AMA’s Government-Protected Monopoly Squeezes Out Alternative Medicine

July 27, 2010

stethoscope and dollarThe world of medicine is run by billing codes. Every hospital, doctor, and practitioner who accepts insurance or Medicare uses billing codes so they can be reimbursed. But where are the codes for integrative and alternative medical services?  Our Action Alert to the DHS this week asks for the incorporation of these integrative codes.

Healthcare codes describe medical, surgical, and diagnostic services, remedies, and supply items provided to patients. They are designed to communicate uniform information about medical services and procedures among physicians, coders, patients, accreditation organizations, payers (insurance, managed care, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.).
The code set copyrighted and maintained by the American Medical Association is called the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code. In 1983, an agreement between the HCFA (the government’s Health Care Financing Administration, which is under the Department of Health and Human Services) and the AMA made the CPT the sole coding system that could be used for billing Medicare. This monopoly completely squeezes out alternative and integrative medical practitioners.
The AMA’s codes are for treatments by conventional medical doctors, in allopathic medical care systems. There are no codes for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) because the AMA doesn’t deal in that type of medicine; for them to create CAM codes would in fact be a conflict of interest.
There is a competing system that can fill those gaps: the ABC codes—a system of 4,400 new codes specifically designed for those 4,300,000 non-MD practitioners working in professions such as nursing, behavioral health, alternative medicine, ethnic and minority care, midwifery, and spiritual care. They are important for a number of reasons:

  • they are HIPAA-compliant (HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act; passed by Congress in 1996, it allows for people to transfer and continue their health insurance coverage when they change or lose their jobs, mandates industry-wide standards for healthcare information on electronic billing, and requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information);
  • they can be used by both licensed and non-licensed healthcare practitioners on standard claim forms;
  • they complement existing code systems used in the allopathic setting;
  • they accurately document the care patients receive, covering a vast range of healthcare practices; and
  • they fulfill requirements imposed by both state medical boards and payers.

Widespread use of ABC codes is desperately needed so alternative medical providers can be fairly compensated for the services they provide, and can document and quantify the safety and efficacy of their treatments.
However, the AMA’s coding system is being spread across the board—and physicians are charged to use it, even though only 15–19% of practicing physicians are AMA members. And it’s a huge business. The AMA’s own website says, “The AMA is a successful business entity that generates approximately two-thirds of its annual $230 million operating budget from non-dues sources”—which includes the hefty fees to use the CPT codes.
In 1997, the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, ruled that the AMA’s exclusivity agreement with HCFA for using CPT “gave the AMA a substantial and unfair advantage over its competitors” and “constituted a misuse of the copyright by the AMA.” The court did not address whether the AMA’s conditions and high prices for a licensee’s use of the CPT code constituted violations of anti-trust law as well.
In 2001, when he was Senate Minority Leader, Trent Lott (R–MS) asked the Department of Health and Human Services to clarify the exclusivity arrangement it had with the AMA’s coding system. In response, the HHS approved a two year pilot project using the ABC codes. The pilot project was an amazing success, providing stunning statistics in a report showing the need for a revised billing code system—one that would include billing codes for ALL health practitioners.
According to ABC Coding Solutions, which developed the ABC codes, the AMA is now open to other coding systems, and ABC codes can work with CPT and provide supplemental information for billing, but the government has been unwilling to implement any changes that would have a greater effect on the healthcare billing system. Our Action Alert to the DHS this week asks for the incorporation of these integrative codes.
As we pointed out last week, doctors often have their hands tied by healthcare regulations. A doctor can be charged with a crime for billing an “unnecessary” treatment to the government or a private insurance company, because the CPT codes often do not allow for non-traditional services. This makes it difficult for doctors to bill their services accurately and puts them at risk of running afoul of government regulations.
There are several ways for an integrative doctor to reduce this risk. One is to not participate in any government program or accept private insurance.  Another is to avoid using the CPT codes and instead substitute the ABC codes—ABC will automatically convert its code to the AMA’s code for such billing purposes. This makes the treatment more likely to be covered, and it will therefore be harder to say that it is “unnecessary.” This can be  especially useful for an integrative clinic that is part of a hospital system that requires the AMA’s code.

