicroPort Orthopedics.

To create the illusion of independence from the industry, ie. small amount of money exchanged and no control over content; forum users can read the following statement on the website:

“While BoneSmart does receive limited support from organizations including orthopedic manufacturers, the manufacturers are not otherwise affiliated with BoneSmart.org and cannot be held responsible for the content contained herein. This website’s content is managed by BoneSmart.”

Who Owns BoneSmart® Knee Replacement Forum?

According to BoneSmart®, it is part of the consumer outreach division of “The Foundation Advanced Research Medicine, Inc. (FARM)”

Googling that exact name, turns up nothing, an extremely rare find.

However, more research reveals that the official name is “The Foundation for Advancement in Research in Medicine, Inc (FARM).

How odd that BoneSmart® would incorrectly spell its’ parent name on the website.

source of knee replacement forum money
Follow The Money

2.  BoneSmart® receives most of it’s funding from FARM

When I finally located the parent website for FARM, a non-profit organization, I learned that the BoneSmart® forum was created

“as an international consumer awareness campaign to help patient-consumers learn about the exciting new advances in hip and knee implant materials in 2005. Using the powerful reach of video, radio, television, print, CD-ROM and the Internet, BoneSmart® is a one-stop information and clinic and hospital referral network for patient-consumers looking for a user-friendly, neutral environment, to explore their options and find the doctor and implant that’s right for their needs. Clinics in the referral network have access to the program and marketing resources to use in their own outreach and patient education programs.

 

3. FARM is generously supported by Orthopedic Manufactuers that support BoneSmart®

FARM is in essence, a shell organization that hides the fact that BoneSmart® is bankrolled by industry sources who use it as a clinic and hospital referral network among other things.

This arrangement allows them to donate money liberally to a non-profit (tax deductible of course) and maintain the illusion that BoneSmart® is a non-partisan, objective source of information rather then an industry sponsored forum cheerleading the promotion of knee replacement surgery.

FARM also “actively pursues revenue sharing relationships with companies and other organizations who share their goal of improving the lives of people with orthopedic disabilities.”

4. CEO of FARM Tied to For Profit Joint Replacement Centers

Interestingly, Richard Warner, the CEO of FARM,  is also the CEO of Joint Replacement Centers  of America, LLC  a start up for profit venture capitalizing on the growth of the joint replacement industry by building free standing outpatient surgical centers across America.

This review of FARM, in 2014, sums it up.  

How is it that the CEO who owns the ‘Bone Smart’ website/message board needs over a million a year to finance that? Seriously, it does not cost a fraction of that much to run a website and message board unless of course the excess ‘expenses’ associated with it go toward SALARY. His status as ‘non profit’ is also exploited by him for FOR PROFIT endeavors such as: jrhamedical.com/ 

                   [Since this was written the jrhamedical.com domain is no longer active]

He needs to be more transparent and disclose what his salary is and also what his FOR PROFIT financial interests are for having this non profit org. 

So here’s a guy who’s got MULTI MILLIONS coming in salary for his for profit endeavors who has set up a ‘non profit’ to promote the joint replacement industry (for profit industries) via corporate sponsors and requesting more millions–and from the general public of patients mind you. He’s got enough of HIS OWN money to run his website. 

Enough of these ‘non profit’ corp CEOs raking in cash like that. There oughta be more TRANSPARENCY laws. 

—- 

Savvy entrepreneur exploits loop holes of non profit status to promote for profit corporate endeavors. 

CEO, Richard Warner has set up the non profit ‘charity’ corp: ‘FARM ortho’ under the premise of ‘helping people’ with joint problems as to help ‘educate’ them about the benefits of joint replacement via his website and message board; ‘Bone Smart’. In effect, he has set up a venue to PROMOTE the joint replacement INDUSTRY which is a FOR PROFIT industry and bring in more patient CONSUMERS to this industry for which he has vested financial interests in promoting. Hence the premise for it existing as non profit; ‘to help educate’ patients resolves to furthering his own financial interests in increasing the market share of potential patients and with that, garnering venture capital to develop and build for profit joint replacement centers. He is also on the board of directors and CEO of of start up venture to develop and build joint replacement centers which is clearly a ‘for profit’ endeavor. 

Hence, I call into question the ‘altruistic’ premise of his non profit status that his website; ‘Bone Smart’ arises from the spirit of ‘charity’ or ‘education’ when it’s so closely tied into MARKETING the joint replacement INDUSTRY as to increase market share while this same non profit status is used in pursuit of venture capital to build and develop his for profit financial endeavors. Further investigation is needed as to which loop holes exist in which non profit status can be also EXPLOITED this way for personal financial gain in the way he is conducting. 

