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“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1

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Creating a new “Board” Specialty

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)   is published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and provides diagnostic criteria for mental disorders.  The ASAM refuses to acknowledge the DSM-IV-TR criteria for various addictive disorders.  Instead, the ASAM has its own criteria which were defined by its own doctors with addiction histories.   Dr. George Talbott was a primary contributor to the ASAM manual on addiction.  This book is used by ASAM doctors to diagnosis people with "addiction".   The vast majority of ASAM fellows also still believe that the only effective treatment for addiction must be based in the 12-steps of recovery expounded by the A.A. program.

Based on the new diagnostic manual defined by the ASAM members, the organization started their own credentialing program, called the graduates trained in their revised diagnostic approach “Fellows,” and designated them as experts.  The ASAM now seeks to “grandfather” their “FASAM” members as equivalent to boarded experts in behavioral medicine without the required strenuous “residency” training currently necessary to obtain a doctor certification as a “boarded” expert.  With stains caused by addictive behavior permanently erased from the doctor's record without unbiased evaluation, he or she can move easily into a position of national political influence and privilege. Such placements can permit a grateful recipient to return favors to sponsors.

It must be remembered that funding for the state PHP is provided in part by medical malpractice insurance companies.  The state PHP is not designed to help targeted doctors recover and go back to practice, nor are they designed to protect vulnerable populations from abuse, neglect and medical fraud. The state PHP is designed to make money for its constituents, to protect large hospital and medical corporations from medical malpractice lawsuits.  The state PHP will readily sacrifice an “uncooperative” or whistleblower's career for corporate profits. “Disruptive” professionals threaten cash flow.

American Board of Addiction Medicine

ASAM is currently attempting to receive medical specialty recognition for promoting A.A.'s spiritually based 12-step recovery model to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) [i] ABMS certifies all of the traditionally recognized medical specialties and subspecialties (Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pediatrics, Radiology, etc.). The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization, assists 24 approved medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians. ABMS, recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification, believes higher standards for physicians means better care for patients.  As an integral part of their comprehensive strategy for employment of former “recovered” addicts and to enhance their attainment of positions of power and authority within the medical community, ASAM wanted to obtain specialty recognition by ABMS.  However, the requirement of residency training at a recognized institution of higher learning was preventing their “recovered” doctors from getting board certification.  Many of them had irregular work histories marred with periods of addictive behavior.  Thus when their professional records were reviewed, they did not stand up well to that scrutiny, in addition the requirement for medical residency training meant that they would need to maintain sobriety for that period of time while attending professional medical instruction, this proved too difficult for many in the ASAM program.  Thus doctors such as Dr. George Douglas Talbott MD, who had many years of difficulty as an alcoholic, wished to have themselves grandfathered into ABMS board certification through some agreement settlement rather than completing residency training at a medical school.  So ASAM sought to establish a new board that would then seek admission as an ABMS board certifying institution. In 2006 ASAM established the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM).  According to the official ASAM/ABAM website:

“Grandfathering is the pathway to acquire ABMS certification in a new specialty or subspecialty, without having to complete all of the training requirements that will eventually be established, such as completion of an ACGME-accredited residency program...For ASAM and ABAM certified physicians who are not already Diplomats of an ABMS member board, ABAM will facilitate and advocate for the establishment of non-onerous pathways for eligibility for an ABMS-recognized Addiction Medicine examination.” [ii] 

But grandfathering alone would not erase the criminal records of DUI, domestic violence, drug related criminal activity, gambling infractions, drug diversion, sexual crimes etc. that were part of the history of these “recovered” medical professionals.  Thus a pathway also to expunge their criminal records had to also be established in order for ASAM doctors to rise in positions of power, authority and influence.  This they planned to accomplish through their political contacts in the Drug Free America Foundation, the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and various governmental boards and committees formed to determine national drug policy.

The Federation of State Physicians Health Programs (FSPHP) established a committee to monitor the addicted or corrupted ASAM members who wanted their medical license back.  This FSPHP monitoring committee was made up primarily of “recovered” addicts.  When it became politically expedient, the monitoring committee decided that those who had been previously monitored no longer needed oversight and the committee was discontinued.  This, coupled with legislative actions at the state level in several states, became a model that could be used to hide from public view the past criminal infractions and inappropriate behavior of ASAM members. 



[i] The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), a not-for-profit organization, assists 24 approved medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the ongoing evaluation and certification of physicians. ABMS, recognized as the “gold standard” in physician certification, believes higher standards for physicians means better care for patients.  http://www.abms.org/.

The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness

The American Board of Addiction Medicine was created by Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW).  The new American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) “specialty” criteria were written by the ABHW. The goal of the AMBHA [formerly the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (AMBHA)] was to make money on substance abuse treatment and mental health services.  Their CEO, Pamela Greenberg, became chairman of the newly formed ABHW board.  Ms. Greenberg is also the senior vice president in the Stephens Inc. company of Dallas, TX, which supplies financial services to 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 professionals.  

The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW)[i]  is organized and run by Pamela Greenberg 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);  it also promotes the financial interests of major pharmaceutical companies ( Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca International, Bristol Myers, Reckitt Beckiser).  (ABHW mission statement) [ii]  

ASAM states 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 ASAM collaborated to promote the alternate “board specialty” under the American Board of Addiction Medicine and admission of those with the FASAM credentials to expert status without the need for the usual residency training. These alternately boarded "experts" in behavioral medicine would then be able to compete for federal funds on par with traditionally prepared professionals.  Enhanced opportunities to commit medical fraud, patient abuse and human rights violations are facilitated.  

 



[i] The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW), formerly the American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (AMBHA), is an association of the nation’s leading behavioral health and wellness companies.  ABHW.org, http://www.abhw.org/.

[ii] Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness (ABHW), ABHW.org,  http://www.abhw.org/page3.html.

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