Medicine (NCCAM) (see Definitions). The Committee acknowledges that some therapies deemed CAM today may eventually be recognized as conventional, based on evidence over time.

This initiative focuses on encouraging the medical community to adopt consistent standards, ensuring the public health and safety by facilitating the proper and effective use of both conventional and CAM treatments, while educating physicians on the adequate safeguards needed to assure these services are provided within the bounds of acceptable professional practice. The Committee believes adoption of guidelines based on this model will protect legitimate medical uses of CAM while avoiding unacceptable risk.

The intention of the Committee is to provide guidelines that are clinically responsible and ethically appropriate. These guidelines are designed to be consistent with what state medical boards generally consider to be within the boundaries of professional practice and accepted standard of care.

MODEL GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES IN MEDICAL PRACTICE

Section I. Preamble

The (name of board) recognizes that the practice of medicine consists of the ethical application of a body of knowledge, principles and methods known as medical science and that these objective standards are the basis of medical licensure for physicians of the state of (name of state). These standards allow a wide degree of latitude in physicians’ exercise of their professional judgment and do not preclude the use of any methods that are reasonably likely to benefit patients without undue risk. Furthermore, patients have a right to seek any kind of care for their health problems. The Board also recognizes that a full and frank discussion of the risks and benefits of all medical practices is in the patient’s best interest.

There are varying degrees of potential patient harm that can result from either conventional medical practices or CAM:

  • Economic harm, which results in monetary loss but presents no health hazard;

  • Indirect harm, which results in a delay of appropriate treatment, or in unreasonable expectations that discourage patients and their families from accepting and dealing effectively with their medical conditions;

  • Direct harm, which results in adverse patient outcome.

Regardless of whether physicians are using conventional treatments or CAM in their practices, they are responsible for practicing good medicine by



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