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52 responses to “AMA’s Government-Protected Monopoly Squeezes Out Alternative Medicine”

  1. Emma Onawa says:

    As a consumer of alternative health services I appreciate the education and action on this issue. We need to have access to all options that are out there, not just alopathic medicine, which often is toxic and invasive.

  2. Fernando D. Craff says:

    What kind of freedom do we have?, there is freedom to abort a child if a woman chooses to do so, there is freedom to marry same sex partner, etc. But when it comes to our own health, we don’t have the freedom to choose an alternative treatment because the corrupt system that protects the big pharmaceuticals which in turn are protected by the FDA. The FDA doesn’t protect the public, and everyone knows this, only the powerful companies that want to impose their products and treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, etc. !!!IT IS TIME TO CHANGE THIS AND WE NEED TO UNITE AGAINST THESE CORRUPT SYSTEM AND EVERYONE THAT PROTECTS THEM!!! We need to get the government of our backs and stop policing us like criminals. Any Doctor that offer alternative treatment, should not be punished by the AMA or the FDA or the Government treating them as criminals. We control our bodies and we can do whatever we want to heal ourselves.

    • Leona Hill says:

      Right on, Fernando!! Very well said.

    • Jeff Levine says:

      While we are in the process of calling a spade a spade, the FDA must also be held for not stepping up and forbidding the mass poisoning of our public drinking water supplies with FLUORIDE. Every glass of water we drink has the same amount of Fluoride we are warned about ingesting from our toothpaste tubes. This is insanity to allow this menace to continue. The AMA has entirely too much power to dictate the practice of medicine. The whole scenario of this dance the AMA,FDA, CDC, and the government are doing with our safety issues is looking more like a peek into Wonderland and making about as much sense.

  3. OK, so you want me to not accept Medicare and any insurance to win the point that we need to move towards the ABC billing? While this proposition makes sense to my rebel side, who will pay my bills in the mean time?

    • Donna Appel says:

      How else do you think change is going to happen. If we keep doing the same thing over and over, we will keep getting the same results over and over. Who pays my bills? I’ll tell you who, me. No one else. I pay $400 a month for insurance I can’t even use. I have been doing this for years and years. I won’t cave in to allopathic medicine though. I want the right to choose. I want my insurance to be as good as anyone else in terms of having a choice. Right now I don’t have a choice. I either pay or I don’t get to use homeopathic medicine. I’ll never give up that right even if I have to live on a park bench to do it. Stand up for what you believe in and quit worrying about paying bills. It isn’t just about the money – thank goodness.

    • Sally G says:

      If I read the article correctly, you missed the point. It appears that doctors can simply start using the ABC codes, possibly still in conjunction with CPT codes if there is no equivalent (I am not a medical professional, so I read this as an interested amateur), and the ABC will make the required conversion. Yes, it will mean familiarizing yourself with new codes (or your staff, if any, doing so), but it would seem to offer both doctors and clients more of a choice—at my level of understanding, it seems worthwhile.

      • Mike in MI says:

        Sally,
        His problem is that he is perfectly happy with doing what he does, the way he has always done it, even knowing that the things he presently does are marginally effective or even (in many cases) deleterious to the well-being of his patients. But, he’s able to keep his nose above water (so far) and hopes that Bomb’Rcare will keep his biscuits out of the soup – regardless what it does to ours. We’re going to end up subsidizing the AMA fatties and health insurance companies. (The government will never be able to manage the health problems of a nation that stretches from Point Barrow (AK) to the Florida Keys, from Kauai (HI) to Eastport (MA), from the top of Denali to the bottom of Death Valley and everybody in between. Add to that the difficulties organizing about 111 new bureaucracies that will have to fight among themselves over heirarchies, funding and government salaries, bonuses and pensions taken from a decreasingly profitable private sector.) If Doctor Tom thinks he’s got problems now …HAH!!!
        He is reticent to investigate or learn about what might be out there in the integrative medicine and natural health care fields – even if incorporating some of it in his protocols happens to make him a better doctor. Actually, he’s probably scared to death that what he learned in medical school, internship and specialty rotations wil never finish paying his educational loans. But never fear, the Prez has already said those will be forgiven if the Doc pledges to vote the Obamacrats. (We’ll get that privilege – and bill.)

