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The basic idea is to preserve the conventional medicine monopoly by all means possible, including the use of state medical boards and physician credentialing groups.

There’s a close-knit confederacy of three powerful conventional medical organizations in the United States. These groups work closely together and are allied with both federal and state  government. One of their prime objectives appears to be to eliminate competition from natural health practitioners, especially integrative MDs and DOs, whom they seem to regard as traitors.

Decades ago, chiropractors sued the American Medical Association for similar assaults which they believed represented an illegal restraint of trade. The case went to the Supreme Court, which sided with the chiropractors. The present assault on integrative doctors seems to us to be just more of the same, motivated by the same crass business reasons-though it’s even worse this time.

If this sounds like a conspiracy theory, it’s not. Let’s look more closely at the AMA and its allies.

  • The American Medical Association (AMA)
    is the most powerful of the three groups we’ll discuss. It influences Medicare prices, has recommended that drug companies keep mercury in vaccines, and makes about $218.8 million a year on its government-granted CPT medical code monopoly. It’s also the eighth most powerful special interest on Capitol Hill, spending $18 million on lobbying in 2013

  • The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB)
    co-runs the medical licensure exam and is the umbrella organization for the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). In turn, ACCME accredits organizations that provide Continuing Medical Education (CME), which is mandatory for all licensed doctors. The FSMB has a history of discrimination against integrative medicine. Allegedly a private organization, it is hard to gather much information about, but it also seems to be led by the AMA, and seems especially determined to eliminate integrative doctors by one means or another. We will be writing more about the Federation in the future. 

  • The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
    consists of specialty boards of medicine (e.g., the American Board of Allergy and Immunology) and offers board certification. The ABMS was formed by a conference that included the FSMB and the AMA, and considers both organizations to be Associate Members.
  • Technically, board certification is not mandatory. After all, doctors are required to remain abreast of the latest medical developments in other ways, such as through mandatory CME classes. But since the FSMB controls CME accreditation, doctors are forced to play the AMA/FSMB/ABMS game, one way or another.

    Moreover, the best jobs in medicine are typically reserved for those who are “fellows” of a given board. The higher rungs of medicine are run very much like a classic Medieval guild: knowing the right people and not displeasing them will make or break your career, regardless of your talent.