Integrative Medicine, Complementary Alternative Medicine and Health Round-up #50: December 2011

Summary: AMA’s influence on payment attacked in court and by McDermott in Congress … Allina’s accountable care organization (ACO) CEO calls integrative medicine financial asset … Trompeter and Zunin: new economics of patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) favors integrative teams … Integrative medicine loses brother in the trenches as Berwick steps down … New York-based insurer offers integrative therapies in patient-centered medical home … Grand Rapids ER pilot for high-utilizers projects $300-million in savings from “integrative medicine center” … Coors Foundation backs integrative medicine clinical pilot partnering Maricopa County and Weil’s Arizona Center … Donna Karan’s Urban Zen integrative therapies goes bi-coastal to UCLA medical center .



Family doctors challenge AMA specialists control of Medicare fees

AMA’s Influence on Payment Attacked in Court, Congress

Under a two-decade old relationship, a panel dominated by
tertiary-care-based specialty societies of the American Medical Association has
met behind closed doors to set fee structures which, over 90% of the time,
guide reimbursement policies of the US government. AMA’s
Relative Value Scale Update Committee, known as the RUC, is a 29-member panel
of representatives from MD medical specialties. RUC determines the relative value
of specific medical services then makes recommendations to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS typically
rubber stamps these over 90% of the time. Now a group of primary care physicians based in
Atlanta, Georgia is suing the US government to end the practice and make the
advisory group a US panel that will operate with transparency.


McDermott: Legislation to curb RUC

The suit is supported by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA).
McDermott, a psychiatrist, has independently introduced legislation that, while
it would not strip the RUC away from the AMA, would create more balance in its
membership and openness in its processes. McDermott told Medpage that he
supports efforts, whether judicial or legislative that seek to limit the
influence of high-end specialties on rate-setting at the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services. On March 30, McDermott posted on his website that “for two decades now, this panel has been dominated
by specialists who undervalue the essential and complex work of primary care
providers and cognitive specialists, while often favoring unnecessarily
complex, costly and excessive specialty medical services,” said McDermott
in a statement posted on his website in March 2011. The American Academy
of Family Physicians supports the McDermott legislative, which is entitled the Medicare
Physician Payment Transparency and Assessment Act of 2011
(H.R. 1256). 

The Atlanta doctors argue in their August 5, 2011 posting on
their webpage, that the relationship between the RUC and CMS
“creates systemic incentives to provide unnecessary and unnecessarily
complex services.” They add that “it is not unreasonable to argue
that this single relationship is the core driver of runaway healthcare costs,
threatening the stability of American healthcare economy and the larger U.S.
economy.” The doctors are also collecting donations for the lawsuit
through the site.

Comment: I agree
that the power of the specialists as expressed through RUC is a huge barrier to
change. Any honest SWAT analysis, or treatment plan, would identify the RUC diversion of resource and target a plan to remove this obstacle to cure. Good for these Atlanta
doctors and for McDermott. Each of the integrative practice fields should file amicus briefs, in they haven’t already.


Paulus: Integrative medicine an asset in ACOs

Accountable Care Organization CEO calls integrative medicine a financial asset in Obamacare model

“For the first time ever, the payment
will change toward keeping people healthy … For the first time in 100
years it will be our job at
Allina to keep the village healthy.” So spoke Ken Paulus, CEO of
Minnesota’s huge Allina Hospitals & Clinics at the November 10, 2011 Integrative Medicine in Action event hosted by the Bravewell Collaborative. This shift, Paulus
believes, will be “the point of inflection” for
integrative medicine. He is quoted in this Huffington Post article:

“When I first heard of integrative medicine,  I saw you as an expense.
But [as payment in Accountable Care Organization (ACO) structures] kicks in
supports keeping people healthy, you will be an asset. Integrative
will be an asset.”

Paulus did not describe the exact details of how ACOs will support this shift. Instead he referenced the story of Chinese barefoot
doctors who were only paid by communities if the people in their
charge were kept healthy. Paulus positioned integrative approaches as
aides in such health creation.

Comment: I had the opportunity to hear
Paulus’ comments and felt a certain giddiness that may only be
explained as the promised resolution of unrequited desire for economic alignment for integrative medicine.
Capitalism in US medicine tends toward the big margins of what might be
called SUV medicine: inpatient services, patented drugs and high-tech
machines. Paulus suggested that the ACOs established by the Obama-Pelosi
reform are creating a context for developing what some of us
10 years ago dubbed “a thriving industry of health creation.” This provoked a re-publication of the Design Principles for Healthcare Renewal for which this phrase was crafted as part of Principle #9.


