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Disclaimer: The Student Doctor Network is a nonprofit organization which purposely remains apolitical. The following post is my own personal view and does not represent the view of SDN or affiliated organizations.

Word just came that in order to "save money" the California Senate voted to merge the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine into the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.

This is a really bad idea in my opinion. When I first learned of this proposal a few weeks ago, I contacted friends in Sacramento. Initially it appeared that it would not happen, but then through back-room dealings, it appears it was put up for a vote without proper notice.

In response, the OPSC has crafted a letter and is sending it to the Governor, President Pro Tem and Speaker.

Here are the contents of the letter:

The Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California (OPSC), representing the 5000 osteopathic physicians licensed in California, urges you NOT to move forward with the proposal to integrate the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine into the Osteopathic Medical Board of California (OMBC).

The recommendation in this regard, supported by Monday’s vote of the Senate Business and Professions Committee, lacked the usual transparency that you have both called for and insisted upon. While advance Daily File notice of the hearing indicated elimination of the Naturopathic Board, we know of no such notice having been given to its integration with the OMBC. The public, whose safety depends on the effectiveness of the Osteopathic Medical Board, and the practicing osteopathic physicians of California were denied the notice that usually accompanies a policy action of such significance. As a result, Committee members did not have the opportunity to fully understand the deficiencies of this concept.

Following are the reasons why this proposal is a bad idea:

➢ No savings. Placing the responsibility for licensure of naturopaths under the board that licenses osteopathic physicians would not save funds for the state. Both boards are entirely self supported from license fees. Even if the fees collected from the 365 naturopaths licensed in the state were to be added to the general fund and all current duties and responsibilities of that board were to be assumed by the current staff of the Osteopathic Medical Board (and no additional staff were hired) the state would still only receive $100,000.

➢ Endangering the public. Moving licensure responsibility for naturopaths to the OMBC would likely threaten public safety. In a recent OMBC staff/workforce analysis, the 6.9 employees of OMBC averaged 1.85 full-time-equivalent positions each. In other words, OMBC is now working at twice its capacity already. Increasing the number of licentiates by nearly 10% would hinder the OMBC from fulfilling its core responsibility of public protection.

➢ Different structures. The Osteopathic Medical Board of California was created by voter initiative nearly 100 years ago, while the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine was statutorily created with the last 5 years. Modifications to the OMBC structure would require a vote of the public, while the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine could be readily changed by the legislature.

➢ Naturopaths are NOT complete physicians. Osteopathic physicians (DOs) have full rights and privileges equivalent to medical doctors (MDs). DOs can prescribe medications, perform surgery, and specialize in any area of medicine. Conversely, naturopathic doctors have limited practice rights. NDs are unable to prescribe controlled substances and they do not have the training to analyze complex medical tests. It is possible that this proposal was crafted without an understanding of these differences. The public confusion that exists about the training and abilities of DOs would only be exacerbated by adding naturopaths under the same licensing board.

OPSC reiterates its vehement opposition to moving the licensure of naturopaths under the osteopathic physicians licensing board. We are hopeful that this concept does not get placed into legislation at all. However, if the proposal is placed in legislation, we are pleased that you will likely take it up in stand-alone legislation rather than in trailer language so that the issue may be fully considered.

Please note that OPSC is neutral on the proposal to eliminate the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine. However, for the above reasons, we strongly urge you not to include provisions that would make the Osteopathic Medical Board its new home.
Please let your colleagues know about this event and stand-by for a possible letter writing campaign if needed. I'll post to this thread if we need to start a campaign to prevent this action.
 

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Disclaimer: The Student Doctor Network is a nonprofit organization which purposely remains apolitical. The following post is my own personal view and does not represent the view of SDN or affiliated organizations.

Word just came that in order to "save money" the California Senate voted to merge the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine into the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.

This is a really bad idea in my opinion. When I first learned of this proposal a few weeks ago, I contacted friends in Sacramento. Initially it appeared that it would not happen, but then through back-room dealings, it appears it was put up for a vote without proper notice.

In response, the OPSC has crafted a letter and is sending it to the Governor, President Pro Tem and Speaker.

