August 2014 John Weeks Integrator Round-Up: Policy

by John Weeks, Publisher Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports  Whole System Health Consider donating to the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign of former CMS administrator Don Berwick  Comment   A fascinating electoral campaign is under way in the state of

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

Whole System Health: Consider donating to the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign of former CMS administrator Don Berwick!

Comment:  A fascinating electoral campaign is under way in the state of Massachusetts.  Donald Berwick, MD is running a feisty campaign for governor.  Berwick, the former administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has been a key force in most every positive step we have made to wrestle the medical industry to a focus on health creation. He highlighted the problem of errors in To Err is Human then pushed the 100,000 Lives Campaign to help solve the problem. He’s been a key proponent of the Triple Aim to substitute patient experience, population health and reduced costs for increasing procedures and income as the driver of U.S. medicine. He’s pushed efforts to undo the perverse incentives in our payment and deliver system. More recently, Berwick urged US medical leaders to create a system that engages the community and public health that focuses on “salutogenesis” and “health creation.” He is running for governor in part because he sees that the vision for health creation must be built into virtually all of our agency work. This included education, transportation, energy, tax policy and more. He is presently running strong in third place, toward a primary on September 9, 2014. My spouse and I are making a “stretch” monthly donation. I urge you to consider a donation ASAP. Thanks.

Additional comment
: For some of you, Berwick is a lightning rod because he has noted that outcomes are better – from human health and cost perspectives – under single payer systems, and thus he has advocated a single payer model. I appreciate his respect for the evidence.

American Herbal Products Association urges lawmakers to include “CAM” in new veteran’s legislation

On July 17, 2014, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) sent a letter to members of Congress in support of legislation that would expand complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) options for the nation's veterans. AHPA was supporting the Expanding Care for Veterans Act (H.R. 4887). This bill would “require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct research and develop a plan for inclusion of CAM, carry out a program for three years to ‘assess the feasibility and advisability of integrating [CAM services] with other health care services’ provided by VA medical centers, and study any barriers that exist to receiving and administering CAM services in VA facilities.” Says AHPA president Michael McGuffin: "H.R. 4887 is a good step toward expanding access to CAM for our nation's veterans." H.R. 4887 was introduced on June 18 by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) and the bill language is also included in a broader Senate bill, the Restoring Veterans Trust Act (S. 2413).

: Good to see this industry association acting beyond its strict industry agenda to support the direction for health care with which it is associated. McGuffin contacted the Integrator with this additional comment: “Even as we endorsed this we knew that the likelihood of getting this into the final VA bill is small. But the AHPA board feels strongly that our veterans should have meaningful health care choices that include modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, and naturopathy.”