Patient-Centered Medical Home leaders Zunin and Trompeter see exceptional opportunities for integrative

In preparation with integrative pediatrician Larry Rosen, MD for a February 11, 2012 presentation on ACOs, PCMHs and integrative medicine at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium,
I recently interviewed two integrative health leaders with emerging
patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs). The topic: How do they see they see the potential fit with
integrative health approaches? Tom Trompeter, MHA, is CEO of Healthpoint,
a network of 10 federally-qualified health centers in the Seattle-area.
For 15 years, these centers have integrated services of naturopathic
physicians, licensed acupuncturists and massage therapists with
their PhD psychologists, nutritionists, dentists and MD/RN staff.
speaks of the PCMH, which he prefers to call a “health home,” as a
“break from the paradigm of a physician owning a patient.” Similarly: 
“It’s not about the billable visit.” The concept of patient ownership shifts, in Trompeter’s view: My patient needs to transition to our patient.” He believes this opens the door to teams and “the team approach opens the door for diversity” of providers and services. The Trompeter interview is here.


Ira Zunin, MD, MPH: Contracting as a PCMH

Integrative physician Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA is the founder of the 40 practitioner Manakai O Malama center
in Honolulu. Zunin’s clinic was approached by leaders of the local
delivery system to merge his center with the area hospital and payers
through linked electronic medical records (EMR). Zunin describes
significant immediate value via increase in referrals that the EMR
created for his acupuncturists, massage therapists and naturopathic
doctor. He underscores Trompeter’s point
on payment: “In the PCMH, payment plays into our hand. You have
unassigned dollars that aren’t directly connected to a
provider or a procedure or a code. You can use the dollars from an
integrative perspective.”  In this Integrator interview, Zunin speak also to the significant challenges. Yet his
overall view is positive: “The PCMH model is supposed to help the whole person, in his or her
community. We’ve always been looking at everything with a bigger tool set, with
a focus on health. We’re oriented to this model. We’re oriented to teams.” 

Comment: Since these interviews, I found myself listening to a local practitioner bemoaning the awkward fit of the insurance coding dance for a whole person practice that is relationship-based, time-intensive and individualized. I was pleased to say: You might check in with the leaders of the local ACO movement to see if you can get paid to keep people healthy. Their may be light at the end of integrative medicine’s economic tunnel. 


Berwick: Friend of IM leaves CMS

Integrative medicine loses a friend in a high place as Berwick gets “pink slip” from Republicans

Comment: Healthcare writer Joe Nocera caught up with Donald Berwick, MD within a week of Berwick’s exit from his recess
appointment as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS). In his
December 5, 2011 New York Times op-ed piece (Berwick’s Pink Slip) Nocera writes: “Dr.
Berwick, I’m here to tell you, was the most qualified person in the
country to run Medicare at this critical juncture, and the fact that he
is no longer in the job is the country’s loss.” I agree. The fact that Berwick
once spoke favorably about the British health system model that costs
half as much as that in the US and produces better outcomes sealed his fate before his Republican executioners.
extension of evidence-based medicine to evidence-based policy-making is apparently as palatable to medical business-as-usual as is the science behind global
warming for Big Oil. The waste-trough of US medicine, estimated by leaders at the
Institute of Medicine to be at 50% of the $2.6-trillion spent annually, seems to have only produced compelling evidence of a donor base, not scientific base, for the Republicans who pushed him out. 


IOM report with Berwick’s IM principles

Meantime, when Berwick stepped down, integrative medicine lost a friend in a high place. As noted here, Berwick’s positive perspective on integrative
medicine is on record. He was a keynoter at the February 2009 IOM
Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public
Berwick elucidated his Basic Principles for Integrative Medicine.” They are worth restating here on his exit.

  1. Place the patient at the center.
  2. Individualize care.
  3. Welcome family and loved ones.
  4. Maximize healing influences within
  5. Maximize healing influences outside
    of care.
  6. Rely on sophisticated, disciplined
  7. Use all relevant capacities – waste
  8. Connect helping influences with
    each other.

This is a
pretty darned good list
hang on the mirror as a daily reminder
for those in the field of integrative health. Now, let’s
see what Berwick,
the founder of the Institute
for Healthcare Improvement
(IHI) will be up to next.