        • Mike in MI says:

          Oh, there’s another problem with being bound by diagnosis codes in order to get a course of treatment OK’d or paid for it.
          By being forced to work through a CPT system of diagnosis constructs it will forever be impossible to get to preventive and wellness care – which is what most real integrative and natural health care providers want to do. The greatest impediment to getting rid of all the suffering and diseases is the government-pharmaco-medical system that educates our culture from cradle to grave that you go like hell eating, living and doing whatever pleases you until you get sick. They convince everyone they can care for everything that ails us. When, in fact, that first conjuction of patient with “the system” is the start of tests, visits, diagnoses, visits, treatments/therapies until we gasp, “Do whatever you need to so I can get rid of this _____(fill in the blank). Yes, I’ll sign anything if it’ll work.” (There might be a perfectly viable natural care or therapeutic system that cures without leaving elephant tracks in the rest of your life…But, where’s the profit in that for “the system?”)
          We’re in a hopeless mess until we get rid of the system that requires a “diagnosis of disease” coding number on the bill before care/payment can proceed.

    • Julie Figueroa says:

      You don;t have to stop accepting Medicare and insurance. All you have to do is sign the petition. We the patients will continue paying your bills in the meantime, as we always have.

    • Mary says:

      Dear Dr. Spicer… you really need to become more aware…. maybe through becoming a better listener (it will help with your patients and your success)…
      First: There are many doctors who have practices without accepting ANY medical insurances and they do VERY well. People with or without money, or with or without insurance – all become ill. You need to become less fearful and more trusting of those forces that create with us.
      Second: You seem to minimize the situation into “winning a point.” The real point is that this is no game to us the patients, the sick, the ones paying hundreds or thousands of dollars a month to be covered for “in case” we become seriously ill, or have an accident which will be the true reasons for insurance – because otherwise that same money would cover more than our few yearly illnesses (and there you have your paying customers) and we would have plenty left over to enjoy on other things or better spend on other bills…. and here is where the real point expands. Insurance is a construct invented by corporate man to gain profit. Period. The sole reason for the creation of insurance is to create a business to take advantage of an opportunity – an opportunity foreseen from the lucrative prospects that millions of sick people would create and that fear and insecurity over Unforeseen tragedy would promulgate – to make profits ….and profit they have– by the BILLIONS. And in making that profit, they have been allowed to milk our sicknesses by creating a system that INSURES and assures THEM with perpetual profit by limiting OUR FULL access to medical procedures and ethical medical evaluations that may determine the cause and treatment of our illness in an effective and timely manner, and as this window of time stays wide open, so too their pockets with billions of monthly remittance of claimless but paid premiums. To the point: Delaying our diagnoses creates for them more profits in not having to pay claims for diagnostic procedures, doctor visits, prescriptions, therapy, etc., during that delayed but insured time. And now the government has joined in on the game – why else was it so unanimously coveted by politicians?
      The shame that I find, is that millions of DOCTORS – without which there would be no insurance companies – have sold themselves to this travesty of a system, as the insurance companies are the ones calling the shots as to whether a sick person gets the care their illness requires – from the amount of time a doctor spends with a patient to FIND OUT what is wrong with them, to the diagnostic procedures needed to efficiently and quickly DETERMINE the needs, to even the number of visits ALLOWED (allowed – can you believe that?!!) for any illness, or SEQUENCE of protocols to follow. Anyone, and the only ones who truly learn the system, who has suffered through a chronic illness learns this. An example is (and this is just one of many): I was told by a doctor to go change my insurance, because she had to follow an insurance protocol that required her to give me a drug for acid reflux that would make osteoporosis worse, so I refused it because I told her I have osteoporosis, yet she could not do anything else unless that step was attempted first to see if that drug helped the condition – because she said otherwise she would not be paid (?!!!!). Now how insane is this? Give a drug for a particular condition that worsens another particular condition, without a guarantee that the condition being treated would be resolved within a year – without even an investigation to determine whether the condition assessed in one minute is truly the root of the problem (I had other severe symptoms that were ignored AND a history of stomach and intestinal cancer in my immediate family, and aged 51)?? What happened to “First no harm”? And this coming from so-called medical professionals who consider themselves scientists, who claim to want to heal people??? With this implication, if I were a doctor my conscience would not allow me to even accept such a proposition from an insurance company, for the patient would be better off without it. Well… I’ve got news for her though… and doctors….and all patients…. I still have not assessed the root of the problem, due largely because I do not have access to that ABC coding… but I have gotten 90% better (to be more graphic: I can now leave the house without urinating on myself from the chronic hacking cough, while purging for 8 hours over the toilet seat) by changing my diet to mainly a vegetarian one and taking various herbs and supplements, and doing intestinal cleansing, and trying to eliminate all artificial substances. So thank God for those doctors who don’t walk the beaten path and are willing to share via the Internet.