Here are the contents of the letter:



Please let your colleagues know about this event and stand-by for a possible letter writing campaign if needed. I'll post to this thread if we need to start a campaign to prevent this action.
How is this even possible??? Oh my god. This is honestly horrible. I cannot believe there haven't been hundreds of responses on this thread. Absolutely unacceptable. This cannot happen.
 

rkaz

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Is the new AOA president aware of this? I can't seem to find his contact info, but maybe someone could post this to his blog?
 

JaggerPlate

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Nothing on his blog ... I checked ... and nothing on the OPSC website either. Does this scare the **** out of anyone else??
 

Doc2007

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I think CA government will save more money if they merged AOA and AMA.
 

hopefuldoc87

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How is this even possible??? Oh my god. This is honestly horrible. I cannot believe there haven't been hundreds of responses on this thread. Absolutely unacceptable. This cannot happen.
I thought the title had to do with merging MD and DO, and it was just a typo. Maybe that's why more people aren't responding in this thread; they think it's just another MD/DO merger thread.
 

p30doc

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Wow! How does that even begin to make sense! While they are at it why not merge the podiatry board with massage therapy board(assuming there is one =P), it makes about just as much sense.
 

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Wonderful.

California seems to have a bad rep with osteopathic medicine. With all the AOA is doing for its physicians, they might as well just bend over.
 

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This worried me a bit at first and then I spent a minute thinking about it. I also did a little digging. This is what I concluded-

The OMBC is staffed by DOs almost exclusively. This means DOs will be investigating complaints about naturopaths (and DOs). Does this sound like a bad thing? Here is a link to the board members. I think I might be more worried as a naturopath.

http://www.ombc.ca.gov/bd_activity/members.shtml

Second, it doesn't sound like any merging of the professions will occur, especially if DOs are running the show. Licenses will be different just as they are now. Its just a merging of the board that reviews and controls licensure. Again, that doesn't sound so scary. Here is what the board actually does:

To protect consumers and promote the highest professional standards in the practice of osteopathic medicine, the Osteopathic Medical Board of California licenses osteopathic physicians and surgeons.

The board investigates consumer complaints and uses its enforcement power to ensure practitioners abide by the provisions of the state Business and Professions Code/Medical Practice Act.

To maintain their license, practitioners must successfully complete rigorous, periodic continuing education requirements that meet the standards of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).


From here-

http://www.ombc.ca.gov/bd_activity/about.shtml

Now, I guess some of you may be worried about DOs being linked with naturopaths, and I guess that might be somewhat worrisome. I don't know that this will be the case but maybe there is something I don't see there. In reality its just a merging of the review board.

Where this does bother me is in the fact that it leads to more work for people that are already overworked. This is in fact a potential source of concern for the public's safety. But honestly, I'm not sure I see huge concerns with the rest of the ramifications of this change. Feel free to flame away.
 

engineeredout

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Why not merge the NDs with the MDs then? The proposal was probably crafted by some politician who thinks that DOs are homeopaths.
 

facetguy

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This doesn't mean that NDs suddenly become DOs. The DO Board will just oversee NDs now. One could argue that this increased oversight would be a good thing.

I believe some states are still setup whereby DCs are under the medical board and not their own board (at least it used to be that way in some states). In those states, DCs are still DCs.

So I wouldn't worry too much. Besides, both NDs and DOs 'care about the whole patient', so they have something in common, right?.:rolleyes:
 

JaggerPlate

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Besides, both NDs and DOs 'care about the whole patient', so they have something in common, right?.:rolleyes:
No. That's the problem, and it is a very bad thing. DOs are fully licensed physicians and have worked hard to be so. I don't care if it's just a board that reviews licenses or whatever and is now in charge of looking over NDs, the fact that they wanted to merge the DO board and not the MD board and Engineered's comment (which is probably right) makes me livid. This is a joke and all it is going to do is confuse people into thinking that DOs are something that they aren't and that ND/DOs etc are just some weird homeopathic, herbal, hippie people. Another perfect example of healthcare just becoming a horribly run, inefficient, government project. Welcome to the future of healthcare, maybe if you don't like this government job the DMV will hire you. Disgusting.
 

JaggerPlate

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I'm also a little confused about the language of Lee's post. Did this already happen, or is it going to be voted on?? When?? Who gets a say in it?
 

