John Weeks April 2013 Integrator Round-up covering the topic of Integratve Healthcare Policy

PCORI appoints leaders from the integrative health community

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) has recently shown significant openness to the integrative health and medicine communities via a series of appointments. In February 2013, CEO Joseph Selby, MD, MPH reached out to the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Healthcare to solicit an appointee for a Treatment Options for Pain Workgroup that met March 21, 2013. ACCAHC’s nominee, Bastyr Research Institute director Daniel Cherkin, PhD, joined a group of 15-20 others that also included massage therapist and researcher Janet Kahn, PhD, John Triano, DC, PhD and NCCAM’s Partap Khalsa, DC, PhD. Kahn is also a policy adviser to the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine.

Then, on March 26, 2013, PCORI announced 84 appointments to advisory panels on key initiatives. Among those appointed was Regina Dehen, ND, LAc with Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. She will be a member of the panel on Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment Options. In addition, Cherkin, who also has an affiliation with Group Health Research Institute, was invited onto the panel on Improving Health Systems. PCORI received 1,295 applications, from 1,021 individuals, for panel membership.

Comment: PCORI was charged by Congress to be inclusive of integrative health practitioners. Nice to see Selby and his team embracing that. Cherkin reports broad openness to integrative health practices and disciplines in the March 21, 2013 meeting. The most outspoken support was from the patients on the committee.  


 “Eat-in” to change health and food practices in America

The Friday, March 29, 2013 e-note from author, functional medicine leader and agent provocateur Mark Hyman, MD was called Dr. Hyman is staging an “Eat-in.” Hyman first references the “sit-in” tactic from the Sixties as a “tactic to empower the dis-empowered, to create needed change in civil rights and women’s rights, and to end unnecessary wars.” In a taped message here on his “Take Back Your Health” site from which he promotes his books, Hyman urged an April 7, 2013 “Eat-in.” He calls cooking at home a “revolutionary act.” Hyman references a recent dinner with food author Michael Pollan. Pollan shares the view that cooking at home with “real and healthy food is a revolutionary act” that can transform both the healthcare and food industries. Hyman’s plan for his “Eat-in” included reality TV-like linkage to Hyman’s own “Eat-in” plus prizes connected to his own books and resources. Urges Hyman: “We have to cook our way out of this mess.”   

Comment:  This may be a great event to annualize. But if so, it deserves a coalition of supporters, and some separation from Hyman’s selling of his own written products, excellent as many believe they are. Hyman’s political bent is appealing. But it seems more likely that books will be sold than revolution will occur given the 7-day advance notice of this event via Hyman’s personal list. Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei was powerful enough to achieve significant impact via his blog posts on the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Yet even he kept at it continuously for months. If revolution is desired, forethought and organizing is required. Rosa Parks didn’t just show up on that bus. She was a community organizer and was working with others. Uniting the forces for healthy, home-cooked meals to support an annual event to take back our health could have real impact.


Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) offers first in a series of open webinars on the campaign for nondiscrimination

The Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortim (IHPC), the multidisciplinary lobbying and policy organization with 15 organizational members, held the first of a series of webinars, open to the public, on March 28, 2013. The topic was the organization’s priority issue: promoting a broad implementation of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act requiring non-discrimination in health care. Former Washington state insurance commissioner Deborah Senn, IHPC’s’ consultant on the initiative, fielded questions about the campaign. Alyssa Wostrel, IHPC executive director, shares that future webinar topics under discussion might feature: practitioners with updated info on best practices in their states, and their suggested action steps; insurance commissioners and their offices/staff with “bulletin” or advisory info; state associations with “lessons learned” info; and patients/consumers and patient associations regarding action steps. Of note, a group of students at Bastyr University are assembling state-by-state data on 2706 issues and developments for IHPC. Anyone can sign up for IHPC’s alerts and newsletter at the IHPC site.

Side-note on the discrimination/non-discrimination front: The American Chiropractic Association has shared this Delaware state release in which the Delaware insurance commissioner has issued Bulletin 62 warning insurers in the state to comply with the state’s policies on compensation of chiropractors.