      Again the point: That all you millions of doctors have accepted your education, your discernment, your ethics, your comprehension of healing, of humanity, being manipulated and controlled by a FEW controlling the hording and self-serving insurance construct of corporate man. And who made this coding contract with the government again? Re-read the article… why your AMA did! The same few who are controlling and manipulating all you millions of doctors…controlling innovation… controlling truth… controlling the status quo through peer-shaming… hey… controlling intrinsic contemplative thought – the foundation of discovery! Hmmmm….wasn’t the now powerful AMA created by a few doctors at the turn of the century creating procedures and protocols for the sheep-doctorlings to follow? I am so sure you can think of things to change just from your experience in residency…unless they succeeded in making you another automaton. But why have you all been so quiet and complacent all these decades….would benefitting from this system have something to do with the silence? It seems to me that it certainly does for them, given how much stake the pharmaceuticals have on your education (the millions they donate to Universities?)…oh, another controller?
      Now that’s not just a point anymore – that’s a Big Black Life Sucking Hole.
      Third: Do you understand even the point of ABC coding? Of course not, the few we unmasked earlier have made sure you don’t… especially the ones who have donated. Take my own example earlier…that example is the reason I no longer go to a allopathic doctor, most of the time you can’t do anything for me (this out of years of experience) or you won’t. Many years ago I lost 10 years of my youth on a chronic unidentified illness (now called fibromyalgia) where nothing was done for me – leaving me dumbfounded and disillusioned with a medical science I was entrained to believe had a handle on leading edge technology and knowledge. The devastating part, the culprit in them labeling me depressed, was that they were not even interested in investigating what was wrong with me, as I discovered that the actual handle they had on medicine was on existing labels – for no new possibilities existed besides these pre-accepted lists of labels. One was simply not allowed to have any other. A monopoly on disease? Now, was this our revered expanded Hominid modern consciousness?
      What about my chronic illness….? After 10 years of searching I did find healing….. through holistic (natural ) medicine and methods, which gave those 10 years + back to me within just 2 years with an immediate improvement within just the first 3 months. The doctor? A neurologist turned natural physician and an applied kineseologist chiropractor… Detox and internal cleansing. Building up of the endocrine system. Nervous system and organ system stimulation and adjusting energy meridians through chiropractic (recent studies demonstrate that these meridian pathways run through the body’s whole fascia system – a wonder why we experience muscle exhaustion and pain?). Building up the depleted body with vitamins and minerals and a natural diet upon which we are genetically dependent, as the cosmic beings (Big Bang?) we are, born from and upon this Earth to feed from. The ABC codes definitely need expansion in the light of my experience and the experience of the millions who are evidenced by the grown and growing billion dollar industry of supplements, and turning to “alternative” practitioners and modalities that are RESOLVING our problems – including cancer! THERE are your customers. (Did you know there is a serum that cures 200 types of cancers, but that endeavor was abandoned by medicine because the natural ingredients could not be patented. Find a Naturopathic Physician to explain that to you.) With just the implementation of these codes there will be an influx of patients, as we need your diagnostic tools and a variety of modalities for an accelerated recovery in this area of healing arts.
      The question is: What exactly is the goal, intent, and purpose of medical science, and the AMA??
      Healing doesn’t seem to be one of them.
      What have you chosen?
      Again, insurances, institutions, boards… are MAN-MADE-CONSTRUCTS. They are NOT absolutes. They are NOT required in reality, nor in and of themselves. WE have allowed them to be and grow like weeds – in the meantime the few grow rich from our tragedies – literally controlling our lives. We convert them from concepts to concrete, imbedding them as fixed structures and architectures into every facet of our lives, forgetting they were initiated to serve US, NOT to enslave us.
      The millions of doctors should ban together and strike in the name of ethics… in the name of humanity… to put a stop to this insanity – see what results we’ll have then. This must be done in one sweep to get immediate and permanent results. What do we have to lose – we are ill and dying anyway! Imagine what power – the millions of you against the few of them. You have allowed AMA and the insurance industry to dictate to you like puppets, robbing your trusting patients of their well being and future – and robbing YOU of your hard work and intrinsic cognitive ability to create better circumstances. No construct that undermines the well being of humanity should be allowed to exist. Better yet….the millions of patients should pool their premiums together… hey, just like insurances….see how much more we can get accomplished with our profits (from investing). If someone has the fearlessness and resources to initiate all this – good-bye AMA , FDA, CDC, EPA as we know it! You have my support.
      Wake up! All of you.