Integrative Centers


Horowitz: Union leader organizes CAM in medical home

Freelancers Union’s insurance company to innovate alternative care in patient-centered medical home

The Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC) is pioneering strategies to bring alternative care into a patient–centered medical home, according to an article, Health Care for a Changing Work Force, in the December 1, 2011 New York Times. FIC reportedly has revenues of roughly $100 million
and covers 25,000 independent workers.  Because FIC maintains a close relationship with its insureds, “
it can be
more effective [than most plans] helping its members make good health care decisions.”
Sara Horowitz, the founder of the
Freelancers Union, which owns FIC, explains:
“We’re moving away from fee-for-service medicine to one where a primary
care doctor aggressively coordinates care … We’re
also trying to innovate with alternative care — promoting meditation,
yoga, and nutrition which can have long-term beneficial effects.” The article notes that in
2012, the organization will be opening up the Brooklyn Freelancers
Medical Practice. This center will be a patient centered medical home (PCMH) based on the model of
Rushika Fernandopulle, MD who “pioneered a team-based model of care that is attracting attention across the country.” The FIC’s
rates are already a third below market.
(Thanks to Integrator adviser Glenn Sabin for the link to this article.)


Waller: Big ER savings anticipated from integrative center

Grand Rapids ER’s new “Center for Integrative Medicine” anticipated to save system over $10-million each year

A new strategy for emergency room services based on a close partnership
with an integrative medicine center is expected to save upwards of $300
million a year when expanded to 8 hospitals. In an MP3 available interview, Corey Waller, MD explains that the person-centered, time-intensive approach that will be mounted in Grand Rapids, Michigan focused on high-utilizers. Waller’s team identified 953 people in the system who accounted for 20,000 visits in 2007-2011. A pilot study of just 30 patients
found ER services could be reduced visits by 85% for each participant
for a savings of $1-million.
The intensive treatment at the integrative medicine center begins with a 4
hour visit. This includes an hour each with an MD, a nurse case worker, an MSW for
psychiatric and substance-related diagnosis and then a “regular social worker” and office staff who focus on community support issues.
Patients are being recruited to the center by directly calling those who used the ER 10
or more times in the previous year. The program is expected to cost $950,000 a
year but
is expected to save the ER $3.5 million and also reduce costs by some $25-$35 million for the two feeder hospitals. Spectrum health’s news release is here.

Comment: My first feeling on listening
to the MP3 regarded the horror of current practices. How can we have drifted to a point where such huge savings are ostensibly such low-hanging if we just organize some caring contact? Why are we only getting on this now? 

I also find it interesting and even ironic
that Spectrum chose to call their new clinic a “center for integrative
medicine.” While the program is patently “integrative,” no one associated appears to have any direct relationship to what may be called the movement for integrative medicine. The re-frame brings to mind the way
that Christy Mack, head of the Bravewell Collaborative, pointedly declares that “integrative medicine is not CAM.” Now the Spectrum group
appears to be declaring that integrative medicine is not integrative
medicine. The Spectrum version is a bio-psycho-social-environmental team-based approach with no apparent connection with the integrative medicine in academic
medicine field, such as Mack and Bravewell have backed. Nor does the Spectrum model reflect
services advanced in the holistic medical community, or in the CAM
disciplines. One way to look at this is to simply declare success. That said, it would be interesting to see how integrative medicine and CAM leaders might add value to this already remarkable integrative medicine


Partnering for integrative services for employees

Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine partners with
Maricopa County to pilot test integrative primary care clinic

According to a November 28, 2011 release,
the University of Arizona
Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM) has engaged a partnership with
Maricopa County, Arizona
[Phoenix] to pilot delivery of integrative medicine to
the county’s 13,000 public employees. Medical outcomes and costs will be compared between patients receiving
conventional medical care and those receiving integrative care.
The Adolph Coors Foundation funded the pilot, which is expected to generate publishable data on the effect of integrative medicine on patients’ health.


Arizona Centers Weil and Victoria Maizes: Testing integrative clinical model

The Phoenix Integrative Primary Care
is slated to open in July
2012. Says Andrew Weil, MD, founder of the Arizona Center: “We
believe this is the first step toward changing priorities of
reimbursement, away from disease management and dependence on costly
pharmaceutical drugs and other high-tech interventions, and toward
sustainable wellness,” said Andrew Weil, MD. Roughly 1500 employees are expected to access services the first year.
David Smith, Maricopa County manager explains the county’s interest this way: “Given
the current health-care cost spiral and obesity crisis in the United
States, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has decided to make
preventive integrative care and treatment options more accessible to our
Initial information on the
program does not specify what sort of integrative services would be
offered. A useful article on the project is here. A PDF of the agreement between the two entities is here.

