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Cleveland Clinic's iMATCH Program

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Has anyone been to Cleveland Clinic's iMATCH Program? I have very little time before I go to make a firm decision so I would appreciate any stories good or bad about your experience.

Much thanks.
-Kate
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First Helper lizzie5
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replied May 9th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
I don't have personal experience with this clinic and it's special program, but, you can look at this link:
http://annsilverthorn.com/imatch_-_clevela nd_clinic.htm

What type of headache you have?
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replied May 9th, 2008
I saw that site. Not sure what I think about it. That is actually the reason why I posted this. I also posted it on the Daily Headache forum. You are the only one that has responded. I guess not many people have been there. I REALLY wish I had more info as far as people's experiences.

I have Basilar Artery Migraines (with Complications) but I also have Cluster Headaches - which means what treats one is contraindicated for another. It has been a long road - 18 years (I am 27).

I have been to U of M, MHNI, Mayo, Henry Ford, and now Cleveland Clinic. What has your experience been?

-Kate
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replied May 9th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
My family has used the Cleveland Clinic for other medical problems, including severe cardiovascular issues. I don't know if this will help, but we have found it to be a really wonderful place with compassionate, knowledgeable staff and have nothing but good feelings from it.
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replied May 10th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
Cleveland Clinic has a wonderful neuroscience dept. and pain specialist. This may be a good option for you. Rush Medical Center in Chicago has some of the best neuro. people in the country. They may be able to guide you with your vascular headaches. I worked with some of these doctors. I would trust them to treat me and my family.
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replied February 2nd, 2010
imatch program at the cleveland clinic
I just took my daughter to the cleveland clinic she has had chronic pain in her hea snice april 24, 2009,no meds work, she is wearing a fentaynil patch and takes diladid when it is really unbearable
the clinic wants her in the imatch program but again they cannot find the cause. I do not see any reviews of the imatch program since 08 is there anyone who has been there recently and can give me some advice

