The Chanda Plan’s Integrative Therapies for the Disabled
March 24, 2016
Specialized Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) Merge Integrative Care, Primary Care and Mental Healthby John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News and Reports Think orders of magnitude. First, create a plan to bring integrative therapies to people with spinal injuries and other disabilities. Not easy. Talk Medicaid into covering integrative therapies. Rare. Decide this population’s care would be best in a specialized patient centered medical home (PCMH) merging of integrative care, primary care and mental health. Historic. Set a $4-million capital goal for this integrative care PCMH for the disabled and get 72% committed. Wow. Now – if that’s not enough layers of impossible - here’s the kicker. Do it all from a wheel chair due to a bullet in the spine from a childhood accident over 20 years ago. The story here is of Chanda Hinton-Leichtle (pictured right), founder and executive director of the Chanda Plan Foundation. The energetic not-for-profit entrepreneur, now 34, has been a quadriplegic since the age of 9. At 21, she was wasting away at 59 pounds and now credits massage, acupuncture and other integrative therapies for bringing her back from death to being nearly pain free. Her own healing released a passion to bring integrative services to others with long-term disabilities. She was honored in the Integrator Top 10 for Integrative Medicine in 2010. Hinton-Leichtle’s original vision was simply to make integrative services available to this population. From 2005-2010, she and her colleagues raised and dispensed over $400,000 for patients. Besides massage and acupuncture, services include chiropractic, cranial sacral, adaptive exercise and adaptive yoga. These services were made available through spot credentialing of practitioners for individuals around the state and country who learned about the Chanda Plan and requested services. Recalls Linton-Leichtle: “They are often just so grateful. Some of them are to the point where they never thought disability and wellness could co-exist. Some of them had given up.” The Medicaid Legislation, Satisfaction and Savings This brief video shared how Hinton-Leichtle used the case of cost-savings in her own care to cold call Medicaid and ask for expanded coverage. In 2009, with the support of a legislative sponsor, Hinton-Leichtle convinced the legislature of the state of Colorado to pass House Bill 09-1047, which mandated the Integrative Medical Therapies (IMT) pilot program. The focus was on individuals with spinal cord injuries. The pilot would last three years and would require outcomes via an external audit. The law came with a small appropriation of just $53,480. Chanda Plan began offering services through a small clinical space. According to the following data shared by the Chanda Plan, the outcomes proved compelling.
- Over 75% of individuals receiving these services had a reduction in their self-assessed pain rating, while almost 90% of individuals reported less pain and experienced pain on fewer days.
- 77% of individuals reported an increased range of motion.
- Average ratings from the World Health Organization Quality of Life – BREF instrument showed an increase in all four health domains (Physical, Psychological, Social, and Environmental) for individuals receiving these services.
- 57% of individuals reported a decrease in prescription medication.
- Average pharmacy costs, practitioner care expenses, outpatient service costs, and skilled home health service costs decreased for individuals who received these services for at least one year.
- 100% of individuals receiving these services recommended that others with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) join this program.