      • Shirley says:

        Very well said. I wish we could send to President Obama for his birthday, all of the round table there in Washington D. C.. It really couldn’t have been said any better. I highly applaud you. I take natural supplements from a very good company and haven’t really needed to see a doc since 2004.
        Thank you for a absolutely well written comment.

      • The article, as well as the comments, are most informative! As a result of upbringing and other formal education, I have developed a bias against certain “modern” medical treatments, yet I had no idea about many of the facts I am reading here. I recently enrolled in a college accredited certification course for medical billing. I am halfway through and not one of my professors has ever explained the health system in the manner explained here. I certainly had no idea that “alternative” medicine practitioners are excluded from payment under the various coding protocols.
        What does a student of coding do in this situation.I like the idea of MD’s using the ABA codes suggested here. Where doIi learn about them so that I can educate my future employers about such payment alternatives?

  4. Mariea Gill says:

    This is an issue that is LONG past due!

  5. Vinayak says:

    We need to stand firm on this issue and not let this happen to us.

  6. Greg says:

    Allopathic approaches are often helpful and necessary. But they should not squeeze out equally effective approaches to healing.

    • Greg says:

      Great comment!

      • glory says:

        what’s so special about allopathic medicine – they treat a symptom without investigating what is the true source of the problem. Then they layer on additional medication for all the side effects from the original medication. I jumped the allopathic wagon 4 years ago and its the best thing I ever did I have never felt so good.

      • Kevin O'Brien says:

        And how do practices, some thousands of years old, become “alternative” to those that are merely 100-150 years old? I resent the fact that time tested and effective modalities are mislabeled this way. This automatically leaves these modalities at a disadvantage in society and within the system.

        • Juliana Hill says:

          Yes! I have the same observation. I object to non-allopathic treatment being called alternative. Alternative to WHAT??? This implies that the AMA’s tenets are the standard from God.
          When a patient has an illness and consults an MD, that patient thinks that the doc is going to find out what is wrong and then offer relevant treatment for the CAUSE. What really happens is that the doc asks himself:”Which of my preconceived conditions can I fit this illness into? Ask a doc. What they do is go through the bodily systems and check of each one as okay or not. If no system has red-flags, the patient is declared well. This absurd quickie is taught in med school. This is what you pay these huge sums for?
          But you will not leave that five-minute encounter with nothing. You will leave with prescriptions for drugs to mask your symptoms. How many of these prescriptions are written to generate kick backs for the doc?
          I have nerve damage from MD treatment. I spent over a year

      • Sandra says:

        I don’t want insurance to pay for alternatives. They are affordable right now, and once the medical establishment gets hold of it, it will no longer resemble alternatives. Keep using the medical establishment if you want. I just want the FDA and the FTC to stay out of the alternative industry and let me choose them freely.

        • Suzy says:

          I’m glad someone mentioned the semantic issue of calling older practices “alternative” to fledgling systems. How about this one? I completed a Master of Public Health degree in International Health in in 1991. We studied healing traditions of various cultures. They were referred to as “traditional” healing. Has anyone noticed how now, when we read about “alternatives to traditional modalities” they are referring to traditional medicine as the alternative, and fledgling modern western allopathic medicine as “traditional?” Straight out of George Orwell’s “1984”…doublespeak. Where war equals peace and documentation of history is changed to fit the current political powers’ version.

    • Squeezing out … it goes beyond that! Corporate rule is where it’s at and it’s time to push that out. Keep pushing until we win. It’s happening but a slow process.