thanks

joann
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replied May 12th, 2010
Imatch
My son was in the program in march 2010. He is 19 and has been greatly improved since he left.
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replied July 22nd, 2010
3 days IMatch Program Cleveland Clinic
I am going in it right now and I think it is wonderful. I have seen a change just in 3 days in the way I look at things about myself. You get wonderful doctors who realy care about you and one on one care. They treat you as a person and spend have a plan for you not just 15 minutes in a doctors office to get meds. So you can see I am a cheerleader for the program so far. Will try to repost after I have completed the program.
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replied October 1st, 2011
Curious if the program helped after completed? I am a candidate,awaiting on insurance ok...have questions as to where you stayed at night? etc...wondering if it takes 3 weeks to complete etc...
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replied October 1st, 2011
Curious if the program helped after completed? I am a candidate,awaiting on insurance ok...have questions as to where you stayed at night? etc...wondering if it takes 3 weeks to complete etc...
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replied July 28th, 2010
Can anyone that has been helped by the Imatch at CC please write me? My Mom suffers from severe headaches and her health plan will not let her go to the CC unless they can speak to someone that this has helped. Please email me and thank you so much
D
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replied September 9th, 2011
Cleveland Clinic IMATCH
Turn away and run as fast as you can. The imatch didn't work for me, not even a little. In fact, my headaches are worse now more than ever. They supposedly pre-approved this program with my insurance. Well the insurance keeps on rejecting their submissions and I'm up to $8,000+ in debt. Thanks Cleveland Clinic. Also thanks for the $65 per visit "cover charge". You really have your patients sanity in mind there.
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replied January 20th, 2012
I say run too. If you have done any headache clinics previously don't bother, it's not anything different. The dr I saw was gone the entire last week of the program too, didn't appreciate that and they did not tell me before they pushed me into the program. It didn't work for me either. They treat all their patients the same and they don't take them seriously. If the treatment doesn't work for you, too bad suck it up and go back to normal life! They will absolutely take you off your pain medicine and tell you to wait the 6 months (no caffeine, no smoking, no naps, no taking medications in public, nothing to show you are different, no "pain behaviors" ie. rubbing forehead, wearing sunglasses, wincing etc nothing that would give anyone a hint that you have any pain or health problems, no ALEVE, nothing!), and think that you will have less pain bc they believe all patients have "rebound" headaches which was not the case for me. Put a fake smile on and make sure nobody has any clue you are in any kind of pain or have any kind of disability/chronic health problems because God forbid you may get some special treatment or sympathy or people may not ask you to do this or that because they think you aren't up to it. I don't see anything they did that you can't try on your own or treatment you can't get at another neurologist like avoiding migraine triggering foods (which they gave us the list of but then told us not to stress about and just eat the stuff anyways), have good sleep hygiene meaning use your bedroom for sleeping only, go to bed at the same time every night, wake up at the same time every day whether you got any sleep or not. Exercise everyday no matter how crappy you feel. Drink lots of plain water! Use visualization, breathing techniques, meditation etc to help with pain (didn't help me but if you've got lower grade pain or anxiety I could see these things actually helping). The medications were guess and check just like with all other neurologists, nothing special though. I recommend trying botox if you haven't already. Also, they will not let you have a spouse, parent, caregiver etc in town during your treatment. I cannot drive or care for myself on my own and they forced my caregiver to go home. I felt entirely stranded the 3 weeks and stretched beyond my limit. I was miserable and exhausted the whole time, and the months after it with increased pain (bc of being off pain medicine), and constant emotional unrest was just horrible. I had nothing to do when my headache was at it's worst. They told me my crisis plan was to suck it up and not go to the ER or ever take any pain medicine. I wish they had never offered me the program. I did it hoping it would work even though I didn't see where relief was going to come from after the week of IV's was over. I actually liked the neurologist but he wasn't worth driving out of town for when my neurologist in town does the same thing (though he isn't as big on IV medications as they are at over at Cleveland's neurology.. IV medications are more immediate and they've got their little IV rooms set up there. I had some 7-8 hour IV's! (They keep the lights off, room freezing, no tv, magazines etc.) In regards to the IV's I felt like the treatment was aggressive but in a good way. After the week of them if you were still without improvement, too bad. I asked if there was any reason to continue with IV's and I was told NO. I was tried on several medications, but did not have any success with headache relief or functioning. Seroquel was great for getting to sleep though I have fallen flat down with no warning on seroquel more than once! Dr. Krause the psychologist is incredibly full of himself and insincere. He is one of those people that loves to hear himself talk. In his one on one psychology he wasn't helpful at all. He was more concerned about my outfit and posture (SERIOUSLY! I dress cute, and I'm not going to sit in a way that causes me more pain) than anything else. He was not any kind of support or help. In their classes, you can tell they do the same spiel over and over.. They just rattle stuff off. I liked Heather, the girl under Krause and she did a few classes. She was nice and down to earth. Their biofeedback was worthless because the skin temperature being the indication for whether or not you were relaxing well was not accurate because the room was just too cold to get a fair reading and there were too few sessions of biofeedback to do anything. If the week of IV's works for you great. Get them and leave, you ought to just go in and see one of their neurologists and ask about getting IV medications and not bother with the IMATCH program. If you just need a shove and someone to push you or get you off your lazy butt or if you've got psychological problems or anxiety they can help you with that -I think- don't know from experience. If you have other medical problems they don't care and will treat you the same as everyone else so it really isn't a realistic approach for those patients. My specialist was upset with him for increasing my medication dose too quickly. Everyone has exactly the same exercises whether you've been bedridden for years or just recently had headaches and been out of the loop of normal life for a short time or are still working doing the bare bones stuff just missing out on the "fun" things in life and having problems with headaches. The staff (Psychologist Krause and nurse Debbie) at IMATCH do not treat you like a person or with respect and they are not professional at all. I saw them treat another patient terribly and so that patient left the program. There were several other patients that also came forward with health concerns and were turned away and ended up at the ER with problems they didn't take seriously. I would like to know how many people had serious problems or died bc of their failure to act. Their attitude about keeping your health problems to yourself is too extreme also. One of the parents of another patient asked what to do when their child was sitting in their room crying from pain and they told them to leave them there alone to cry, don't go to the ER! I worry about pushing that attitude on their patients, it just doesn't sound good for any of the patients' mental health.

