by John Weeks, Publisher Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports U.S. Senate offers powerful, supportive statements on naturopathic medicine in declaration of “Naturopathic Medicine Week”On September 10, 2013, the U.S. Senate, via U.S. Senate Resolution 221, declared October 6 13,

by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports 

U.S. Senate offers powerful, supportive statements on naturopathic medicine in declaration of “Naturopathic Medicine Week”

On September 10, 2013, the U.S. Senate, via U.S. Senate Resolution 221, declared October 6-13, 2013 “Naturopathic Medicine Weeks.” The initiative, championed by Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), was the brainchild of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. As argued in this column, the power in the passage of the resolution was the way naturopathic medicine and naturopathic physicians are described in the series of “whereas” statements that explained the reason for the action (see comment field). Jud Richland, CEO of the AANP, states on the organization’s website that “passage of this resolution is a historic achievement for naturopathic medicine.” This is the first explicit inclusion of the naturopathic medical profession in any act of either branch of Congress. The profession is promoting Naturopathic Medicine Week celebrations to celebrate the healing power of nature in communities around the country.

Comment: How about these endorsements from the U.S. Senate for your profession’s calling card: “Safe, effective and affordable health care.” Or: “Focus(ed) on patient-centered care, the prevention of chronic illnesses,
and early intervention in the treatment of chronic illnesses.” Or: “Aspects have been shown to lower the risk of major illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”  How about a recommendation from the U.S. Senate that citizens “learn about the role of naturopathic physicians in preventing chronic and debilitating conditions”? These are all part of the resolution – a nice introduction into the mainstage of healthcare politics for naturopathic medicine.

State of Oregon Health Authority creates “Integrative Medical Advisory Group”

A brief note in a business news piece captures a piece of history simply: “Advisory appointment: Bruce Goldberg, MD, Director of the Oregon Health Authority has appointed Albany chiropractor Dr. Vern Saboe to a new ‘Integrative Medical Advisory Group.’  The advisory group will provide advice to the Oregon Health Authority about how to best integrate a variety of complementary and alternative medicine health care services, assure access and choice of care to OHA clients, promote and assure quality of care, appropriately credential practitioners, as well as other items that arise.”  A contact in Oregon gave me a preview of the make-up. It will include representatives from MDs, DCs, NDs, LAcs, LMTs and midwives spanning Oregon’s newly formed Medicaid Accountable Care Organizations, which we call Coordinated Care Organizations, plus representatives from Independent Physician Associations, commercial insurance plans and the Oregon state health department. 

Comment: This may be the first state level authority to recognize the “integrative medicine” brand in a formal body.

The Physicians Foundation reports (positively) on MD-medicine’s scope campaigns against other disciplines

A well-funded organization called the Physicians Foundation has published what it calls a “White Paper on Expanding Scope of Practice for Non-Physician Providers and Implications for Patients and U.S. Healthcare System.” The formal title of the publication, by authors Stephen Isaacs and Paul Jellinek titled, “Accept No Substitute: A Report on Scope of Practice,” The editorial line is clear in the initial paragraphs of the executive summary: “On the whole, physicians and their advocates have so far been remarkably successful in holding the line on many of these expansionary forays. For example, after many years of concerted effort by nurse practitioner advocates, currently only 14 percent of the nation’s nurse practitioners practice in states judged by the American Journal of Nurse Practitioners to allow nurses full autonomy. Optometrists have gained surgical privileges in only three states, and psychologists have won prescribing rights in only two.” The authors immediately speak to the potential loss of control and income to medical doctors.

Comment: One may wonder what “public” or “charitable” purposes is being performed via this tax-deductible work that begins with a presumptive charge that no good to human health will come from expanded scope of other providers. This will be useful reading for any political activists who are on the front-line. Now, one wager: I’d be willing to bet that neither naturopathic physicians nor chiropractic physicians are welcome members in the Physicians Foundation. Any takers?