    • Lou says:

      Allopathic approaches are mostly indicated when the patient is near deaths door. Incidentally most cancer victims have decades to clean up their lives to defeat cancer. A little pro-action is required.
      CHRONIC problems are almost NEVER helped by putting POISONS into a patient. Putting POISONS into a chronically ill patient is the standard of medical care. Education of the patient in nutrition, prevention, and the true risks of allopathy is almost NEVER given as care.
      The public has to understand this and HAS to reject it. Allopathic medicine HAS to be rejected by the patient IMO for 95% of his problems. It takes an informed patient to know the 5% of the medical problems to trust to allopathy.
      The patient has an IMMENSE responsibility he MUST not expect to be given a pill for MOST health problems to include CVD, Cancer, HBP, joint pain and headaches.

  7. Madeleine B. Furth says:

    Some health insurance companies will pay $300,000 for regular cancer care and will refuse to pay $700 for alternative medicine care. For stage 3 use Essiac tea for cancer and look on Internet for things to take with it. Use http://www.beating-cancer-gently.com flax seed oil and cottage cheese. See Bill Henderson and Johanna Budwig on Internet. See http://www.cancertutor.com. See Cancer, Step Our of the Box by Ty Bollinger. See natural cures for …. Chinese cures for holistic cures for
    Ayurvedic cures for, We can cure Alzheimer’s. I will gladly give you 6 boxes of info on alternative medicine.

  8. Madeleine B. Furth says:

    I was THRILLED that you suggested that a health practitioner can use ABC codes which the AMA can translate into their codes and so the insurance company might pay.
    THANK YOU that you sent a new Action Alert.
    Do tell me when I can give good news to doctors who practice alternative medicine. PLEASE

  9. Stand_Bear says:

    This kind of behavior reminds me of Nazi Germany. What we do not like we suppress, by any means. There are no real choices, or freedoms when it comes to being ill. Should I not have a say as to who and by what means I am treated for what ails me? According to the AMA, and the FDA, they all know what is best for me,

    • Donna Appel says:

      Cheers to you for speaking out. The AMA and the FDA only know what is best for them and their powers that be. We just line their pocketbooks. I agree on the German connection. That is how I am feeling. I certainly no longer think that the USA is the land of the free but it is certainly is the home of the brave. It takes bravery to stand up against these criminals. Thank you for helping by doing that and not sticking your head in the sand.

  10. Lou says:

    They hold vast conferences and puzzle over how to cut health care costs.
    The answer is simplicity itself, open up the health care market to COMPETITION.
    If a doctor can successfully treat cancer with baking soda let him. Chemo, which costs 10,000 to 15,000 per month, kills 98% of those treated. Can baking soda do worse? It sure costs less.

    • Cheryl Foster says:

      Amen to that. There needs to be more doctors that practice alternative medicine. And the
      insurance companies need to be forced to help pay for alternative medicine, which does not have
      all the side effects that the other medicines have.

  11. Robert Cruder says:

    RE: “Trent Lott (D–MS) ”
    Retired Senator Trent Lott is probably surprised that he was a Democrat. He always claimed to be a Republican.

  12. I don’t pay anything, not a cent, to use CPT codes for billing. You are being misleading when you say that this is a cost for doctors. What does cost is buying software or books to get lists of the codes.
    It’s also not true that alternative medicine is “completely squeezed out” by the CPT codes. There are codes for acupuncture and chiropractic. There are also evaluation and management codes that can be used for office visits, irrespective of the type of treatment.
    What IS true is that many types of treatment are left out of the CPT codes. There is actually an international effort going on with WHO to remedy this.
    The ABC codes are a great idea, but since at this point very few insurers accept them, they haven’t solved the problem so far.
    Refusing to accept insurance accomplishes little except to make our services less accessible to patients. For low-income patients this can be crucial.
    Elene Gusch
    Doctor of Oriental Medicine

    • Mike in MI says:

      Boy, you got that right. Chiropractic is really right up there on the top of what they want to pay for.
      The medical doctor gets the patient for some complaint chiropractic is known to be far more effective for (there are mountains of research that prove how effective and less expensive chiropractic is). But, the MD gets the patient, irradiates him ’til he glows, orders Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatories, pain pills and other things that interfere with healing, sends him to PhysioTher for about four months or until the insurance company starts to get antsy that this patient is a chronic pain patient. Then the patient starts to get disgusted with the pain and costs, and walks out. By this time the patient has a problem that at one time could have been healed quickly and easily.
      But now, the tissues around the injury have healed up and formed scar tissues around the injury (locking it in position like an internal cast), bones have changed their configuration, nerves have become chronically hyper-irritated, the patient is discouraged (worried he’s now doomed to the life of an invalid) and he’s got insomnia due to pain. The insomnia makes him confused, more irritable, impossible to live with (so he feels guilty too), depressed and frustrated. So, he’s right on top of his world.
      He goes to a chiropractor or other healer who might be able to really undo what the MD did and fix him – in about 18 months (because of the abuse received at the MD’s hands). The insurer gives chiropractic about twelve visits and cuts the patient off – just about the time he was beginning to feel better, though he’s not out of the woods. Because, remember, the MD did not do what needed to be done (because of medical traditions) and the patient’s body healed in a mess and in a couple years the patient will begin to beat apath from his hous to the MD office for organic and pain problems emanating from the spinal injury that, at one time, could have been fixxed in a month or so without any sequellae.
      For his trouble dealing with the insurer the chiropractor will get his bills cut, some care he rendered refused and – at some future point – an audit with a demand to pay back a bunch.
      So, why DO you buy insurance?

  13. Sondra Braun says:

    I have successfully treated my cancer with baking soda much to the oncologist and surgeons dismay. I allowed them to monitor my progress and the tests to prove my cancer is “dead’ was all paid for by the insurance company at a whopping $22,000. T he “cure” I paid out of pocket cost me approximately $40.00. $6.00 for the baking soda and and the rest was for the pure maple syrup to mix it with.It took 5 months to kill it. This is all it should ever cost to cure cancer. No hair loss and no looking like an anorexic like the chemo patients.

  14. Joseph C Moore Cpo USN Ret says:

    I like the baking sod versus chemotherapy analogy. All the government agencies are powered by drug company lobby money (bribes, in effect), and suppress any alternative treatment (that may be quantitatively more effective) but do not generate money to satisfy the greed of the government and the empowering drug companies.

  15. elizabeth says:

    I have great insurance. I almost never collect or even use it because I always opt for the scans and CTs that actually show more, are more thorough and are one time tests and insurance doesn’t cover them. BTW, these tests are way less invasive to your health. I use alternative therapies mostly and never have complications and they are effective. Strange, but true, this is almost never the case in my with allopathic experience. In fact, my experience has shown allopathic treatments to be “devils” of cure and run a goose chase marathon and really racks up the totals! Totally support allopathic trauma care – in the hands and hearts of the most educated, experienced, honorable allopathic..

  16. Donna Appel says:

    Yeah Lou. I couldn’t have said it better. I’m with you. Whatever works – however, it won’t make anyone rich and I think at this time in our history, the focus needs to be off of money and on to compassion and quality of life. It takes a village and I’m looking for mine right now. Anyone care to join me.

  17. Akebono Airth says:

    Most allopathic so-called “cures” involve the masking of symptoms with drugs so the patient doesn’t have to suffer. However, the medications used to mask these symptoms have side-effects that create new illnesses. This is not what healing is supposed to do.
    I have no desire to be attended by an allopathic physician; allopathy, or conventional medicine, is not traditional medicine, which is the only way to truly heal. Yet many who have taken the hypocratic oath are also involved in trying to regulate the sale of herbs and homeopathic remedies because they don’t really care if people heal — they’re just interested in their bottom-line.

  18. Chatham H. Forbes Sr. says:

    Push without letup to correct this injustice. Don’t get mad get even! Chatham H. Forbes Sr.

  19. Nancy says:

    If the ABC codes are different from the CPT codes and include integrative medicine treatments and evaluations, but the CPT does not, how can the ABC codes be converted to CPT codes without risking inaccurate or fraudulent CPT coding, putting the M.D. integrative medical practitioner (like me) at risk?

  20. Linda says:

    Thank you for pushing for this change and for informing the public of the bottlenecks in this process. It would seem that doctors would also want to push for this type of change to the system. If a doctor cannot get paid for a service that is not ‘seemingly’ covered in the CPT codes, it would make sense that he would have to chose to ‘indudge’ your medical history with a skewed ‘code’ just to be paid for his services. I wouldn’t want my doctors to have to chose between receiving no payment vs. induldging my ‘history’ with a code that doesn’t really fit my diagnosis, just to get paid for services. I hope that doctors recognize that it would make more sense, be more accurate, and be much easier to get paid for services, if the ABC codes were incorporated, and hopefully they too will push for this to occur.