It is an industry he has vested financial interests in given that he is also CEO and founder of a start up corporation aimed at developing and building joint replacement centers. His non profit ‘charity’ status aimed at ‘educating’ or ‘raising awareness’ to consumers on the value of joint replacement (he has the largest and most well visited patient website in that venue) resolves to a type of MARKETING the joint replacing industry as to increase the market share of patients. In turn, his ability to do that results in a type of ‘leverage’ where he can use his non profit charity status to further his own for profit financial goals in development and building of joint replacement hospitals (as to garner VENTURE CAPITAL) for such. 

In that way, his non profit status is disingenuous given it is tied into promoting joint replacement while garnering private investors in his for profit corporate endeavors to develop and build profitable joint replacement centers. 

And finally, FARM pays stipends to their forum moderators. No wonder there is a lot of surgery cheerleading found throughout the threads. Hey BoneSmart® forum, can I get a job moderating your forum?

Summary

BoneSmart® is an extremely compromised knee replacement forum promoting knee replacement surgery to the patient-consumer under the guise of neutrality and enabling its creators to leverage those community relationships to enrich themselves in related for-profit ventures.

By all means don’t be fooled into donating your hard earned money to this industry marketing tool! knee replacement forum button


Michelle, PT
Michelle, PT

Michelle Stiles called "the no nonsense" therapist, by her patients, created a company called Cowboy Up Recovery after recognizing the bankruptcy of the present medical model. Too many people regard conventional medical wisdom as gospel, ignoring the subversive influences of Big Pharma and Big Medicine. She believes, Americans in general are being trained from an early age to defer to experts in numerous areas of life and losing the impulses for self-responsibility and self-reliance in the process. Over-diagnosis and over-medicating has become endemic. While thankful for the best miracles of modern medicine, she encourages people of all persuasions to listen to their bodies and seek out answers to maintain not just an absence of disease but optimal health. Her advice is: Cowboy Up, no one cares more about your health than you do.

    8 replies to "4 Reasons To Avoid Bonesmart Knee Replacement Forum"

    • Peter Dunkin

      Bonesmart is also a heavy handed moderated website. Seems their mods are the only ones allowed to dispense advice. Their approach to rehab is a lay on the couch, light some sandalwood incense and wait 2 years and all will be well. Mods appear to have never exercised a day in their lives and promote the same. Knee surgery pictures confirm a lot of thick knees and legs. This is a case of telling people what they want to hear. The advice given out is dubious at best. One mod told me adhesions are different from scar tissue! Very dangerous stuff being dispensed under the guise of medical advice.

    • Jayne

      I have to say that while I agree with the comment on heavy handed moderators and a bias for surgery, I found it useful after my knee replacement. It is busy and there are plenty of regular people telling their ongoing stories. It helped me understand what was normal and what was not. I dont love the moderator’s don’t exercise approach. I did my physical therapy and found it useful and manageable. Im 2 years out from my surgery and i felt the website did help me get through the first few months in spite of its flaws. You just have to pick and choose what to listen to.

    • Walter

      My TKR was unsuccessful in that I still suffer after 26 months from the many common problems associated with this surgery. I did the BoneSmart forum thing and discovered whatever the issue was they recommended the same boiler plate response, i.e., rest, don’t let your physical therapist give you pain, etc. My years of physical therapy has always been painful but that’s he price of getting better. Without this therapy your range of motion will be limited.
      I get angry when I read that knee replacements are one of the most successful surgeries. I asked BoneSmart where they get their data since I and other TKR recipients I know have never been surveyed. In my frustration during my last post surgery doctor visits I asked people in the doctor’s waiting room about their new knees. I wasn’t surprised to hear there are many unhappy TKR recipients.

    • Anonymous

      I am not at all surprised to come across this expose of BoneSmart. I participated on the forums leading up to a hip replacement and a knee replacement. The mods were constantly giving out unsolicited advice about surgery and lots of other things. I was stopped from expressing my opinion, corrected by a moderator. They don’t let people just talk. The second time around, I put a lot of work into writing about my experience with a hip replacement in a way that other people could benefit from what I had learned. It was totally edited by a moderator without even informing me, let alone getting my permission. I asked BoneSmart to remove all of my posts from their site and quit for good.

      I, too, have been quite suspicious of the “Don’t Exercise” bias and suggest that people read up on the scholarly outcome research about the role of physical therapy and/or exercise before and after joint replacement.

