Skip Navigation Links
 



                     


 



   
    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
 
 
 
FREE HEALTH
NEWSLETTER
 
 
Walking Quiz
Which of the following in NOT a direct benefit of a regular walking regimen?
 
 
 
 
I
ntegrator Blog
 


MDs, DCs, NDs and LAcs: Who is a Physician?

© John Weeks

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Integrator Blog by John Weeks . View all columns in series

Then again, the AMA leaders in keeping “physician” out of reach of other professions are probably not as comfortable with the additional 2008-2009 language: “MDs are also known as allopathic physicians.” The modifier “allopathic” is a hole in the dike through which may flow naturopathic physicians, chiropractic physicians, perhaps more acupuncture physicians, and the first through, osteopathic physicians.

Can Webster be a guide to who uses “physician”?

“Battle lines are being drawn,” Stephen Stills once wrote in his song “For What It’s Worth.” (10) The physician term is power. Professions so denominated stand at the top of the hill, waving about highfalutin reasons why their recognition as such is in the public good. The sub-text includes the know motivator that the title lands one on the road to the bank. The recent chiropractic battle with the Blues is a case in point. For what it’s worth, Stephen Stills’ next lines are that “nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

Perhaps Webster can help us sort this out. I read 2 definitions while writing this column. Notably, neither states that “physician” denotes a practitioner who stands at the receiving end of medicine’s money shoot. That commercial application of the title has not reached definitional status.

The #1 definition for physician in the 50th anniversary edition of Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary (2001) is “a person licensed to practice medicine; a doctor of medicine.”

Common usage suggests that this refers only to MDs. Yet while some chiropractors are not sure they want to be associated with “medicine” and entry-level training for most acupuncturists is not presently as doctors, there is room in this definition to include all practitioners who are doctors and practice medicine. The New World Collegiate’s definition #2, however, shifts the puck toward the AMA hardliners: “Any medical doctor other than one specializing in surgery.”

I then turned to the Big Book, my inherited, coffee-table sized 2600 page Webster’s Third New International Dictionary inscribed With love to all, Happy Valentine’s Day, 1965, Dad.  This weighty volume offers a potentially threatening definition #1: “A person skilled in the art of healing.”

Making the case for reimbursing the historic role of the physician

Does any practitioner of any stripe caught in the rapid-fire, reactive, insurance-based system who is merely dispensing therapies, whether legend drugs, herbs, remedies, needles, vitamins or manual manipulation, have the right to this title of physician as healer? Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong, indeed. Definition #2 poses a similarly sobering, poorly reimbursed challenge: “One who restores.”

Trends noted here suggest that common and professional usage, despite the AMA’s rearguard actions, will increasingly accept that various healthcare professionals are physicians. This direction reflects the pluralism in the globe we inhabit and the populations practitioners serve. But maybe once U.S. medicine embodies the view that there is more than one road to becoming a “physician,” we should strip all of the professions of the pecuniary value of the term (before it is burned into Webster) and tell all physicians they can only earn their compensation back only if they show that their practices are “skilled in the art of healing” and in “restoring health.”

Better yet, these relative newcomers should join with their integrative MD colleagues and aggressively articulate the case for re-engaging, and creating payment for, these under-appreciated meanings of “physician.”



Send your comments to johnweeks@theintegratorblog.com
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.
Add your comment     Previous   1  2  3    
About The Author
Resumes are useful in employment decisions. I provide this background so that you may understand what informs the work which you may employ in your own. I have been involved as an organizer-writer in the emerging fields of complementary, alternative and integrative medicine since 1983. Happily, I have learned some things. I was once called an "expert in alternative medicine" by......more
Related Articles
 
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
 
 
 
 
 
 
From Our Sponsor
 
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training - Level I
     February 18-May 20, 2014
     Los Angeles, CA USA
 
Additional Calendar Links
 
Wellness, Transcending, dimension!

Search   
Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Stevia.com      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.