Comment: The program, while certainly not the “first step toward changing priorities of reimbursement,” is an interesting
and perhaps even high-risk gambit for the University of Arizona Center.
The Center is not known for the clinical components of its
training. It’s signature fellowship is principally online. What will an “integrative medicine intervention” include? What
population(s) will the clinic target? A smart move might be to emulate the
Spectrum Health program, reported above, and bring in those high utilizers.


Karan: Urban Zen originator goes bi-coastal

Donna Karan brings Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program to UCLA

The New York-based Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program is now officially bi-coastal. The Donna Karan backed program announced on November 18, 2011 that it is partnering with UCLA. A first group of 30 doctors, nurses and other allied health professionals began training in September. Gillian Cilibrasi, Urban Zen’s program director explains: “During
this curriculum, medical professionals from the UCLA Health System (are) trained in five modalities of treatment: yoga therapy, Reiki,
essential oil therapy, nutrition and contemplative care.” In comments contained in the release, David Feinberg, MD, MBA, president of the UCLA Health System, positions the Karan initiative as advancing UCLA’s long-time commitment to integrative approaches. Referenced were the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and UCLA‘s Mindful Awareness Research Center
. The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, part of the UCLA Health System, is
the first UCLA hospital and the first on the West Coast to adopt the Urban Zen program.

Comment: I confess to wondering when I first heard about Urban Zen’s go-it-alone expansion plans. Hollywood is clearly the next best place to leverage Karan’s name and involvement to secure the additional philanthropic support that UCLA has already announced that it will be seeking. 

Business of Integrative Medicine


Rober Jahnke, OMD: update on diverse initiatives

Update from Roger Jahnke, OMD: Advancing the understanding, science and adoption of Qigong and Tai chi

An early leader in integrative health is author, consultant, organizer and teacher Roger Jahnke, OMD. Jahnke has a list of organizations
with which he as consulted over the past 15 years that is as long as
your arm. He contacted me recently on what was being done, if
anything, with the Design Principles for Healthcare Renewal.
He and I were involved in developing these in 2001.

The contact provided a chance to catch up with Jahnke. The co-founder and past chair of the National Qigong association recently keynoted Mindbody Week in Washington, DC with Herbert Benson, MD. A year ago, Jahnke was lead author for A Comprehensive Review of Qigong and Tai Chi published in the influential American Journal of Health Promotion. With that foundation, the author of The Healer Within

and other books is presently involved in training staff at the
Veteran’s Administration on the values of Qigong and Tai chi. Jahnke and his group also recently completed a Phase 1 SBIR trial
with NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. He reports “excellent results.” They are preparing a Phase 2 submission. Meantime, via his own Institute for Integral Qigong and Tai Chi Jahnke has surpassed 1000 in the total number of “teachers and practice leaders” trained. Jahnke began offering the program in the 1980s. It was an early venture into the health and wellness space and has been used by diverse military, health system and health promotion clients since.

Comment: The challenges in finding business
models for integrative medicine have swallowed many a sailor. That
Jahnke has persevered is testament to the broad set of
skills and abilities he brings to diverse integrative health stakeholders.
Jahnke has one of the more interesting resumes of survivors. He wrote: “
I remain inspired by the ‘principles’, when do you think you will resurrect?
Would be honored to participate.” Below is a minor resurrection. It’s timely, for reasons I note.


Commissioners were presented the Design Principles in 2001 exploration of CAM policy

10 Years After: “Design Principles for Healthcare Renewal” Resonate for Integrative Medicine’s Future

Recently long-time
integrative health author, system-consultant and pioneer Roger Jahnke,
urged me to “resurrect” a document from the early years of
integrative health that we called the Design Principles for Healthcare Renewal.
I realized on considering this that it
is almost exactly a decade since these were well-received in October
2001 as a clarifying document by the members of the
White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Jahnke’s
request also resonated with a presentation
at the Bravewell Integrative Medicine in Action event November 10, 2011. There Allina CEO Ken Paulus (see above) suggested that the US might finally be on the verge of an economic
incentive structure to support a “thriving industry of health creation”
(Principle #9)
. Those 10
principles, borne out of a Task Force on Principles from the
2000 Integrative Medicine Industry Leadership Summit are reprinted in this article.

Comment: Do these have useful
resonance for you?
I view 3 sections as particularly potent, yet under-expressed in
the evolution of integrative medicine since 2001. These are the concepts of the
“hierarchy of treatment” (#4), the respect for the “fullness of diverse
health care systems” (#5) and then, the principle that stimulated this
re-publication, the need to stimulate development of a “thriving industry of health
creation” (#9). The Obama-Pelosi health reform appears to be a boost to the latter. Is there yet more
value in “resurrecting” these principles further? 