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It's already been voted on, by both the Senate and Assembly.

http://info.sen.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=abx4_20&sess=CUR&house=B&site=sen

"Unlike other DCA regulatory programs in which only the board is subject to a sunset date, the July 1, 2010 repeal date will sunset the entire Naturopathic Doctors Act and thus eliminate licensure of naturopathic doctors in California."

The bill would add two NDs to the osteopathic board and create a committee under it that deals specifically with NDs. This committee would consist of 3 NDs, 3 "physicians and surgeons" (implying that NDs are not physicians...), and three members of the public.

Dumping NDs into the DO board will expire in 2013 unless the legislature acts again.
 

drusso

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They should merge the MD and DO state boards into one "board of medicine." This works well in Oregon, Texas, and several other states. There are two DO's per year appointed to the board in Oregon. I think one reason it hasn't happened in CA is because of the bitter feelings left over from the ill-conceived and failed professional merger in the 1960's. But, since this would just be licensing boards, it should be a totally different issue.

Has the AOA stepped up and contacted the State? I think that its more appropriate for a licensing board to oversee MDs&DOs than it is to oversee NDs&DOs.
 

spicedmanna

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They should merge the MD and DO state boards into one "board of medicine." This works well in Oregon, Texas, and several other states.
Yeah, I agree. Your suggestion makes a hell of a lot more sense. It's also the way they do it in MO, and it seems to work well. There is one licensing board for MD and DO in MO and both sit on the board.
 

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Well, we're always touting how we're "holistic"...how we "treat the patient" and how these innate differences supposedly lead to a different medical practice than what MDs provide...what the hell else is the layperson supposed to believe, that we're the exact same or completely different than MDs & deserving of our own profession?
 
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It's already been voted on, by both the Senate and Assembly.

http://info.sen.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=abx4_20&sess=CUR&house=B&site=sen

The bill would add two NDs to the osteopathic board and create a committee under it that deals specifically with NDs. This committee would consist of 3 NDs, 3 "physicians and surgeons" (implying that NDs are not physicians...), and three members of the public.
This is the problem, NDs will have a say on how the board is operated.

I agree that DOs have brought this on themselves. The old-guard insists on using ridiculous terms like 'wholistic' which in the average person's mind sounds like DOs use crystals, colonics and herbs. So, for the average legislator, it probably seems like DOs are the same as NDs.
 

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This may be slightly off-topic, but if you guys are interested in learning more about the expanding scope of practice of naturopaths, keep up to date with their advocacy issues here: http://aanp.timberlakepublishing.com/content.asp?pl=12&contentid=12

They have joined with the nurses in writing letters to Obama to expand access for non-MD/DO providers calling this a "patients' rights" issue. They also had a major victory last month in getting full prescriptive privileges in the state of Oregon.

Here is a document from California's Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine written back in 2007, but it has great information about NDs prescriptive authority in various states... although some states have expanded ND's privileges since then: http://naturopathic.ca.gov/formspubs/formulary_report.pdf It also talks about other issues like required hours of pharmacology in ND schools, greater than 1,200 hours of clinical training for graduates in order for schools to be accredited, why naturopaths should have prescriptive authority, etc.
 
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JaggerPlate

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So as far as I can tell, unless this is repealed the boards are merged until 2013?? Is this true, it has already happened without the AOA or the OPSC doing anything???
 
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The OPSC did take action when they first got word of this a couple of weeks ago. Their lobbyist got on it ASAP and got assurances that this was not going to happen.

Passage of this was a last minute back-room deal.
 

JaggerPlate

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The OPSC did take action when they first got word of this a couple of weeks ago. Their lobbyist got on it ASAP and got assurances that this was not going to happen.

Passage of this was a last minute back-room deal.
So what can be done now?? Nothing until 2013?? DOs just have to look like a complete joke in California??
 

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This is utter bull. The OPSC better get on this and fight this. My membership fees better be put to good use. Although I doubt much can be done now.

