March 23, 2009 — Students and faculty from Northwestern Health Sciences University united with natural healthcare practitioners on March 17, 2009, at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn. Approximately 600 students, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners were on hand to meet with legislators to make their voices heard on healthcare issues related to chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage therapy.
The annual effort known as Capitol Day is organized by the Minnesota Chiropractic Association (MCA), in collaboration with the university. The objective this year included:
• Supporting legislation proposed by the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association of Minnesota, which would require insurance coverage and provider reimbursement for acupuncture treatments by a licensed acupuncturist;
• Lobbying for state-level licensure and regulation for massage therapists; and
• Opposing a budget cut suggested by Governor Pawlenty that would eliminate chiropractic care, among other things, from services covered by Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care.
The resounding theme in talking with students who attended is that they don’t want to be silent on something they are so passionate about.
For Capitol Day, attendees broke into groups based on their legislative district, then attended pre-arranged meetings with their representative or senator. One group comprised of seven students, Dr. Sawyer, and three doctors of chiropractic, met with state Sen. Richard Cohen, who represents District 64 in the Highland Park area of St. Paul.
Northwestern graduates Matthew Caron, DC, and Martin Caron, DC, pointed out to Cohen that the second most common reason people seek medical care is lower back pain. They explained to Cohen that eliminating chiropractic benefits would actually carry a higher price tag because individuals would then have to turn to more costly services such as emergency care. Dr. Sawyer also summarized for Cohen the objectives related to the massage and acupuncture legislation.
Source: Northwestern Health Sciences University, www.nwhealth.edu