  21. Susan Fleming says:

    One of my dogs was diagnosed with cancer 3.5 years ago. Three veterinarians gave him one year or less to live. Two of the veterinarians suggested that he be treated with radiation and the third veterinarian, who has a homeopathic/holistic practice, said that the type of cancer my dog had could be treated with homeopathic supplements. My dog lived 2.5 years longer than expected on natural supplements.
    Now, I also take a wide range of homeopathic supplements and many of the ailments that used to afflict me no longer do. I believe in proactive rather than reactive health care. Actually, the so called health care system that we depend on for our health is actually a “sickness care system.” Very few allopathic doctors provide information about how we can proactively take care of our health. They provide “bandages” for sickness because that’s how they make a living. They need to see patients frequently. Healthy people don’t earn them a salary.

  22. I will post this on my twitter page, facebook and send this to my patients. Thanks for letting me know. I will be adding things like this to my site as well as other things. http://www.drtchiro.com
    http://www.twitter.com/drtchiro

  23. Shirley says:

    I applaud you for going the holistic path. Supplements does work for the animals too. After my son spent over a thousand dollars on his dog for heart worms and seeing two different doctors, the medicines (more poisions) did not work. His dog was coughing up his insides from his moutn and spewing all blood from the other end. After about two or three weeks of the veterinarian doctor’s approach, I decided to share some of my supplements with him (dog). Within the first week he made a miraculous recovery. This was in 2008, he is still here.

  24. Gloria Allen says:

    It doesn’t surprise me one iota that govt. “health care” does not want to acknowledge the need and validity of alternative medicine. There is substantial financial benefit between govt. and big pharma. Each one repays the other in any number of ways.
    But Alternative health care doesn’t play that game. It doesn’t have big lobbyists for starters. Alternative medicine is honest, non-toxic health care and allows people to get better from natural approaches. It’s about getting better. not sicker.
    Further, alternative medicine doesn’t have dirtty hands. It doesn’t have big companies whose roots can be traced back to manufacturtibng xyclon B (if I remember correctly) – a poison gas that Nazis used to gas millions, and that later became a big well-known pharm company.
    Check out Alex Jones – prisonplanet.com and his other site to get the real scoop on the scarey history of many of these pharm companies. Or bettter still, here ihim on shortwave radio.

  25. Juliana Hill says:

    I agree. I object to calling non-MD treatment “alternative”. What made that narrow-minded revenue producing quickie treatment the standard?
    When a patient is unwell and consults an MD, that MD will ask himself what of his packaged illnesses he can call it. Is there any attempt to diagnose? Labels replace diagnosis.
    The doc quickly goes through the bodily systems looking for red flags. If none pops up, the patient is declared well. This is medical education. What would that be worth in a free market? The OV cost for these five minutes is $200 where I live.. I
    The patient will not leave empty-handed. He will leave with drug prescriptions that will hide the symptoms. Cause or origin of illness is simply not a concern. The patient may have paid a lot for no diagnosis or treatment of the real problem, but it gets worse. The prescriptions may cause further illness. That illness will be denied.
    Is this mal-prescribing .going to be exposed? It has little chance. The illnesses produced by modern medicine last far longer than the Statutes of Limitations. This is not just a hunch. It happened to me. I am in contact with other victims of similar treatment.. Anyone who is bedridden, in multiple kinds of pain, perhaps having seizures, is too incapacitated and isolated to bring the MD to justice.
    There is more. Any MD who offers a wider scope of practice and does not use drugs as sole treatment may lose license to practice. I saw this two times. I know two other docs who fear that this will happen to them. Responsible practice can spell the end of a medical career.
    Last is this. I did get records to evaluate my cases anyway. Some pages were missing. Other entries had been altered.
    Consumer, beware..

  26. Please do not take away my right to seek out alternative/natural medicine….

  27. let me have my health freedom to pursue natural medicine.

  28. felix mosso says:

    I agree mostly with all of you. People need to do some serious THINKING each time they VOTE. I think most people vote so that they can tell their friends that THEY voted for the WINNER! I vote for the one that I think or has proven can do a good job for US!! no matter what party they are affiliated with and the MEDIA could do MUCH more by informing everyone the good and bad of each one BEFORE an election !
    INDEP Voter

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