May 6, 2014 – Representatives of the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) joined other concerned organizations and individuals in an historic congressional briefing conducted in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate office buildings on April 10, 2014.
Titled “Easing the U.S. Healthcare Crisis: The Role of Integrative Health Care,” these information-filled sessions were initiated by the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) in collaboration with the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) and Allina Health. The ICA was represented at this important session by Coralee Van Egmond, DC, ICA director of professional development, and Ronald Hendrickson, ICA deputy executive director.
The key aims of this event were:
- To continue to have an “integrative healthcare presence” on the Hill
- To deepen Congress’ understanding of what true IHC looks like
- To make clear that IHC has an evidence base showing it to be effective and cost effective
- To illustrate that IHC can be scaled up and should not be thought of as a “side show” of healthcare or a luxury for those who can afford it
- To make clear the policy actions supporting inclusion and reimbursement, that will allow IHC to make a significant contribution to addressing the U.S. health care crisis – a crisis of both cost and quality
An important policy focus was Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act – the non-discrimination against providers section. Staffers were alerted to the fact that their own healthcare, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan for Federal Employees specifically mentions including new types of providers in the 2014 plan, in keeping with Section 2706. In fact, there was a good deal of interest in and discussion of Section 2706 during the Q&A, especially on the Senate side.
Requests were also made for support for the Senate and House bills that are designed to bring IHC and specific coverage mechanisms for complementary and alternative providers into the VA and DOD, for Congress to protect the National Prevention Fund and see that it is indeed used solely for prevention and health promotion activities.
“ICA deeply appreciates the initiative taken by the IHPC in this vital area,” said Stephen P. Welsh, DC, who represents the ICA on the IHPC Partners for Health Board. “We fully understand that broadening the base supporting the kinds of issues chiropractic needs to address in the public policy process and building bridges through this unique forum will serve both the profession and the public in a very positive manner.”