August 26, 2011 — Health policy experts from Northwestern Health Sciences University helped write language in a recently passed health and human services bill that benefits doctors of chiropractic and licensed acupuncturists. Charles Sawyer, DC, senior vice president at Northwestern; Michele Maiers, DC, MPH, associate dean of research and knowledge transfer at Northwestern; and Dave Kunz, a lobbyist for Northwestern, worked on the bill with Rep. Jim Abeler, DC, (R-Anoka) a graduate of Northwestern, who leads the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee.
Amid a budget that cut healthcare services in a number of areas, the bill doubled the number of annual chiropractic visits covered by some state payments. It extended the state’s medical assistance coverage to acupuncture treatments performed by licensed acupuncturists. It also enabled the creation of a state demonstration project on alternative therapy.
“From an outcomes-oriented perspective,” says Maiers, “it is increasingly important for the state to explore how our professions can improve the quality of health care in Minnesota. This legislation creates increased opportunities for chiropractic doctors and providers of complementary medicine to demonstrate the value they bring to state health care plans, particularly in the area of back and neck pain.”
Sawyer, Maiers, and Kunz are principals in the University’s Center for Health Care Innovation and Policy (CHIP) whose mission is to inform and influence public policy in the areas of natural and integrative health care, service delivery, and public health.
Source: Northwestern Health Sciences University, www.nwhealth.edu/nwtoday/index.html