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IHPC and CAHAIM Congressional Briefings - April 10, 2014

The Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) and the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) hosted two Congressional Briefings on April 10, 2014, to educate legislators about the health and economic benefits of integrative medicine and the importance of accurate implementation of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

About 55 people attended the two briefings, representing several dozen legislators and affiliated organizations, including NCH, where one of the overall take-away messages was that our current system of healthcare, which assumes a single causative factor for disease, is not working.

Janet R. Kahn, PhD, LMT, a member of the Federal Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health, presented information regarding the overall state of our health in the US, which ranks considerably lower than in our peer countries, such as Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Germany, the UK, and a dozen other countries. And despite the rising costs of treatments and a greater number of treatments being performed, in the last decade the US has actually gotten sicker.

Next, Margaret A. Chesney, PhD, Chair of CAHCIM and the Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, described how an integrative approach to healthcare, which makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing, results in better, faster healing for patients at a reduced cost for the healthcare system. Courtney Jordan Baechler, MD, MS, Chief Wellness Officer and Vice President of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health, shared incredible success stories from their integrative medicine practice in Minnesota, where they are using and integrative approach for everything from emergency room visits to joint replacement recovery to oncology patients. The vast majority of this care is covered by insurance.

Finally, Leonard Wisneski, MD, Board Chair of IHPC and Clinical Professor of Medicine at George Washington University Medical Center, articulated the work that IHPC is involved in regarding Section 2706 of the ACA and its critical role in providing increased access to person-centered care to patients throughout the country. He also indicated how legislators can help support their efforts now and in the coming months.

Learn more about IHPC and the work it is doing to promote integrative medicine at www.ihpc.org.