Academic Health Care


Robust IPE/C conference draws nearly 800

Why complementary and integrative medicine stakeholders should piggy-back on the interprofessional education/care movement

Roughly 750 professionals and clinicians involved in
interprofessional education and care (IPE/C)  attended the 3rd biennial Collaboration Across Borders conference
in Tucson, November 19-21, 2011. The robust gathering, double the size of previous events, was
described as a point of arrival for interprofessional education by the leaders of the movement. Team-care focused health professions education has a stronger
foot-hold in Canada than in the United States. Speaker
David Moen, MD, president of a 1300 physician Fairview Physician Associates

told attendees that the value of interprofessional teams in US healthcare is advancing
dramatically under changes in payment stimulated by Obama’s Affordable Care
Act. These include payments related to patient satisfaction, limiting re-admission
rates and lowering of tertiary care costs. Enhanced teamwork is
anticipated to help produce these financial benefits. This in turn is expected to stimulate
investment in IPE/C. Moen and others view this shift toward teams as a “culture
change” throughout academic medicine and delivery.

Comment: IPE/C was first advanced in US medicine via the community
clinic movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The field failed to gain
traction as costs, waste and errors increased under a specialist-dominated
system. The present rebirth of IPE/C followed the 1999 publication of To Err is Human by the Institute of
Medicine. The report found that medicine kills over 100,000 a year, ranking it
among the nation’s major killers. Subsequent analysis, published by the IOM in 2001 as
Crossing the Quality Chasm, indicated that the most significant factor in medical errors is
the lack of communication, understanding and mutual respect among doctors,
nurses and other professions.


Moen: Obamacare incentives promote team care and IPE

parallel perspectives of Moen, regarding IPE/C’s re-emergence, and those of
Allina leader Paulus, noted above, relative to the more positive horizon for
integrative medicine, are striking. The changed payment structure under the
Obama reform is opening interest in both IPE/C and integrative medicine. Enhancing
teamwork is core to IPE/C and sometimes central to the integrative medicine effort. Colleagues in the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care
(ACCAHC) organized a donor-backed campaign that stimulated roughly a dozen representatives
from educational institutions in these disciplines to attend the conference. This multi-disciplinary, allied-health-dominated community was quite
receptive to integrative health ideas and disciplines. While the academic integrative medicine
community was not well-represented in this conference, success of
integrative medicine may be closely linked to IPE/C even as each appears to be linked to the shifting financial
incentives under Obamacare.

The Collaboration Across the Borders IV meeting will be in
Vancouver, BC in 2014.  Another
significant IPE/C conference will take place May 18-19, 2012 at Jefferson University
entitled “Interprofessional Care for the 21st Century: Redefining Education and


PCOM: First nursing program in CAM school

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine announces new holistic nursing program

College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) announced on November 30, 2012 that it will begin offering a unique holistic
nursing Bachelor of Science Completion Program in Holistic Nursing through its
New York Campus. This is the first bachelor degree
nursing program within a CAM school in the country.  The program was developed in consultation
with Carla Mariano, EdD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAIM, who also initiated the
holistic nurse practitioner program at New York University and is past-president
of the American Holistic Nurses Association.  Mariano told the Integrator that the
program is particularly timely as the nursing profession has a growing
commitment to establish a bachelors’ level as the basic educational standard for professional nursing. “BSN in 10” refers to the pending legislation requiring associate degree registered
nurses to obtain the baccalaureate degree in nursing within 10 years of initial
licensure. The states of New York
and New Jersey each have legislation promoting this change. This direction for
the nursing field was propelled by the October 2010
Future of Nursing

report from the Institute of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Mariano: Key adviser on PCOM project

Mariano, an Integrator adviser, notes other features of the PCOM program that are
expected to draw nurses: “Integrative holistic
health care is becoming more mainstream and nurses are increasingly
focused the whole person and holism as a practice framework. PCOM nursing
students will be prepared in holistic theory and therapies for health, healing,
and wellness as well as leadership, community, and research.” She
thinks that “a nursing program in a CAM school” will be attractive
for the “interdisciplinary nature of the learning
environment.” Students from acupuncture, massage,
and nursing programs will share a number of required
and elective courses. In addition, the nursing students are expected to
have the opportunity to participate in various PCOM community health and health
promotion programs.

Comment: This is a smart, intriguing
link for PCOM, an entrepreneurial, for-profit AOM school. It will be
interesting to see how this model of integrated education matures.


