Please support the Maryland Patients' Right to Choose Act of 2019.
It allows each patient, along with the advice of his or her physician, to determine which medical treatment is best for him or her. It is each patient's right! It is his or her human right!
100% of the donations that we receive will go directly toward the following: the payment of our lobbyists, the payment of our attorney for his legal services in drafting this bill, and other incidentals directly necessary to get this bill passed. Please note that the Maryland Society of Integrative Medicine is the beneficiary of donations, and Alan Dumoff, our attorney, manages the account.
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The Maryland Patients’ Right To Choose Act of 2019: Learn why this is so critical now.
The bias of medical boards against medical practitioners that use integrative methods of testing and treatment is nothing new. Historically, health care providers that incorporate integrative diagnostic testing or treatment into their practice face the possibility of unfair and improper investigations and sanctions by the boards for no other reason than that they are in a minority school of thought not understood or accepted by the majority school of thought. Often this occurs in spite of the fact that the practitioner is getting excellent results with integrative treatments where conventional medicine has failed, no harmful effects have been reported, no patient has ever complained, no incompetence has been found, and the practitioner has the enthusiastic support from his or her patients regarding the results. Making matters worse, the State boards are often inconsistent. As a result, there is tremendous uncertainty for the integrative practitioner as to whether a particular test or treatment will result in disciplinary action.
Over the years, many integrative health care providers have therefore come under scrutiny and sanctions by the boards based on charges that neither reflect poor medical judgment nor the placing of patients at risk, but are simply due to a rejection of integrative medicine in general. And, very often, due to nothing more than bias against integrative medicine, if the board cannot find that the integrative health care provider did anything improper, they will look for proxy issues for which to sanction him or her-- such as record keeping when it is simply a matter of a difference of opinion rather than incompetence. There is also an anti-competition element to this issue since conventional medicine and integrative medicine reflect different schools of thought, and the pharmaceutical industry goes to great lengths to try to discredit competing methods of healing.
Integrative treatments have often proven themselves to be more effective, have fewer risks, and are far less expensive compared to conventional medical treatment. The integrative health community has made tremendous contributions to the health field although mainstream medicine has often taken decades to accept it. These contributions include but are not limited to the importance of diet in cancer, heart disease and numerous other illnesses; the critical role of immune system interventions in the treatment of cancer; the fact that food allergies actually exist and ways to remove them; and the importance and effectiveness of vitamins, minerals and probiotics. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support a significant number of integrative medical centers at major academic institutions around the country, most medical schools now have coursework that teach some forms of integrative methods, and there is an enormous amount of published research around the world exploring and justifying these methods. However, in spite of its effectiveness, there is still a bias by practitioners that use only conventional methods against practitioners that incorporate integrative diagnostic methods and treatments into their practice.
The situation of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses provides a perfect example as to why this situation needs to be remedied. Lyme disease is an epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maryland ranks among the top fourteen states in the country for the reported number of people with Lyme. Many people now either have a family member with Lyme or know someone with it. It is causing death, severe crippling, severe pain, disability and financial ruin. Research at Columbia, Tulane, Johns Hopkins and elsewhere have found that antibiotics have limited effectiveness against Lyme—especially persistent Lyme.
Growing numbers of physicians and other healthcare providers who are Lyme literate know that integrative treatment methods are often vastly superior in treating Lyme and its co-infections to traditional treatment options. However, these Lyme literate physicians and other healthcare providers, the ones doing such exemplary work, may either be sanctioned by the boards or afraid that they will be sanctioned by the boards if they speak up. In fact, health care professionals are concerned that simply making a request that integrative elements be allowed for the treatment of Lyme disease may begin the enormous imposition and expense of an investigation. Thus, the need to allow practitioners to incorporate integrative tests and treatments into their practice when they feel it is in the patient’s best interest is nothing less than urgent.
At least fifteen other states-- including New York, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Alaska, North Carolina, and Washington-- have already passed laws or regulations allowing physicians to use integrative tests and treatments. Maryland is way behind. If we do not allow true integrative treatments that work to be properly done by trained professionals in Maryland, where they will be under the jurisdiction of the boards, patients in desperation, will continue to travel to other countries where they may be harmed by fraudulent treatments or try fraudulent treatments they see on the internet and elsewhere.
The Patients’ Right To Choose Act of 2019, will allow healthcare professionals to incorporate integrative diagnostic methods, tests, and treatments when they feel it is in the best interest of their patients as long as they fully disclose to the patient that the diagnostic test or treatment is, in fact, integrative, and thus receive informed consent; and the treatment poses no greater risk than conventional medicine that is not outweighed by the potential benefits of the evaluation or treatment. This bill, which is way overdue, allows physicians and licensed health care providers-- those on the front line of treating disease-- to be clinicians and scientists and decide what is best for their patients instead of being limited by the pharmaceutical industry. It also allows each patient the right to determine which treatment is best for him or her. Such a choice is the patient’s right! It is his or her human right!
Finally, if passed, there would be absolutely no cost to the state of Maryland. It might also help lower insurance premiums in Maryland because people will be getting well, and integrative methods can often be so inexpensive that insurance is not even necessary.