Integrative Health Leaders Create Plan for Shaping Health Care Reform

a doctor listens to a woman's back with his stethoscope in a medical office

The Institute collaborated with the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium and the Palmer Center for Chiropractic Health Policy in convening a meeting of stakeholders to develop strategies for influencing health care reform following passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The act includes provisions supporting integrative health, wellness, prevention, and patient-centered research. Leaders in the field recognized that the bill’s passage, while a positive development, could mean very little if the federal agencies tasked with rule-making failed to define regulations that gave substance to the provisions.

Goals of the forum included:

  • Understanding the contents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and what latitude was possible during implementation
  • Strengthening the capacity of the complementary, alternative, and integrative health community
  • Strategizing on how to make the most of each relevant provision
  • Ensuring that complementary, alternative and integrative health clinicians, educators and experts serve on commissions and advisory boards created through the act
  • Establishing the coalition as a resource to agencies involved in rule-making and legislators, as well as concerned groups and individual

Key outcomes of the meeting included:

  • A series of briefings in 2011 and 2012, which educated legislators and staffers who were not involved in crafting the law and unfamiliar with aspects related to integrative health care.
  • A presentation to the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Health Professional Shortage Areas. The presentation, by the Institute for Integrative Health and the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium, encouraged committee members to include licensed complementary and alternative medicine providers and integrative health practitioners in its definition of the health care workforce.