Stewart: First ND in Arizona elective

First naturopathic student participates in month-long integrative medicine elective at Weil’s Arizona program

A November e-bulletin
from the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges notes
that earlier this year Adrienne Stewart became the first naturopathic medical
student selected to participate in the month-long elective rotation in
integrative medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine. Stewart, now a naturopathic physician graduate from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM), jointed a group of MD students and residents from across the United States. A brief note in the SCNM news states:

“Dr. Stewart finished this rotation with a great sense of community
and gratitude. As the first
naturopathic physician to attend this rotation, she recognizes the need for naturopathic
physicians to be involved in the discussion of integrative medicine. She says, ‘Making positive changes from the
current health paradigm requires one of our greatest principles-docere. Docere not only involves the doctor and
patient relationship, but also extends to doctors as educators throughout our
evolving healthcare system.'”

Comment: Kudos to the
Az Center for
opening the door and to Stewart for walking through. My guess is that the
interprofessional component of this educational experience may have been
as rich for both Stewart and her conventional classmates as were any of
the courses.



Forbes: Time for integrative MDs to get certified

Holistic leader Forbes and ABIHM on grandfathering plans for the Arizona Center’s new Board Certification in Integrative Medicine

“The proposed merging process, we anticipate, will include ‘grandfathering’ of current ABIHM diplomates, making
the value of becoming certified over this next year a highly valuable
proposition that any interested physician (MDs and DOs) should strongly
. Now is the time!” So writes David Forbes, MD, ABIHM, past president of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) in the recent issue of AHMA’s newsletter. The italics are his. He expands: “Movement is occurring to merge interests with the Arizona Center for
Integrative Medicine in an endeavor to further hone an Integrative
Medicine Board Exam and increase the clout and credentials that such
certification would bring.” Forbes concludes by underscoring  the potential future value of the getting certified through the
American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM) today: “If you are not certified

yet by ABIHM, I urge you to do it next year! It is a deeply valuable
experience, an unparalleled exposure to the best of holistic/integrative
education, and a credential that is only going to exponentially
increase in value over the coming years.”


Supporting new Arizona-backed initiative

The web-page of the ABIHM makes it clear that the ABIHM is fully backing the University of Arizona-led effort to create a more formal board certification in integrative medicine through a relationship with the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). Grandfathering appears to be understood: “At this time, it appears that ABIHM Diplomates whose status is current
will be forgiven the fellowship requirement for sitting for the [new]
exam. All ABIHM Diplomates who wish to become certified by the ABPS will
be required to sit for the new exam.”

Comment: It’s a foolish medical doctor with any interest in integrative medicine who will not get moving on getting the ABIHM certification if he or she hasn’t got it already. “Forgiving the fellowship” forgives a $30,000 tuition fee, plus a significant time commitment.


Gaudet: Book for OB-Gyns re-published

OBGyns re-publish CAM booklet written by Tracy Gaudet, MD

The October 2011 edition of Clinical Updates Women’s Health Care from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is entitled Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The author is Tracy Gaudet, MD, former director of integrative medicine
programs at the University of Arizona and at Duke University. The
98-page monograph was first published in 2004. The intent is stated in
the abstract: ” … to help (OBGyns) guide patients in their treatment
choices, including guiding them away from potentially dangerous
alternative treatments and supporting their use of potentially
beneficial treatments.” Herb-drug negative interactions are highlighted early. Figure 1 provides readers a helpful “protocol for integrating complementary and alternative medicine with conventional medicine.” Page
78 offers a 16 question exam that can be taken to gain CME credit.
Chiropractors will not be pleased to see that the very first question
asks about “the most significant risk” from their services.


Battle between licensed acupuncturists and “dry-needling” escalates

Portland, Oregon-based Marilyn Walkey, MD, LAc is a rare medical doctor who has also
completed discipline-level training in acupuncture and Oriental
medicine (AOM) and gained licensing in that field. Walkey is not a fan of medical doctors or other practitioners who take short courses to practice “dry-needling” or other techniques that appear to the common person to be acupuncture. On November 25, 2011, she sent a link which she editorialized in an e-mail was “wonderful news from Medicare regarding ‘dry-needling.'” The document noted that one Mark Bucksbaum, MD from the Center for Integrative Medicine in Rutland, Vermont had paid $35,000 to settle with Medicare. The reason: Bucksbaum billed the federal agency for “trigger point injections” when these were actually “dry needling,” according to assistant US attorney Kevin Doyle. Doyle said that the only legitimate way to bill for such services was to use acupuncture codes, which are not covered by Medicare. 

