Policy Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) urges thanks to US Senator Sanders for placing licensed CAM integrative practice in reform statute Homebirth midwives in major federal lobbying commitment Mind
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Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) urges thanks to US Senator Sanders for placing licensed CAM/integrative practice in reform statute
Here is a chance to connect to federal policy work which represents the entire integrative practice field. As reported last month in this Integrator article, the multidisciplinary Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) was instrumental in getting “licensed complementary and alternative medicine practitioners” and “integrative practitioners” into the leading US Senate health reform bill. IHPC, which has worked quietly on these issues for years, has begun sending out alerts to those interested in learning more and participating in helping IHPC advance their agenda, including thanking those who assist integrative practice. Their opener in the August 3, 2009 initial mailing:
“Welcome to the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium’s (IHPC) new online action tool! Perhaps you know IHPC, perhaps you don’t know us yet. Either way, we have been working steadily on your behalf for the past 6 years to direct the national healthcare agenda toward a health-oriented, integrated system that ensures all people – not just those who can afford to pay out of pocket — have access to the full range of safe and regulated conventional, complementary, and alternative healthcare options.”
This first IHPC Alert sent by IHPC executive director Janet Kahn, PhD, fittingly asked members of the integrative practice community to thank US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for placing the inclusionary language in the bill. IHPC is now using the CapWiz Congressional contact program to link advocates to Congressional action in support of this direction. Those wanting to get their US Senators to be aware of integrative practice click in here. If you wish to stay in touch with action by signing up for IHPC’s future alerts, you can do so at the bottom of the note to your Senators (via the prior click in) or directly by clicking here at http://capwiz.com/ihpc/mlm/signup/.
Comment: I urge you all to sign-up for the IHPC alerts. I am quite familiar with the organization, having been involved directly until last year when I let go of a few things. IHPC’s work is for the integrative practice community, and the betterment of healthcare. It is largely a labor of love. Integrator readers are core constituency. What we get, as the poet Phillip Levine once said, is what we bring. I hope you’ll show up in this way. I’ve chosen also to be one of IHPC’s contributors. This is a political contribution, not a donation, as IHPC is a 501c4 lobbying organization which was established precisely to be a big tent to help us move Congressional action to advance health. Meantime, I just used the CapWiz link to send a small note to my US Senators here in Washington (Cantwell and Murray), my first real communication on integrated practice with them. Felt nice. Not huge, just nice, and right. Do it!
Homebirth midwives in major federal lobbying commitment
The nation’s smallest regulated complementary/alternative healthcare discipline with broad licensing, the Certified Professional Midwives (CPM), has stepped up in a big way to work to get inclusion of their relatively inexpensive and safe birthing services into US health reform. Licensed in 26 states, but with only 11 schools recognized by the US Department of Education and just 1500 practitioners, the CPMs none-the-less told their supporters on August 4, 2009 that they have “$70,000 in hand or pledged” as they work to “stay on our pace of raising $10,000 a week for the rest of the Congressional session in order to complete our goal.” Their campaign is called The MAMA Campaign: “Midwives and Mothers in Action: Advocating for CPMs as a High-value option for quality cost effective maternity care.” The campaign has a solid website, regular blogs, alerts, a facebook page, twitter account and more. The campaign is coordinated by a steering committee representing all the national organizations directly involved with the field. Numerous women’s organizations have stepped up to support the MAMA Campaign, including the National Women’s Law Center, Our Bodies Ourselves, National Women’s Health Network, Raising Women’s Voices, Childbirth Connection and Coalition for Improving Maternity Services.
Comment: As I have shared here in the past, I have an abiding bias toward opening the homebirth option more broadly. The inclination stems from my own experiences with my spouse and the births of both of our children at home. (See Father’s Day: Reflections on My Firstborn’s Homebirth as Alignment with Healthcare Reform, June 18, 2007.) I also have great respect for the can-do feistiness of this community of practitioners and their allies. Thus, while not surprised, I was none-the-less chagrined to learn that nurse midwives, who typically provide hospital-based midwifery services, have not supported the CPMs. I am reminded how detectives, in a murder investigation, tend to look first at the alibis of the closest kin.
