You Can Change the Integrative Health Landscape

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It was my good fortune to be among the speakers at the initiation of the Congressional Integrative Health and Wellness (IWH) Caucus in March 2018. Three disciplines, chiropractic, acupuncture and naturopathy, were highlighted from the perspective of their contributions to an integrated approach to care. My task was to address the contribution that the chiropractic profession could make to the needs of our population as well as to the system of healthcare itself.

In closing, I addressed six areas of emphasis for the IHW Caucus members to consider were detailed. These included:

1. Increase the budget of the of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) to fund the comparative research and systematic reviews needed to better understand the clinical and economic value of integrative care.

This need speaks for itself. The percentage of healthcare research dollars directed toward the promotion of health and well-being is laughable. The application of complementary and alternative care in the American healthcare system is remarkable from the consumer perspective and unremarkable from the perspective of the overall system of healthcare delivery, research and payment. To change this reality, we need to demonstrate clinical and economic value more clearly. To accomplish this, at the level needed, increased federal funding will be essential.

2. Address the restrictions inherent in Medicare related to payment of various forms of integrative care
Far too many American citizens are denied the healthcare strategies of their choice by the lack of funding for integrative care under programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. Clearly, we appreciate the demands on the healthcare dollars that these programs are under—that is the point, with a shift in payment and access policies needed to allow integrative care approaches to be more fully involved in these systems less costly, more effective care can be grown.

3. Expand active duty military and veteran’s access to integrative health care delivered by providers with expertise in the various disciplines involved
The inclusion and growth of integrative approaches within the military and veteran’s communities has been exciting to witness. The task now is scaling these offerings and assuring that these services are available our active duty and veterans populations. This is important on      many levels, first and foremost to provide these individuals with the full range of healthcare services that their service to our nation demands, and second, active duty military and veteran’s health care represent the training grounds for the majority of physicians in America. Exposure of these persons’ training toward effective and efficient applications of integrative approaches to care will equip them to be more integrative in their professional lives over the years ahead.

4. Encourage the full implementation of non-pharmacologic approaches to pain management
Pain management is a critical need in the United States, particularly as we try and extricate ourselves from the debacle of misuse, overuse and abuse of licit and illicit opioid containing products. The CDC, FDA, and the IOM among others have all called for an increase in the use of non-pharmacologic approaches to pain management—the forte of the integrative care community. Our population will be well served by the continued minimization of opioid use and the enhanced application of non-pharmacologic strategies for pain management.

5. Appreciate and respect the feedback of consumers expressed in the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) related to complementary care, i.e., chiropractic care and its impact on health and well-being
One of the pillars of evidence-based healthcare is taking into consideration the perspective of the patient on the care they are to be provided. The National Health Interview Survey has gone to the horse’s mouth to learn how consumers are using various forms of health care and how they see that care impacting their circumstances. The movement toward patient-centered care further supports the need to listen to this counsel from the end users of the system.

6. Support and implement the spirit and intent of Section 2706 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Section 2706 of the PPACA offers an important guarantee to the public that the providers of their choice are available to assist them with their care needs. We cannot and should not overlook the important policy statement that Section 2706 represents to Americans (for more on this go to CoverMyCare from IHPC).

A successful launch does not guarantee a successful mission! Now that this Caucus is off the ground the hard work of growing and sustaining the effort is before the House of Representatives and the integrative health care community. For this to be the success the American public needs in terms of changing the landscape of health care it will require broad-based, grassroots efforts from as many organizations and individuals as possible.

In Good Health,
Sincerely,
Gerald Clum, DC
Integrative Health Policy Consortium Board of Directors
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For those of you who called your elected officials to support the caucus, we thank you. If it slipped your mind, it’s time to enlist your elected officials to join the Integrative Health and Wellness caucus. Constituent phone calls are effective in making change. Don’t hesitate!

Integrative Pain Care Options
 In this video, Gerry Clum, D.C. reviews health gaps in pain management and why chiropractic care is a key piece in addressing chronic pain. As he explains, 25% of opioid prescriptions written in the United States are for low back pain, despite the fact that all the guidelines from major medical institutions advise otherwise. Click below or on the
In this study, researchers compared the effectiveness of dry needling to other forms of integrative care for lower back pain. Given that 85% of all people suffer from back pain at one time in their lives, this study goes a long way in establishing effective protocols for back pain. Study provided by our partners at Today’s Practitioner.