Meantime, across the country, in Walkey’s homestate of Oregon, the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine received a supportive finding in its suit against the state’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the University of Western States, which is principally a chiropractic school. The acupuncture association argues that “dry needling” as practiced by chiropractors is “substantially the same” as acupuncture, and therefore should be illegal. Walkey sent notice in mid-November that the judge has found the OAAOM had a “likelihood of winning on merits.”


Comment: Inside the multidisciplinary Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) we call these these guild-battles “hotspots.” They come up a lot. One field’s expansion of practice by adding a modality threatens another’s basic practice. AOM practitioners may add Western herbs or homeopathy to their score with no additional required education. These cross over into the naturopathic doctor’s core training. Or to reverse the situation AOM-DC battle over needles, the AOM practitioner may use limited training in Tuina to effectively cause spinal adjustment but without education in chiropractic manipulation. Similarly, naturopathic doctors practice spinal manipulation based on far fewer hours than chiropractors. And NDs have the right to practice acupuncture in some states, as many states chiropractors and medical doctors do, based on 200-300 or fewer hours of education. Virtually all licensed integrative practitioners can give massage, regardless of whether their training touches even a 500 hour basic massage curriculum. Meantime, integrative medical doctors piece together practices through a series of weekend or multi-weekend courses, that rarely come close to matching the educational background of naturopathic doctors. At the same time, NDs and DCs claim rights as “primary care doctors” without completing post-graduate residencies. 

We in ACCAHC have attempted to find “cooling places” for the “hotspots.” What are the principles that might guide educators through this mine-field of guild sniping and bombing?

Our ACCAHC discussions (we have no position statement) have suggested that all disciplines make significant distinctions between modality-level education and discipline level education. Educators in any discipline that adds therapies through “modality level” training (such as acupuncture for pain) would optimally be required to make a point of thoroughly educating students to the substantially higher standards of those who have completed discipline-level training. Example: the licensed acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioner. Then there is the basic Pew Commission koan, as my colleague and ACCAHC co-founder Pamela Snider, ND learned through an examination of the naturopathic profession by the UCSF Center on Health Professions: Training to tested competency to scope. Something tells me that the acupuncturist versus dry needling battle will persist for some time regardless of any reasonable cooling points.


Madigan Medical Center: Hiring LAcs

Acupuncturist job listing for the Army puts salary at $73,000-$95,000

In mid-November a federal government jobs listing asked for two licensed acupuncturists for the Army Madigan Medical
Center, joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma, Washington. The listing is for a salary range of $73,4200-$95,444 per year. The two professionals will be part of the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center. The Center is described as:

” … focus(ing) on pain management strategies that are holistic,
multidisciplinary, and put Soldiers quality of life first. As a licensed
Acupuncturist, you will offer a full array of current and emerging
evidenced-based approaches for patients with acute and chronic pain who have
not responded well to conventional treatment modalities. You will work within a
multidisciplinary team to provide assessment, planning, implementation,
coordination, evaluation, and monitoring of patients for health options and
services. You will assist in developing, analyzing, integrating, monitoring,
and managing healthcare delivery systems through communication and use of
resources to promote quality and cost-effective outcomes across the continuum.”

Comment: We are accustomed to seeing
high-tech developments created in the military then translated for
civilian use. Makes me smile to think that it is the military that is testing out the deeper integration of licensed acupuncturists for
later export to regular medicine. (Thanks to Stacy Gomes, EdD, vice
president for academic medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental
Medicine for the tip.)


New ethics, standards for naturopathic doctors

Model naturopathic standards of practice and ethics sections expected to be added to Hawai’i law

The state of Hawai’i has passed into law a new section on Standards of Practice, Care & Ethics for naturopathic physicians. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians honored the state society for its work

in passing the amendments to its practice act, calling it a “model for
all states.”  Some components of the Ethics section include:

  • A requirement on “sufficient time” for individualized assessment and treatment (6C)
  • Referral (7C)
  • Requirement to not only “communicate but to educate” (8A)
  • Disclosure of any financial benefit from selling natural products (9B)

The Standards of Practice portion includes a
section on the NDs role in health promotion. A focus on health
optimization is declared, as is the NDs responsibility to “encourage a
patient toward independence and self-direction.”

Comment: For individuals not familiar with the primary care naturopathic practice, this document may be a particularly useful read.