Boston Globe article describes a move by Senators for coverage of licensed CAM practitioners in health reform
The blogosphere was pretty well ignited, both mainstream and integrative practice-leaning, after a July 24, 2009 article in the Boston Globe ran with this headline: “Senators seek coverage for alternative therapies.” The article started with this comment:
“Naturopathic doctors, herbal healers, mind-body specialists and acupuncturists often have been scorned by the medical establishment, but growing numbers of Americans are seeking such care, and now an influential group of U.S. senators believes the time has come to embrace an array of alternative therapies.”
US Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) was reportedly behind this initiative. Harkin reportedly stated, at a hearing: “It’s time to end the discrimination against alternative healthcare practices.’’ The amendment focused on inclusino of license practitioners. Other backers are and Mike Enzy (R-WY). The amendment would need to be debated in both the House and Senate. The American Medical Association went on the record opposing the idea. (Interestingly, on August 5, 2009, the day of this posting, the Globe’s article was not any longer available online, and the links from other online sites similarly showed “Page Load Error.” A google group still has the entire article here.)
NCCAM report suggests CAM expenditures are flat, CAM visits dropped 50% since 1997
On July 30, 2009, the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) released a report based on 2007 data which suggest that, since 1997, expenditures on complementary and alternative medicine have been nearly flat and visits to practitioners may have dropped as much as 50%. Major media coverage in such papers as the LA Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe universally focused on the gross finding of $33.9-billion in expenditures and 354-million visits rather than the somewhat shocking suggestion that consumers are turning away from CAM practitioners. (Notably, most, like this initial LA Times article, were based on an Associated Press account.) However, a blog at the LA Times the same day of the NCCAM release was entitled Use of Alternative health practitioners falls.
The NCCAM research team acknowledges that comparison with data from the 1997 telephone survey by David Eisenberg, MD and colleagues at Harvard University, published in JAMA, may be inappropriate, given significant differences in methodology. Richard Nahin, PhD, MPH, the study’s leader, is quoted as explaining some of the differences in outcomes this way in the LA Times blog: “‘In (the Eisenberg) survey, costs were driven primarily by the practitioner costs. In our data the expenditures are driven by the self-care costs.’ But, Nahin added, the two surveys were conducted using different methodologies.” The findings run contrary to data on growth of CAM and integrative professions from virtually all CAM professional organizations during the 1997-2007 decade.
Comment: The findings were startling. They did not agree with general perception. I participated in the press conference and then undertook a significant analysis of the differences between Eisenberg’s methods and those of Nahin’s group. (See Special Integrator Report: Is CAM Practitioner Use Down 50% Since 1997? NCCAM’s Report on Costs of CAM and Visits: An Analysis, August 5, 2009.) My conclusions were that Eisenberg’s methods probably selected high, and Nahin’s low. Oddly enough, my exploration led me to conclude that, with some simple changes in the 2007 instrument, the media accounts could have reported substantial growth in expenditures. However, there is no sign that there was any negative intent, given the tone and feel of the report’s roll-out by NCCAM. The gaps in the findings of these two studies is worth better understanding, particularly since the entire integrative practice field may for the next decade be, to paraphrase and perhaps abuse Irish poet William Butler Yeats, “lulled to nightmare by a faulty comparison.” Take a look at the analysis if you haven’t.
Mind-body advances in the military: insights via Health Journeys’ Belleruth Naparstek
The indefatigable Belleruth Naparstek, LISW, founder of mind-body media producer and distributor Health Journeys, shares new information on her firm’s service in military markets. She writes: “Unlike other times, I’m sharing content info about the download interventions with the other investigators (with their permission, of course) because everyone feels there’s no time to waste and we need to be learning what works best ASAP. It’s extraordinary to see these academic researchers being so generous, flexible and non-paranoid re their findings. It’s wonderful, really.” Some of these insights are included in a fascinating blog Naparstek posted last spring entitled “What Returing Troops Are Teaching Us.” It is based on a conversation with Adrianna Tarazon, PhD, a psychologist with the Arizona Veterans’ Administration. Tarazon shares that most returning soldiers are adverse to cognitive behavioral counseling for their stress, “the treatment du jour.” But 70% “respond well to guided imagery” via CDs. Notably a walking meditation is described as particularly useful for some who are “too antsy to sit and listen.” Tarazon has learned that the CDs sometimes complement the counseling approaches: “Dr. Tarazon found herself preparing her vets with guided imagery, building up their relaxation response and self-regulation skills, so they could tolerate the therapy long enough to get better.”
