Telemedicine Is the Pretext for Corporate Intrusion into Medical Licensure

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The stated purpose of laws being pushed in numerous state legislatures is to facilitate telemedicine and thereby ease the physician shortage. But the actual effect is to promote the agenda of a wealthy private tax-exempt corporation called the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), writes Paul Martin Kempen, M.D., Ph.D., in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

To be eligible for multistate licensure under the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, a physician must be board certified and, except for “grandfathered” physicians, undergoing the expensive, time-devouring proprietary “Maintenance of Certification” (MOC) process. In fact, the FSMB-designed Compact defines “physician” to mean “board-certified physician,” excluding one-fourth of American physicians, Kempen writes.

Physicians have to date successfully resisted imposition of MOC, a revenue generator for constituent boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), as a condition for practicing their profession. The Compact could ultimately be used to circumvent that resistance, Kempen writes.

Telemedicine could be expanded without giving FSMB an oversight function over state licensure, Kempen states. Under the Compact, FSMB would be paid for its new “product” and would itself have no overseer.

Kempen details some of the conflicts of interest involving advocates for FSMB proposals. FSMB lures state board members with expense-paid travel as “scholarships” to FSMB meetings. Then FSMB uses state medical boards to introduce legislation, thus making a market for its “products” that are then imposed on physicians.

Ohio physicians and representative organizations identified these conflicts of interest. Subsequently, the Ohio State Medical Board’s executive director Richard Whitehouse resigned, and a state ethics board also investigated Lance Talmage, FSMB’s chairman, Kempen writes.

Kempen concludes: “Expanding and promoting telemedicine, and expediting multi-state licensure can be better accomplished without the involvement of FSMB. Its corporate interests conflict with the interests of physicians and patients in reducing costs and preserving the patient-physician relationship essential to good medicine.

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.

Download Article: http://www.jpands.org/vol20no2/kempen.pdf

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