Natural Products


McGuffin: Supplement industry calls for FDA to withdraw NDI plan

Industry group calls on FDA to withdraw “hugely flawed” program for new dietary ingredients (NDI)

The American Herbal Products Association has called on the US Food and
Drug Administration to “withdraw” its “hugely flawed” proposal for
regulating new dietary ingredients (NDI) used in herbal and other
dietary supplements. The FDA posted its plan in July of this year. In a December 5, 2011 release, AHPA took the following position:

of providing guidance regarding [Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act’s] DSHEA’s NDI notification provision, as
directed by section 113(b) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA),
the draft guidance seeks to erect extra-legal barriers to market entry,
impose food additive- and pharmaceutical-type evaluative criteria,
require multiple NDI notifications for dietary supplements beyond those
required by law, and transform the legal requirements for marketing of
dietary supplements that contain NDIs from the notification process
described under law to an FDA approval process.”

AHPA executive director Michael McGuffin notes that the organization’s intention is to work with the agency. “One
of the key features of AHPA’s comments is that it includes proposed
solutions that specifically recommend revisions to the draft guidance,”
McGuffin added. “AHPA has provided FDA with a thoughtful, thorough-and
most importantly, lawful-starting point for revised guidance.” The full text of AHPA’s comments are here.

Comment: The American Botanical Council (ABC) took a position

that focused on clarifying “old dietary ingredients. The 501c3
charitable organization urged that an expert advisory panel be created
to develop such a list. The ABC response is here.   Late breaking: AHPA sent a release December 6, 2011 noting that the 5 top trade associations are all calling for the FDA to withdraw the NDI document. 


ACA: Practitioner group weighs in against FDA’s plan

Chiropractic organization suggests regulation of NDIs may require legislation to restrain the FDA; AANP weighs in

In a release entitled “ACA Seeks Preservation of Patient Access to Dietary Supplements”, the American Chiropractic Association notified members that it believes that following a comment period, the FDA plan for new dietary ingredients (NDIs) will be “somewhat improved” over than the original proposal. However:

” … the Association believes it is
unrealistic to expect the FDA to satisfactorily address the full range
of the industry’s concerns, and that the final FDA requirements will
still prove overly burdensome and harmful to the interest of DCs and
their patients. If this proves to be the case, then the ACA and the
supplement industry will have to turn to Congress in order to seek the
enactment of a responsible legislative ‘fix’ to reign in the over-reach
of the FDA with respect to the NDI guidance requirements — and the ACA
fully anticipates supporting and cooperating with the industry in
seeking enactment of the required legislative solution, and engaging the
ACA’s grassroots resources in that battle. The ACA is monitoring the
NDI issue on an on-going basis and will inform its membership if and
when grassroots action is needed.”

A query to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) yielded a response at press-time. Their statement is posted here. The laud aspects of the regulation then note that access to 25% of products on the market may be impacted. Bottom line: “We believe it is in the consumers’ best interest to minimizing the use if overly burdensome regulations that do not impact the issues central to ensuring quality and patient safety.”



Micozzi’s new book guides consumers to appropriate CAM therapies

Marc Micozzi, PhD, MD co-authors Your Emotional Type with Michael Jawwer

Emotional Type

may be the Rosetta Stone we’ve been waiting for – a code for matching a
particular therapy to a particular patient. Micozzi and Jawer have
found gold.” So writes author Larry Dossey, MD in his liner note for this book co-authored by long-time integrative medicine leader Marc Micozzi, PhD, MD. Micozzi, the former director of integrative medicine at Jefferson University School of Medicine, was editor of the first textbook on complementary and integrative medicine. The new book appears to be hitting the public as an interesting hybrid: a science-based book, back-end loaded with references, that is also self-help and filled with useful resources. The authors, according to one reviewer, “look at the ways in which alternative healing modalities
work in relation to not only particular illnesses, but also the personalities
of people seeking treatment.”



Roger Rogers: Integrative oncology pioneer

In Memoriam: Canadian integrative oncology leader Roger Hayward Rogers, MD – 1929-2011

Roger Rogers, BA, BSW, MD, OBC died peacefully on November 22, 2011 in Victoria, BC. A note from backers of the Dr. Rogers’ Prize award that was established in his name stated simply: “His contributions to the
field of integrative medicine and his tireless efforts to gain widespread
recognition for – and acceptance of – complementary and alternative cancer
treatments in this country have created a great legacy. His warm spirit will be
greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.” Rogers’ work will most certainly live after him. His integrative cancer model, InspireHealth was embraced last year by the government of British Columbia and effectively became provincial policy through a program to roll the model out to 5 new clinics. The biennial $250,000 Dr. Rogers’ Prize award will continue on, regularly gathering leaders of the North American integrative health community in Rogers’ name, to honor leaders among them. Rogers obituary is available here.

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Written by John Weeks

Explore Wellness in 2021