Naparstek prefaces these remarks by saying: “We’ve already learned a ton from principal investigator Jennifer Strauss’ amazing work at Duke Medical Center/Durham V.A.” The Duke studies are available at this link. Naparstek notes in addition that “another study out of Dr. Mimi Guarneri’s shop at Scripps with returning Marines is getting similar results, but with different audios.” Naparstek celebrates her staff”s work in this comment for the Integrator: “Meantime, thanks to our staff’s demented persistence, guided imagery is getting into the ears of our troops at over a hundred V.A.’s, Army bases and Marine camps, and is being used heavily at Walter Reed, Bethesda Naval Hosp and Landstuhl hospital in Germany. So, slowly but surely – our company is definitely more tortoise than hare!”
Comment: I found particularly compelling the role of the lowly CD in reaching veterans who shy away from counselors, and then the potentially complementary value of the two approaches together. It is a gawd-awfully long road home for many of these vets.
College of Mind-Body Medicine with MS & PhD programs planned for Saybrook University with James Gordon, MD as dean
James Gordon, MD the founder/director of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Mind Body Medicine has announced that he will serve as dean of a new College of Mind-Body Medicine planned for San Francisco’s Saybrook University. Gordon notes that his Center’s two decades of experience, educating over 7,000 professionals, will be united with an institution which has “pioneered a holistic approach to the study of human experience and well-being for almost 40 years.” An announcement of the bi-coastal affiliation is available here. The college will also offer a certificate program in mind-body medicine. Don Moss, PhD is faculty chair for the department.
Obama convenes OMB/OPM/NEC group to explore health and productivity management strategy for federal employees
President Obama met in early June with a handful of CEOs about health reform. One aspect of their discussion was related to the importance of prevention and worksite health programs. Suggestions were made that President Obama could drive progress by establishing model worksite health programs for federal employees. Following the meeting, Obama charged a team of leaders with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the National Economic Council (NEC) to develop a plan to advance worksite health programs for federal employees. As part of their development work and planning, these leaders invited several employee health experts to summarize their insights about the programs by completing a template and then presenting highlights of their documents at an in-person meeting along with the team from OPM, OMB and NEC. Among those participating were Integrator adviser Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD (hc), and Cathy Baase, MD, global director of health for Dow Chemical. (Baase’s work in the complementary healthcare domain has been noted here in the Integrator.) The dialogue with the advisers has continued since. Baase, contacted by the Integrator, states: “It is very encouraging that this effort is underway for the federal employees. There are many good efforts throughout various departments of federal employees but this intent is to establish a systematic approach and model program.”
Comment: As the Samueli Institute’s Wellness Initiative for the Nation has advocated, and successfully helped introduce into a US Senate health reform bill, creation of a healthy population is a whole system endeavor involving diverse stakeholder. I agree with Baase that it is very good to see Obama’s staff looking at setting an example for a health-focused initiative for all federal employees.
Pelletier’s 2004-2008 update of employer health promotion and disease management studies
Those interested in the mind of the employer relative to health promotion and disease management programs will have followed the now 7 consecutive reports on the subject from Kenneth R. Pelletier, PhD, MD (hc) dating back to the 1980s. The most recent, published in the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine (2209;51) covers the 2004-2008 period. Pelletier’s search found only one significant randomized trial in the literature in that period. He found instead that employer activity was more focused on “pilot studies, quasi-experimental methodologies and econometric modeling as indicative of future trends.” In the period, 7 of the 16 new studies showed positive return on investment. He notes that a recent analysis of 10 years of economic outcomes in 12 studies concluded that the evidence is “very strong for average reductions in sick leave, health plan costs, worker’s compensation, and disability costs to be slightly more than 25%.” Pelletier also notes that more studies have begun looking at new outcome measures, “such as the ‘Presenteeism’ or ‘SPS6’ scale. The article is entitled “A Review and Analysis of Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness Studies of Comprehensive Health Promotion and Disease Management Programs at the Worksite: Update VII 2004-2008.”
Comment: I continue to believe, as do Baase (see article above), Pelletier and others working on employee health programs that there is a potentially rich but under-explored link between employer interests in health and the health-oriented focus of integrative practices. This study, with its extensive charts on individual programs, provides many useful windows into the kinds of pilots and projects that employers have engaged that may have an overlap with integrative thinking and practice.
