NCCAOM News - Spring 2018 (Plain Text Version)

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Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus: Amidst the Opioid Crisis

NCCAOM representatives Matthew Stanley, Public Member, Board of Commissioners and Mina Larson, Executive Deputy Director, were pleased to attend the IHPC sponsored Caucus focusing on integrative health solutions on March 15th in Washington DC. Representative Jared Polis (D-Colo)., and Mike Coffman, (R-Colo), kicked off the inaugural Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus: A bipartisan Congressional effort.  In the midst of the largest American health crisis in recent history, this new Caucus was the first event that provided legislative staff and other policy and regulatory officials the opportunity to understand how shifting focus in healthcare to prevention, health creation and promotion can create cost savings while improving health outcomes for Americans. Rep. Polis specifically mentioned acupuncture and acupressure in his remarks as examples of proven alternative treatments and emphasized the importance of increasing access to “evidence-informed therapeutic resources.”

In addition, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the former Army Surgeon General, and Dr. Ben Kligler, the Director of the Coordinating Center for Integrative Health in the Veterans Health Administration, presented an overview of efforts to increase integrative health in the Veterans Administration (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD). Gen. Schoomaker also pointed out that acupuncture and other integrative treatments actually have more evidence of efficacy than opioids. Dr. Kligler addressed the VA’s efforts to integrate a “whole health model” into their treatment plans by organizing clinical care around what is most important to each individual veteran. He outlined the VA’s plan for complementary integrative health delivery, as directed by the Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (CARA) as well as the VA’s development of 18 demonstration centers for whole health around the country. As per the recent NCCAOM press release announcing Acupuncturists Now Included in the VA Health Administration, Dr. Kligler identified acupuncture as one of the proven complementary treatments used at these centers.  This thrilling news from the VA will hopefully open doors to establishing qualifications for NCCAOM® National Board-Certified Acupuncturist™ in other federal agencies.  

NCCAOM was also proud to have its very own Bill Reddy, NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturist™ and IHPC Board member, present on the efficacy of acupuncture and the growing use of treatment nationwide.

The event was a successful introduction to the Caucus on Capitol Hill and provided an opportunity to raise the profile of integrative and complementary medicine among Congressional staffers and other policy makers. NCCAOM is a Partner for Health member organization of the IHPC. Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, NCCAOM CEO currently holds that IHPC Board seat. [return to top]