December 2014 John Weeks Integrator Round-Up: Professions & Organizations

by John Weeks, Publisher Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports   Breakthrough Agreement between State Massage Therapy Boards and National Certifying Group   A major obstacle to coherent advancement of the massage therapy field was overcome recently in an agreement

by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports

Breakthrough Agreement between State Massage Therapy Boards and National Certifying Group

A major obstacle to coherent advancement of the massage therapy field was overcome recently in an agreement between the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards and the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Under the agreement, the NCBTMB “will no longer provide examinations for licensure purposes and will now focus exclusively on delivering quality certification programs.” Leena Guptha, DO, MBA, BCTMB, the chair of the NCBTMB states: “This landmark demonstration of collaboration between these two premier organizations exemplifies ambassadorship by leaders shaping the future of the profession. I am very proud to lead the NCBTMB through this transformation and evolution.” Meantime, Karen Armstrong, FSMTB vice president, adds: “This represents a monumental shift for the profession in a positive direction and benefits all therapists. The regulatory community will also benefit from this simplification and standardization of the licensing process.” Guptha explains the move in this Massage Today article.

Comment: The move is indeed another good one toward unity in a field that has suffered from serious internal dysfunction for years. The rapprochement follows, for instance, an announcement that virtually all of leading national organizations associated with the field will join the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation and the Alliance for Massage Therapy Educators in a joint conference in July 2015. Credit Guptha’s leadership for moving the NCBTMB in the right direction: tough for any organization to limit its principle revenue stream. Now to focus on the places where specialty massage certification may be useful to all concerned.


Professional Self-Care:  Chiropractors Promote Bill to Improve Chiropractic Medicare Documentation

“We can no longer make the assertion that we are being discriminated against," said American Chiropractic Association president Anthony Hamm, DC in an announcement to ACA members of the introduction of Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act (PIMA), H.R. 5780. The bill urges that Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop an education program to help improve documentation in chiropractic Medicare claims. Hamm underscores his point: "While this legislation may appear to be an indictment against the chiropractic profession, comparative data from 2011 shows [chiropractic] at the top of the error rate list at 44.1 percent.” Thus, Hamm argues, the additional concern is warranted. The bill stipulates that the program would be created in consultation with the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and representatives of Medicare administrative contractors.

Comment: Hamm, who happens to be the most influential of any integrative health and medicine practitioner on the American Medical Association’s powerful coding committees, sees a very positive silver lining if this program is enacted: “It will also potentially offer us the opportunity to interact with CMS and the individual Medicare Administrative Contractors to provide a better understanding of our unique model of patient care."


From Holism to Love: Marking the Transition of the 36 Year-Old AHMA into the Emerging AIHM

On November 26, 2014, the 36-year-old American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) issued its final newsletter. The e-newsletter begins with an AHMA banner at the top and ends with a logo for the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) at the bottom: all AHMA members are now charter members of the new ”Academy” as it is increasingly known. In his final words as AHMA executive director, Steve Cadwell – now the AIHM co-executive director – honors a critical consideration of the AHMA during the year-long transition: “You insisted that AHMA keep its DNA, maintain its treasured holistic-medicine principles and hold the Academy to its promise to center its work on the healing power of love.” AHMA modeled interprofessionalism in recent years for an association, with members who were MDs, DOs, NDs, DCs, LAcs, RNs, PAs, nutritionists and others.

Comment:  Among the very first, organized signs in the emergence of a new health and medicine in the United States was the founding in 1978 of the AHMA. Mainly the organization has served as a sanctuary, providing a periodical and a conference, while generally eschewing politics in favor of the heal thyself work in nurturing a new community. Meantime, AHMA has served as a pioneering zone for AIHM’s own interprofessionalism. As a close observer of this migration (I serve on AIHM’s board), I am particularly impressed with how leading with the heart - a practice scorned and derided by hardened professionals of all stripes, inside and outside of medicine – has infused the emerging AIHM with both a deep resonance with inclusion and the skillsets to populate it.


Wikipedia Guts Homeopathy: Ullman Makes Case for Prejudice in the Whole Form

Homeopathy, author and promoter Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH, sent a note to the Integrator that simply read: “I have presented a very strong case for extreme bias at Wikipedia and I'm sure that many CAM therapies have similar problems.” The article, with over 2300 “likes” as of December 8, 2014, is Dysfunction at Wikipedia on Homeopathic Medicine. Ullman frames his take-down as on open letter to Jimmy Wales following a chance encounter Ullman had with the Wikipedia co-founder. Ullman focuses on presenting evidence that the charges in Wikipedia’s homeopathy page of “pseudoscience” and “implausibility” are incorrect, citing multiple meta-analyses that conclude otherwise. He suggests that in a case like this where antagonists are “squatting on a subject,” Wikipedia should consider simply allowing two stories. Ullman’s letter is co-signed by an international group of scientists.

Comment:  The medicine may be in infinitesimal doses but the controversy is huge. In fact, on Wikipedia, according to Ullman, “homeopathic medicine” ranks #2 behind “Jesus Christ” as most controversial. Religion figures heavily in each. I particularly like the contortions of this logic relative to the sub-controversy of whether water - such as that in which homeopathic remedies are succussed - can have memory. Ullman quotes former Nobel Prize winner Brian Josephson, PhD: "The idea that water can have a memory can be readily refuted by any one of a number of easily understood, invalid arguments."