John Weeks’ August 2012 Round-up on Policy covering Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine declares support for Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination section urged by licensed CAM professionals

Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine declares support for Affordable Care Act’s non-discrimination section urged by licensed CAM professionals

The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) sent a July 6, 2012 newsletter to members in support of “the historic Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act” and which “expands health care coverage to millions of Americans.” The notice shared that one reason for the support is that “the Act provides third party payer coverage for any health professional licensed in a given state.” (Section 2706, Non-Discrimination in Health Care, would require inclusion of licensed complementary and alternative healthcare professionals in coverage schemes.) The CAHCIM newsletter also shared that the vision of the Consortium is aligned with the law’s expansion of “the reach of innovative preventive and treatment approaches designed to help Americans achieve better health through integrated approaches that promote healing and health in every individual and community.”

Other positive features in the A.C.A. singled out by CAHCIM are the assurance that insurance plans “cover a range of preventive services, without cost sharing.” They further single out the establishment of the Prevention and Public Health Fund “that supports Community Transformation Grants thereby strengthening the capacity of communities to implement prevention approaches that match the specific needs of their own citizens.” The note concludes:  “CAHCIM is pleased to join such organizations as Trust for America’s Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Public Health Association, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the American Association of Medical Colleges in celebrating this important decision.”

Comment: Section 2706 was a priority of both the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium and of the American Chiropractic Association. The support is particularly commendable given the formal resolution the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association has passed against 2706 and in favor of continuing with the existing prejudice and discrimination. (See Battle On: MD Specialists Promote Repeal of Non-Discrimination Vs Integrative Practitioners, Others.) CAHCIM’s statement adds muscle to the CAHCIM definition of integrative medicine as an interprofessional approach in which optimal care includes all appropriate “health professionals and disciplines.” Hard to include them if they are not covered. Good for CAHCIM! 


American Herbal Products Association and Senator Durbin engage dialogue on good manufacturing practices (cGMPs)

Michael McGuffin, executive director of the American Herbal Products Association met on July 13, 2012 with the staff of US Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill) regarding his perspectives on the response of the herbal and broader dietary supplements industry to the recently implemented current good manufacturing practices (cGMP). The meeting grew out of a July 6, 2012 letter from Durbin and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) in which they expressed concern with what they considered the high level of warning letters issues to inspected herbal products firms firms. According to the AHPA note, McGuffin told Durbin’s staff that such levels are not surprising in any industry when new regulations come out. One example: just 54 percent of seafood companies were in compliance with a new manufacturing rule issued for that industry five years after it was established. AHPA, which Durbin has called upon to use its bully-pulpit to bring its members in line, pointed out that it has been attempting to do so. The industry organization has “included numerous publications and educational seminars (see the ‘cGMP Compliance Series’ at the AHPA online bookstore) and an ongoing process for distribution of FDA’s warning letters to member companies.” 

Comment: I found the seafood example interesting, and wonder if there are others. Industry compliance with new government regulations is not only frequently resisted with a knee-jerk, it is also often challenging. A tendency in any adversarial environment, such as that in which the herbal industry works, is to single out the negative in the adversary rather than to see its shortcomings as a common. Good for AHPA to engage the dialogue, and now lstep up its compliance-related services to its members.   


Certified professional midwives celebrate three new sponsors in Medicaid inclusion bill

The MAMA Campaign to get full inclusion of direct-entry midwives as covered providers under Medicaid has announced 3 new sponsors. The three are Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC),  Anna Eshoo (D-CA-14th), and  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL-20th). The bill is H.R. 1054, the Access to Certified Professional Midwives Act of 2011. In a message to members and donors, the Campaign also celebrated the upholding of the Affordable Care Act by the U.S. Supreme Court. The act includes a provision in Section 2301 that allows coverage of CPMs in birth centers. 

Comment: The Campaign has yet to find a single Republican member of Congress who will break ranks and vote in favor of this remarkable example of human-centered health reform. See Homebirth Midwives and the Hospital Goliath. Here’s hoping the Republicans (and particularly the Republican women co-sponsors the MAMA Campaign hopes to sign on) will stop putting partisan politics above a woman’s and family’s right to choose a birth at home, particularly given the good policy sense in this act.