If they really wanted to save money they just should have merged the MD and DO state boards, like others have said.
 

bth7

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This worried me a bit at first and then I spent a minute thinking about it. I also did a little digging. This is what I concluded-

The OMBC is staffed by DOs almost exclusively. This means DOs will be investigating complaints about naturopaths (and DOs). Does this sound like a bad thing? Here is a link to the board members. I think I might be more worried as a naturopath.

http://www.ombc.ca.gov/bd_activity/members.shtml

Second, it doesn't sound like any merging of the professions will occur, especially if DOs are running the show. Licenses will be different just as they are now. Its just a merging of the board that reviews and controls licensure. Again, that doesn't sound so scary. Here is what the board actually does:

To protect consumers and promote the highest professional standards in the practice of osteopathic medicine, the Osteopathic Medical Board of California licenses osteopathic physicians and surgeons.

The board investigates consumer complaints and uses its enforcement power to ensure practitioners abide by the provisions of the state Business and Professions Code/Medical Practice Act.

To maintain their license, practitioners must successfully complete rigorous, periodic continuing education requirements that meet the standards of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).
:thumbup:
 
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OPSC and other interests are working on it right now.

To those who think that the board will be all DOs, read it again. Two NDs are being added to the osteopathic board. Naturopaths do not have the same training and some are very anti-western medicine.

As QuackWatch's Stephen Barrett, MD states, "I believe that the average naturopath is a muddlehead who combines commonsense health and nutrition measures and rational use of a few herbs with a huge variety of unscientific practices and anti-medical double-talk."

I am going to conjecture here, but my feeling is that this is an intentional back-room attempt (see this old article) to make naturopaths mainstream. They already call themselves "physicians." Now they want a part of the Obama healthcare dollar and they're using osteopathic medicine as their ticket in.

Do you really want to be aligned with a profession with this kind of recent history: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Naturopathy/naturopathy.html

Run for the hills I tells ya!
 

bth7

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Do you really want to be aligned with a profession with this kind of recent history: http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/Naturopathy/naturopathy.html

Run for the hills I tells ya!
Of course, we osteopaths have our own page.

http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/QA/osteo.html

Before we throw these people off the bus, maybe we should learn more about what Natropaths do. Lest we subject them to the same kind of knee-jerk rejection that osteopaths experienced for 100 years.

No one is taking anyone's license away. They're just merging two boards.

bth
 
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Of course, we osteopaths have our own page.

http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/QA/osteo.html

Before we throw these people off the bus, maybe we should learn more about what Natropaths do. Lest we subject them to the same kind of knee-jerk rejection that osteopaths experienced for 100 years.

No one is taking anyone's license away. They're just merging two boards.

bth
You're something else. I can predict your response hours before you even make it.

You have an affinity for self-sabotage.
 
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Even if you like NDs, they shouldn't have oversight or input into licensing of DOs. Putting anti-medicine folks onto the board is going to be pretty interesting at best.

Anyhow that's all I'm going to contribute to this particular subtopic. If I hear more from Sacramento, I'll post it on this thread.
 

TexasTriathlete

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We're talking about California here. This is the same state that elected an action movie star with almost no political experience (being married to a Kennedy doesn't count) as their governor.

Now I have no idea how Arnold is as a governor. For all I know, he's the best governor ever. But that isn't why he got elected.
 
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We're talking about California here. This is the same state that elected an action movie star with almost no political experience (being married to a Kennedy doesn't count) as their governor.

Now I have no idea how Arnold is as a governor. For all I know, he's the best governor ever. But that isn't why he got elected.
He sucks.
 

bth7

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You're something else. I can predict your response hours before you even make it.

You have an affinity for self-sabotage.
Dude, I hear you, but I been following the MD v DO v NP story for a while. The politics involved and the agenda of the AOA are not what they might at first appear to be.

bth
 
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Dude, I hear you, but I been following the MD v DO v NP story for a while. The politics involved and the agenda of the AOA are not what they might at first appear to be.

bth
I'm listening...
 

Siggy

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He sucks.
I will give him credit, though, of actually trying to solve the budget mess than just putting it off another year. You also can't really claim that he's doing a worse job than Gray Davis.
 
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I will give him credit, though, of actually trying to solve the budget mess than just putting it off another year. You also can't really claim that he's doing a worse job than Gray Davis.
If by "solving the budget mess" you mean increasing taxes, raising the fees of all administrative costs, elevating the fine for all infractions and traffic violations, and putting landmarks for sale, then i MAY agree with you.

