Sunday, July 25, 2010

ASAM creates a new medical board speciality to compete with boarded psychiatrists and psychologists

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has created a New Board Specialty in order to control Federal grant funds and other public financing in behavioral medicine.

American Society of Addiction Medicine certification FASAM is not equivalent to medical board certification. On their website the ASAM admits that the ASAM " examination is not a Board examination. ASAM is not a member of the Board of American Board of Medical Specialties, and ASAM Certification does not confer board Certification. " http://www.asam.org/ExamHistory.html

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders. The ASAM conveniently refuses to acknowledge the DSM IV R criteria for various addictive disorders and instead has their own criteria which was concocted by their own doctors with histories of addiction. Dr. George Douglas Talbott was one of the initial writers of the ASAM manual on addiction. This book is used by ASAM doctors as the bible to diagnosis people with "addiction". So they created their own criteria and based that on symptoms which in the real DSM IV R are attributed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Acute and Complex). The PHP never gives anyone just a diagnosis of PTSD because that would not allow them to legally prevent their whistleblowing testimony to be heard in a court of law. It is important to recognize the difference between PTSD which is a psychiatric injury as opposed to what is a mental disease. This is a legal as well as a medical concept.

Based on this newly concocted diagnostic manual dreamed up by the members of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the ASAM then started their own credentialing program and called the graduates who learned their new diagnostic approach Fellows and gave them the initials FASAM behind their names. The ASAM is now trying to grandfather in their FASAM members as being boarded experts in behavioral medicine without going through the strenuous residential internships currently required to call a doctor a boarded expert. Should allegations of domestic violence and human rights violations be permanently erased from a doctor's record so that he can move into a position of national political influence and power?

There are specific professional organizations which provide Board Specialty training in medicine and psychology. These organizations have clear stringent guidelines as to who is given the honor and professional status as a boarded expert. Credentialing in the Boarded specialties as a MD is a challenging process that weeds out those without adequate clinical or academic skills.

Even in the field of psychology which is not the practice of medicine, there are still strict guidelines for board certification. The American Board of Professional Psychology was incorporated in 1947 with the support of the American Psychological Association. The ABPP is a unitary governing body of separately incorporated specialty examining boards which assures the establishment, implementation, and maintenance of specialty standards and examinations by its member boards. Through its Central Office, a wide range of administrative support services are provided to ABPP Boards, Board Certified Specialists, and the public.A Specialty is a defined area in the practice of psychology that connotes special competency acquired through an organized sequence of formal education, training, and experience. In order to qualify as a specialty affiliated with the ABPP, a specialty must be represented by an examining board which is stable, national in scope, and reflects the current development of the specialty. A specialty board is accepted for affiliation following an intensive self-study and a favorable review by the ABPP affirming that the standards for affiliation have been met. These standards include a thorough description of the area of practice and the pattern of competencies required therein as well as requirements for education, training, experience, research bases of the specialty, practice guidelines, and a demonstrated capacity to examine candidates for the specialty on a national level.

This is not true of the new board "speciality" criteria of the newly created Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW) - which was previously the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association. The goal of the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association was to make money on substance abuse treatment and mental health services. Instead their CEO and Chairman of the ABHW Board, Pamela Greenberg, is also Senior Vice President in the Stephens Inc. company in Dallas TX which supplies financial services for health insurance companies. The goal of this alliance is to make money for the financial investors (Stephens Group LLC). Those making management decisions are not trained in medicine or psychology, they are trained in financial assessment, risk management, cost benefit insurance statistical analysis, economics, public policy, survey research and other related fields. They are not medical doctors or psychologists.

It must be remembered that part of the funding for the State Physicians Health Programs is provided from medical malpractice insurance companies. The State Physicians Health Program is not designed to help targeted doctors recover and go back to practice, nor are they designed to truly protect the vulnerable patients from abuse, neglect and medical fraud. The State Physicians Health Program is designed to make their Directors money and to protect large hospital and medical corporations from medical malpractice suits. The State Physicians Health Program will readily sacrifice a medical doctor's career for corporate profits.

The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW) http://www.abhw.org/ organization run by Pamela Greenberg is designed to protect certain financial interests such as Medical Malpractice and Health Insurance companies (Aetna, Value Options, Cenpatico, Magellan Health Services, Optum Health Services, Shaller Anderson Behavioral Health, MHN) and also the financial interests of Big Pharmaceutical companies ( Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca International, Bristol Myers, Reckitt Beckiser). ABHW mission can be seen at http://www.abhw.org/page3.html

ASAM states in their mission statement that their goal is to establish addiction medicine as a specialty recognized by professional organizations, governments, physicians, purchasers and consumers of health care services, and the general public. The American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (AMBHA) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) are together promoting this new medical boarding and will be grandfathering those who already have the FASAM credentials in without the need for the normal hospital residency. These newly boarded "experts" in behavioral medicine would then be able to compete for Federal Funding on an equal basis to the already existing Medical Doctor Board and Psychologist certifications in Psychiatry and Psychology but these new graduates would be trained in the Dr. George Talbott and Ruth Fox traditions. One can only imagine what Dr. George Douglas Talbott ("recovered" alcoholic) and these other FASAM doctors would then do politically and financially with this new credentialing based on past history of medical fraud, patient abuse and human rights violations.

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