      • Kathy

        The “don’t exercise” philosophy is very British. I have a British friend who is a Physiologist (PT) who confirmed this. Could have something to do with their socialized system of medicine as a cost-saving issue. Couldn’t be more wrong.

    • Kathy

      I agree with the heavy moderating. Several of the “administrators” are based in the UK, and there are many differences in health care delivery between the US and UK. I stopped posting in the forum because they “micro-moderated” every post I made. With 40 years as a nurse, I felt I was just as qualified, if not more, to comment on my own experiences.

      • Merlin

        They will tell you they have all of this experience on staff yet they won’t tell you any credentials or when the last time they practiced. They claim to meet with leading surgeons on an annual basis.

        I have a very good surgeon and they didn’t meet with him or any of the 8 other orthopedic surgeons they have on staff within that orthopedic clinic. In fact, the PA told me to steer clear of the advice at BoneSmart because they are stuck in the 1990’s.

        I have many friends who are RN’s who work in everything from emergency care to cardiac care. Even they are up to date on current orthopedic methods.

        If you practiced for 40 years than you are smart enough to know that your surgeon and PT isn’t going to lie to you.

        BoneSmart also pushes this idea that PT is out of date with “current” orthopedic practices. Yet, they don’t have any current documentation to support their methodology.

        Not a slam to the elderly but I really think they are just a bunch of really old people who think they know what’s best for everyone despite the world having passed them by. I told my spouse, if I get like that, put me out of my misery!

    • Merlin

      I joined BoneSmart in March of 2021 after a BKTR in Feburary 2021. I joined knowing full well that their advice, that supposedly comes from “Medical Professionals” relies on decades old documentation.

      I spent a lot of time reading stories on BoneSmart of people’s journeys before I had the actual surgery. The ones that really caught my eye were the ones where people were still relying heavily on narcotic pain killer 8-12 months out from surgery. I figured it was an anomaly until I joined. When I joined I was immediately hit with the BoneSmart “methodology” which includes – If it hurts, don’t do it and don’t let your Physical Therapist push you into any pain what-so-ever. Every person who starts up a thread it greeted with this. Some of the information is common sense the R.I.C.E. method, etc., but the majority of it is pure garbage and meant to keep the patient “pain free”.

      This isn’t a “pain free” surgery, in fact I know of very few that are.

      I never prescribed to their methodology and did what my Surgeon and Physical Therapist told me to do. I even went beyond that as I prescribe to the “no pain no gain” methodology. I journaled my journey and what I was doing to get back into fighting shape. I offered advice to others which always ended with “consult PT or your Surgeon”. BoneSmart knew I wasn’t playing their game from the start. The people who visit this forum are I believe genuine and there is good discussions involving recovery, different pains, etc.

      Where is all goes pear shaped is when the Moderators get involved. They are very heavy handed. I had numerous posts of mine either removed or significantly altered. Every single time they did it they claimed I was offering “medical advice”. Meanwhile, they handed it out like candy and it was all very bad advice. Similar to what someone else said here “sit on the couch, take your pain meds and you will be good in a year or more”. They even went so far as to offer poor pharmaceutical and what amounted to counseling.

      After having so many posts edited I was sent a PM, apparently my screen name conflicted with someone else’s who was an inactive user. My screen name was MerIin but in the font they used it looked like Merlin. So they threatened to ban me if I didn’t change it. So I changed it to MerlinWizard or something like that. I also argued in PM with them over their methodology and documentation and I was told that I was being disrespectful of the plethora of experience they had and the excuse for the decades old documentation was that they lacked the staff to update it. They asked if I wanted to submit my resume and perhaps I could do that for them. Seriously? All that funding and medical experience but they couldn’t be bothered to update to 21st Century science and technology?

      I changed my screen name and let it go. Then earlier this week, they edited another one of my posts. I let them have it both barrels. I wanted to know who the “Medical Experts” were, their credentials and the last time they practiced. I was told I was being too disrespectful and I am no subsequently banned.

      BoneSmart is a cult. I was PM’d by numerous users who believed the same thing. People loved my posts, agreed with my advice and I am happy to say that even several moderators agreed. Yet, the Cult banned me for speaking the truth.

      They really believe PT is evil and to be avoided. That all PT does is want to “hurt you”. Find me a Physical Therapist who comes to work every day with the intent of setting you back in your recovery.

      My advice to you, read the stories of people’s journeys. Take what you can from it that may help you but whatever you do – avoid the actual BoneSmart and Moderator advice, listen to your Surgeon and your Physical Therapist and you will do very well in your recovery.

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