Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care
ACCAHC Elects New Executive Committee and Officers
During its October 2015 meeting, the ACCAHC Board of Directors named new members to its Executive Committee and elected officers. New Executive Committee members include Stacy Gomes, EdD, MAEd; Dale Healey, DC, PhD; John Scaringe, DC, EdD; and JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH. Officers elected are David O’Bryon, JD, CAE, chair; JoAnn Yanez, vice-chair; Kory Ward-Cook, PhD, MT (ASCP), CAE, treasurer; and John Scaringe, secretary. Stacy Gomes and Dale Healey will serve as members at large. The new Executive Committee and officers began their terms as of January 2016. We are delighted to note that outgoing Secretary Jan Schwartz, MA, BCTMB, and members Pamela Snider, ND, former executive director, and Marcia Prengruber, ND, are founding members of ACCAHC and will continue to serve on the Board of Directors.
Submitted by: Martha Brown Menard, PhD, LMT, co–executive director, ACCAHC
Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health
The Consortium, an organization devoted to advancing the principles of integrative medicine and health through academic institutions and health systems, is continuing to grow.
This last December, another Academic Health Center, the University of Saskatchewan, joined the Consortium bringing the overall number of Institutional Members to 63. This center, in its 14th year, is directed by Dr Michael Epstein, and Dr Shirley Maltman is the medical director. The center is also affiliated with the Community Health and Epidemiology Department, led by Dr Anne Leis. We are pleased to welcome this new center. Together with the other 62 Institutional Members, the Consortium continues to carry out its mission of advancing integrative medicine and health.
With the New Year, we are “counting down” to the Consortium’s 2016 International Congress on Integrative Medicine & Health which will be held the week of May 16-20, 2016, at the Green Valley Resort just outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. For individual members of the Consortium, the week will start on May 16th with an evening Members Reception followed the next day by the Annual Members Meeting and dinner. Pre-congress workshops will start on the 17th, followed by 3 days of sessions highlighting exciting developments in the field. This year the Congress will include sessions for all areas of Integrative Medicine and Health—clinical, research, education and policy. Registration and the latest Information about the entire week is available at https://www.imconsortium.org/events/events.cfm. There will also a call for “late breaking” abstract submissions, which will be open February 1-12, 2016.
While in Washington, DC, for the Consortium’s Executive Committee Meeting, Drs Margaret Chesney, Rob Saper, and Laura Degnon visited NCCIH to meet with Dr Josie Briggs. Joining the meeting were Drs David Shurtleff, Emmeline Edwards, and Karin Lohman. The Consortium thanked the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health for its support of the Consortium, particularly with regard to the Congress. The discussion included an exchange about their shared missions, and Dr Briggs provided information about the Center’s current priorities, which will be highlighted in the Strategic Plan that will be developed in the near future. She mentioned that like other NIH Institutes and Centers, NCCIH is likely going to be interested in supporting larger, pragmatic studies. She also mentioned that NCCIH continues to be interested in funding research on pain as a significant part of their portfolio as well as studies of mechanisms of action. We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2016 International Congress this May!
Submitted by: Margaret A. Chesney, PhD, Chair & Sian Cotton, PhD, Membership Chair, The Consortium
American Public Health Association
More than 12,000 delegates attended the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in Chicago from October 31 to November 4, 2015. Healthcare providers, researchers, activists, and students gathered to discuss this year’s theme of “Health In All Policies.”
One of APHA’s components, the Integrative, Complementary, and Traditional Health Practices Section (ICTHP), consists of more than 500 members in a diverse representation of disciplines that include acupuncture and Asian medicine, Ayurvedic practices, homeopathy, yoga, massage, and herbal medicine approaches. ICTHP works with “sister groups” in the national public health associations of South Africa and Australia as well.
Special invited speakers for ICTHP-sponsored presentations were John Scaringe DC, EdD, and John Weeks. Dr Scaringe is president of Southern California University of Health Sciences, and John Weeks, founder of the Integrator Blog, has 4 honorary doctorates related to his contributions to healthcare and policy.
ICTHP sponsored 84 peer-reviewed sessions in oral, poster, and roundtable formats. Content and additional information about the abstracts presented can be accessed at https://apha.confex.com/apha/143am/webprogram/start.html?_ga=1.133117454.1810430195.1419264425
Major topics of the sessions included experiences in integrative and complementary health practices; education and training; chronic disease management; research and evaluation; interdisciplinary approaches; health policy; and promoting healthy bodies and minds.
Submitted by: Beth Sommers, PhD, MPH, LAc
Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium
States Energized by Ending Insurer Discrimination against Providers
In 2015, the directives of the Affordable Care Act that are meant to end insurer discrimination against licensed healthcare providers—ie, the provisions of Section 2706—remained as poorly supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as they had been since the law went into effect January 1, 2014.
As a result, there has been virtually no compliance among the nation’s health insurers nor any directives from state commissioners of insurance that are responsible for interpreting Section 2706 for their markets.
Advocates for non-discrimination in the states, however, are not waiting for HHS and its insurance commissioners to follow the law. Some have created an entirely different dynamic, one that promises to gain pace in 2016. In May and July of 2015 respectively, Oregon and Rhode Island enacted their own versions of Section 2706. While each bill had a specific twist—Oregon’s is organized around ensuring network adequacy, for instance—both drew on the language of Section 2706, notably: “A group health plan and a health insurance issuer … shall not discriminate … against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license of certification.”
Hawaii, California, Minnesota, and New Mexico also developed legislative language in 2015 that will be brought forward in their 2016 legislative sessions. And advocates in other states have expressed an interest in copying Oregon and Rhode Island.
Tracking all this is the website CoverMyCare.org, an initiative of the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) that completed its first year of operation in early November 2015.
Through Cover My Care (CMC), the IHPC is teaming with its partner the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) to co-develop a state-based model of advocacy and community building around integrative health. For example, representatives of both sit on the steering committee of “Fair Care Minnesota,” the coalition that has been developing legislation based on Section 2706 since 2014.
CMC helps to connect these state coalitions with national stake-holder groups that are committed to integrative care. This includes IHPC member the American Academy of Pain Management as well as the American Sustainable Business Council, ASBC. In November 2015, IHPC and ASBC coproduced a webinar that raised employer awareness about the health and cost benefits of integrative options in the workplace.
The emergence of state initiatives that in effect seek to fulfill the intent of Section 2706 plus the connection with stakeholder groups shows that expanding access to integrative care—notably by ensuring equitable insurance coverage—has become something of a movement. At IHPC we like to say that CoverMyCare is its clearinghouse.
For more on CMC toolkits, Story Album, frequently asked questions, and the monthly CMC Update, visit www.covermycare.org/cmc/practitioners.
Submitted by: Taylor Walsh, CoverMyCare Program Director, and Alyssa Wostrel, MBA, Executive Director, IHPC