I thought the physical therapists were good in general and more knowledgeable than the ones I've been to and they were very nice. We worked up to an hour of cardio with stretching afterwards and also did a few days of weight machines, hand-held weights, balls, exercises on the floor etc. I continued with similar physical therapy back at home but there was no real improvement in headache, pain, or functioning after months of physical therapy so it would no longer be covered and I had to stop. Occupational therapy is not part of IMATCH but I got that back at home and it was actually very helpful and much more realistic than the attitude of the IMATCH program where they are totally against doing anything differently than normal people or taking pills in public or using any kind of device (wheelchair, cane, service dog, reacher/grabber etc.) that would make people see you as disabled or ill or less than. Occupational therapy is all about setting your life up so you can do the things you need to do, everyday things, life skills. Using grabbers, foam grippers, a rolling cart for kitchen prep, a little cart for groceries to make transporting them into your kitchen easier etc. I recommend occupational therapy for anyone that is feeling disabled or having trouble with basic self care and independence. They were very good at adapting things for me, things I never would have thought of and they were simple things to incorporate.

I will say that just having the other IMATCH patients in similar situations to talk to was helpful but I do not recommend the program!
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replied May 21st, 2012
This sounds very similar to the Mayo Pain Rehabilitation Clinic. No meds, no pain behaviors, no more visits to any doctors. Go to school or work every day, there is no reason that you can't. For the Pediatric PRC the children have to fill out a questionnaire before and after the four weeks. Most kids lied and said they were better so they wouldn't be kept there longer. Do not trust their percentage of success.
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replied June 14th, 2012
IMATCH
The IMATCH program was both helpful and not so helpful at the same time. Like the patient mentioned in an earlier post, I too was told that they checked with my insurance concerning what would & would not be covered. The billing department did not use the same codes that my insurance approved and it has been pure hell trying to get those codes changed. I am in debt upwards of $12,000 now because of the incompetence of the billing/coding department and now my account is in collections even though I have logged almost 20 calls about my account.
The tools I learned to manage my migraines were helpful. They have very good psychologists on staff. Yes, Dr Krause is a little rough around the edges but I think that is how he is able to get to the root of your problems. The fellow pshycologist under Krause at the time of my treatment was Dr Matt Sacco. He was fantastic. He is young and very friendly which makes him quite easy to talk to and can really get you to open up.
I felt everyone was caring and shared a genuine goal of giving the best care possible to their patients. Some people didn't care for their "tough love" approach but it worked for me. I needed people to stop feeling sorry for me & treat me like a normal person and to help me stop feeling that way too.
I felt like three weeks was a little too long though. The first two weeks were quite helpful but the third week was basically just a repeat of what we already learned. I feel more one on one visits with the psychologist and more family meetings would have been a better use of time.
Although I am grateful for the things I learned about myself & how to manage my pain, the bills have caused a lot of undo stress and now I am regretting my decision of doing the program.
If you do decide on imatch, just know that you get out of it what you put into it. Don't consider it a majic pill that will heal your aching head. You have to believe in what they are telling you in order for it to work. Good luck!
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replied June 28th, 2012
Urgently need info about IMATCH at Cleveland Clinic!!
Hi there, I'm looking for more information about IMATCH. I went to CC in May, saw Dr. Deborah Tepper, who suggested I look into IMATCH. I saw Dr. Krause the next day and was accepted at that time. Went home to wait for insurance approval; have been denied coverage by our current plan. I was planning to change insurance plans on July 1 (much more expensive!) to have some of the program paid for; am on the schedule to start July 9. Am very concerned and upset after reading comments here. I would greatly appreciate any and all input. Thank you so much!!
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replied June 29th, 2012
If I were you, I would make an appointment with Dr Stillman and try to manage your pain with him first before you jump into imatch. Tepper really doesn't give her patients that option. The first thing out of her mouth is imatch. Atleast try someone else before you end up selling your left kidney to the clinic in order to pay for your treatment. You can always do imatch later. It may be worth the wait.
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replied July 21st, 2012
I would have to disagree with these responses. I just finished the Imatch program and honestly, it changed my life. I really believe that you will get back as much as you put into it but the program itself has a lot to offer. It is true that there is a "tough love" approach and that they will take you off of most of your pain medications. What was not explained in the responses, and what was not explained to me prior to this program was that the increased used of pain medication creates more and more pain receptors, and therefore more pain. I understand that the pain is difficult to tolerate and that it is not an easy thing to do to simply stop taking the medications, but there are benefits to it. I did not necessarily find the IVs super helpful bc DHE makes me violently ill and I could not have anything for pain or any of the withdrawal symptoms, but the doctors were kind and encouraging during the process. The doctors were kind, but they were also honest, which to some people may seem cruel. They will tell you that in all likelihood they will not be able to cure your pain, or even reduce your pain, but hopefully they will be able to improve your quality of life. Luckily for me, my pain actually did decrease with the reduction of pain medicine (after the first week of withdrawal, which was tough), but the most important things I gained from the program definitely dealt with life style and mentality changes. I thought that I was pretty well informed about migraines, but this was the first place I have been to where they were able to answer absolutely every question I asked. I would strongly encourage anybody to go to this program. I urge you to keep an open mind and allow the doctors and the program to do their job and do what they ask of you. I figured nothing else has worked, why not give this a chance? And it worked. I hope this helps!
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replied March 14th, 2013
lizzie, did you have issues with billing?
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replied October 16th, 2012
Is the imatch program an in-patient treatment where you have to stay at the Cleveland Clinic for the full 3 weeks or are you able to leave and return each day. My neurologist wants me to join the program, but I have 2 small children at home and can't be gone for 3 weeks.
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replied February 27th, 2013
its a day program. You come and go each day.
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replied February 27th, 2013
IMATCH REVIEW
EXCELLENT program. Finished it. SIGNIFICANT health improvement. The strategies about not talking about your private pain except with your doctor or relevant medical personnel is to help you take care of yourself. I think it inappropriate to slam professionals by name but since it was already done, here's my perspective..... Dr. Krause and Deb are absolutely fantastic , genuinely care, and treat you (and help you to act like) an adult who wants to improve their quality of life. I genuinely enjoyed every professional there.