My only hesitation is that we're still bankrupt.
 

Siggy

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If by "solving the budget mess" you mean increasing taxes, raising the fees of all administrative costs, elevating the fine for all infractions and traffic violations, and putting landmarks for sale, then i MAY agree with you.

My only hesitation is that we're still bankrupt.
Increase fees, cut services, or both. Those are the three options available to solve budget deficits in the short term once loans (and God knows, we have enough loans/bonds already) are removed from an option. I guess we could bury our heads in the sand longer by increasing our debt.
 
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Increase fees, cut services, or both. Those are the three options available to solve budget deficits in the short term once loans (and God knows, we have enough loans/bonds already) are removed from an option. I guess we could bury our heads in the sand longer by increasing our debt.
I'm all for cutting services.
 

JaggerPlate

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I think we should focus on stopping this complete slap in the face/mockery of DOs instead of focusing on why CA sucks and is in complete debt.
 

facetguy

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I think we should focus on stopping this complete slap in the face/mockery of DOs instead of focusing on why CA sucks and is in complete debt.
In my humble opinion, you are worrying about this too much. If you are concerned that the public will become confused about NDs and DOs, they won't even know this board change is being made. And I was kidding about the "whole patient" thing a few posts back.
 

JaggerPlate

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In my humble opinion, you are worrying about this too much. If you are concerned that the public will become confused about NDs and DOs, they won't even know this board change is being made. And I was kidding about the "whole patient" thing a few posts back.
I know you were kidding facet, you're a good poster and I enjoy your input. However, for me ... here are the issues (in order of importance):

1. 2 NDs will sit on this board that is also in charge of licenses for DOs. Why in the name of Christ would any self respecting physician want the outcome of their license, career, etc affected .01 percent by an ND??? It's absurd.

2. It sets a dangerous precedent for DOs. If this merger happens, it means that government looks at osteopathic medicine as some alternative, whatever thing that can be jammed into a closet with people like NDs. Not a good thing. Notice that there was never a merging of MBC with the Nauropath Galactic Republic or whatever. This is because the MBC is viewed as medicine, mainstream, etc. Now, I know that DOs have always had a bit of an image problem, and I have never cared explaining it, etc ... but this is pretty awful

3. Launching from that last statement (and note this is my number 3) DOs don't need any more confusion and any more association with homeopathy, herbal medicine, anti-western BS etc. It's bad enough that NDs are trying to create residencies and are getting rights in states like Arizona. The last thing you need are two branches of healthcare that have something-pathic in front of medicine, complete residencies, have scripts rights, are NOT MDs, and have a licensing board merged together. How is that not confusing/lead to the immediate assumption that osteopathic and nauropathic medicine are some interrelated, off the beaten path, BS???

It's dangerous and I'm really curious to see who, if anyone, steps up to solve this one.
 
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The AOA should produce some television commercials that run in California - prime time, big channels. It would serve to broaden knowledge of our profession and expose the fraud that is this bill.

Won't happen though.
 

DO2Be2013

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If anyone is interested, I looked it up and it turns out that 37 states plus the District of Columbia have a combined MD/DO licensing board. The 13 states that still maintain two distinct boards are: Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

If some kind of merging of boards is needed to save money, it would seem to be far more logical (and with far more precedent) to merge MD and DO. States maintaining distinct boards are clearly the minority.
 

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I say we should have California merge the massage therapists licensing board with the MD board. Oh, and the acupuncturists and chiropractors with MDs too.

Makes about as much sense.
 

JaggerPlate

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If anyone is interested, I looked it up and it turns out that 37 states plus the District of Columbia have a combined MD/DO licensing board. The 13 states that still maintain two distinct boards are: Arizona, California, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

If some kind of merging of boards is needed to save money, it would seem to be far more logical (and with far more precedent) to merge MD and DO. States maintaining distinct boards are clearly the minority.
Yup. That has been an argument of a lot of people thus far and i think it makes sense.
 

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I say we should have California merge the massage therapists licensing board with the MD board. Oh, and the acupuncturists and chiropractors with MDs too.

Makes about as much sense.
DCs do fall under the medical board of some states. Clearly, chiropractors are not controlling medicine in those states. Nor will NDs control DOs in California.