Public Policy
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
01/01/2017
(RESOLUTION 10-27) RESOLVED, that the ISMA initiate regulatory or statutory change requiring insurers to provide physicians a list of alternative FDA-approved medications that do not require prior authorization with the denial notification. (1/20/99, BOT) Accepted the ISMA Alternative Medicine Task Force's recommendations for non-licensure of the following activities.  Specific recommendations for these activities are noted below. Therapeutic Touch - The use of hands to restore areas of blockage in a patient's energy field. Recommendation: Specific guidelines for therapeutic touch are neither recommended nor necessary. Body-Mind Intervention - The practice of influencing the body's own healing response through psychological interventions. Recommendation: Body-mind intervention is broad in spectrum and used in everyday practices of many traditional practitioners and therapists.  Appropriate training and certification in the underlying disciplines are recommended.  Mind-body interventions are, in general, supported by the scientific literature.  However, some mind-body interventions are less studied and not as well documented. Chelation - Incorporation of a metal ion into a heterocyclic ring structure -- in alternative medicine practices, chelation refers to the use of chelating agents to reverse atherosclerotic vascular disease and thus decrease angina pectoris and claudication. Recommendation: The use of chelation solution for the treatment of atherosclerosis is an off-label use and not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  There are no valid scientific studies showing beneficial effects using chelating agents to reverse atherosclerosis.  The Task Force recommends chelating agents only be used for FDA approved conditions (e.g. heavy metal poisoning). Reflexology – The physical act of applying pressure to the feet and hands with techniques that do not utilize oil, cream or lotion.  It is based on the principle that there are no more than seven thousand nerve endings in the feet relative to every organ, gland, tissue or muscle in the body. Recommendation: Reflexology seems to be considered most often by people seeking pain relief, but there is no hard data substantiating the claims of the practitioners of reflexology.  However, there does not appear to be any substantial harm that could result from treatment. Homeopathy – A natural pharmaceutical science utilizing plants, minerals or animals in very small doses to stimulate the sick person's natural defenses.  The fundamental belief is that by giving a small amount of the offending substance, the patient's body seeks to reestablish balance.  Thus, the homeopathic substances are felt to work with the patient's natural defense mechanisms. Recommendation: Homeopathy has limited data supporting its efficacy and safety, though little risk has been identified.  Homeopathic principles and treatments may complement allopathic treatment in certain conditions. Massage Therapy – The act of treating the body by rubbing the body to stimulate the circulation, to induce suppleness or to release endorphins.  Massage therapy is currently a recognized alternative therapy by the Office of Alternative Therapies under the National Institutes of Health.  Practitioners are eligible for certification through the American Massage Therapy Association. Recommendation: Consumers should verify certification when using this alternative therapy. (8/25/85, BOT) Support the position of the AMA that there is no scientific documentation that the use of chelation therapy is effective in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, arteriosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or cancer; and further, if chelation therapy is to be considered a useful medical treatment for anything other than heavy metal poisoning, hyper-calcemia, or digitalis toxicity, it is the responsibility of its proponents to:  (1) conduct properly controlled scientific studies; (2) adhere to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines for the investigation of drugs; and (3) disseminate results of scientific studies in the usual, accepted channels.
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