Dr. Rogers Prize $250,000) Award Gala September 25, 2009 in Vancouver, BC
Friday September 25, 2009, and the subsequent weekend, make Vancouver, British Columbia an attractive destination. The centerpiece is the Dr. Rogers Prize Award Gala, a biennial gathering to highlight the granting of $250,000 to one or more individuals who have had significant impact on complementary and alternative medicine practice. (A 2007 award winner was Abram Hoffer, MD, founder of orthomolecular medicine, who died this past summer at 92 years of age. See Integrator article here.) This is the most significant North American award in the integrative practice space. The gala dinner will include a panel discussion on “The Future of CAM” involving James Gordon, MD, Joseph Pizzorno, ND, Stephen Aung, MD, and Marja Verhoef, PhD. Gordon and Pizzorno are among the international jury of 5 who will choose the award-winner. For the $125 tickets, click here.
The dinner will be preceded by a free afternoon Colloquium with the 4 dinner panelists, starting at 1:00 PM on the 25th. Nancy Baxter, the Dr. Rogers Prize coordinator, also shares that the Vancouver weekend includes the annual conference of the Canadian Institute of Chinese Medicine Research, Sept 25th – 27th; a one-day conference on CAM policy in Canada, sponsored by the Frazier Institute on September 26th; and the Dalai Lama Peace Summit that will take place September 26th – 29th. Kudos, again, to the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation for sponsoring this prize and other important integrative practice activities in Canada.
Comment: Great place to be. Besides the dinner, I am attracted to the Frazier Institute gathering. It is always refreshing to look in on Canadian policy developments in CAM where cross-disciplinary dialogue is more comfortably engaged.
Hines takes over presidency for American Holistic Nurses Association, Christians to president-elect
The American Holistic Nurses Association has announced that Mary Enzman Hines, RN, PhD, CNS, CPNP, AHN-BC has become the association’s new president. Hines is professor and chair of the Graduate Nursing Department and Program Coordinator of the Doctor of Nursing Program at Beth El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. According to the release, Hines has more than 30 years experience as a pediatric and holistic nurse and has an active pediatric nurse practitioner practice integrating a holistic philosophy at Colorado Springs Health Partners. Hines, who “believes that holistic nursing is the most complete way to view and create models of healthcare,” is particularly interested in “find(ing) innovative ways to integrate holism into the health care of each individual.” Glenda Christiaens PhD, RN, AHN-BC was selected as president-elect. Christiaens is currently an associate teaching professor of nursing at Brigham Young University. AHNA has more than 4,200 members nationwide.
National Acupuncture Detoxification Association seeks new manager as Renauds step down after 16 years
Long-time colleague Jay Renaud, who has managed the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) and published its newsletter for 16 years sent this note regarding a position which has opened because he and his spouse are stepping down “due to old age after 16 years of publishing and association managing in this field.” He writes that “the contract is very flexible and the new office provider could be located in any appropriate and viable geographical locale, or even more than one locale depending on how the work is allocated.” Contact Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org. Congratulations on good, sustaining work with NADA, Jay and Mary.
Abrams/Weil lead 30 author group for Integrative Cancer textbook
Donald Abrams, MD and Andrew Weil, MD have produced what has become the standard textbook on integrative oncology in the academic integrative medicine field. The book, appropriately, is called Integrative Oncology. Abrams, a graduate of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona which Weil founded, is director of clinical programs at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF Medical Center. The book Abrams took the lead in assembling has over 30 chapter authors from the integrative medicine field. I asked Abrams if he was familiar with a similar text authored by naturopathic physician Lise Alschuler, ND. Abrams replied with great affection and respect for Alschuler, adding that a difference between the two books is that “with 30 different chapter authors, ours may be a bit more inclusive and academic.”
Sample of successful integrative practice/center in private medical group sought
An integrative medicine educator is seeking an example of “an integrative center that is perhaps located or was born out of a private medical group.” The reason: “A large private medical group has a Spa/CAM Center that they are looking to convert to something more medical and hopefully more profitable. The new Director would like to visit the right center. Most of the ones I could think of are either free standing CAM based or are at Academic Centers.” Any ideas? Contact me and I will put you in touch with the inquiring physician.
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