If you aren't really about getting better or putting in the work--like acknowledging your weaknesses and starting to work on them, then that's on you. Not the program.

My recommendation is loud, assertive, RUN TO THIS PROGRAM as QUICKLY as YOU CAN. You'll have a life, be self-sufficient, and know how to manage your pain.
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replied March 14th, 2013
Would you be willing to talk to me more about this program? I'm a patient of Dr. Tepper and am considering the program.

Thank you,
Alana
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replied February 27th, 2013
IMATCH REVIEW
EXCELLENT program. Finished it. SIGNIFICANT health improvement. The strategies about not talking about your private pain except with your doctor or relevant medical personnel is to help you take care of yourself. I think it inappropriate to slam professionals by name but since it was already done, here's my perspective..... Dr. Krause and Deb are absolutely fantastic , genuinely care, and treat you (and help you to act like) an adult who wants to improve their quality of life. I genuinely enjoyed every professional there.

If you aren't really about getting better or putting in the work--like acknowledging your weaknesses and starting to work on them, then that's on you. Not the program.

My recommendation is, RUN TO THIS PROGRAM as QUICKLY as YOU CAN. You'll have a life, be self-sufficient, and know how to manage your pain.
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replied April 16th, 2014
imatch questions
My husband was just referred to the imatch program and he has medicare. We live in Mississippi and I'm just wondering if he just goes and stays by himself in hospital setting? Can I stay with him or do I just fly to visit? Really worried about the cost since he is disabled and we have two young children.
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