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Poll for IHPC: Establish a Federal Office for Integrated Health Care? PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Extraordinary Integrator Mailing: Please Vote on a Poll Regarding a Federal Office for Integrated Health Care

Please click here to express your level of agreement or disgreement with this statement:
Creating a federal office for integrated health care is critical for maximising the health and well being of all citizens.



Discussion: Following the August 20 announcement of the an Integrator poll on this topic, Sheila Quinn, president of the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium shared with me a deep concern over the language I used. She wished that I had formulated the question, and discussion, in a way which more closely refelcted the thinking of many leaders, as well as the IHPC. I have since worked with her and IHPC executive director Janet Kahn, PhD, on the language. Please take a moment to register your opinion.
____________________

For the past half dozen years, the idea of establishing a federal office to oversee the integration of complementary, alternative and integrative medicine into the nation's healthcare system has been discussed in many venues.

Some Arguments in Favor

The idea of establishing such an office was recommended by the White House Commission on CAM Policy (2002) and hte National Policy Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care (2001). The logic was that we needed to have a high-level office with hte authority and visivility necessary top set policy and funding priorities to bring our diverse and often very separate approaches into a single, integrated system. Such an office would help to assure the efficient and coordinated use of all healthcaer funding, including funds designated for research, educationand patient services.

Those in favor view the establishment of such an office as a rallying point, bringing together all those who want to see better collaboration among healthcaer practitioners and greater equality of funding for various research and education initiatives. Without such an office, the argument goes, patients will forever be forced to integrated their own care, one by one, and CAM/IM disciplkines will always bbe fighting for a very small piece of the action. They ask: Don't we want more for our nation's health care than that?

Many note that the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is sometimes pushed toward such a role even though its charge is only a subset of the research agenda.

Some Arguments Opposed

One argument of those not taken with the idea of a federal office for integrated health care is that creation of such an office effectively sets up a kind of apartheid. Doesn't this establish a separation between CAM-IM and the rest of medicine? Isn't the goal to be integrated into all of care, instead of separate? [YOU DELETED THIS]

Others look at the labor involved in lobbying for an such an office could be substantial, and the time needed to develop administrative rules and get it established would be significant. How long will it be until such an office is actually of any use to anyone? Aren't all of our resources scarce? Wouldn't it be better to just go our own ways with what resources we have an push for changes we want now?

And by the way, who would control this office? Don't such federal initiatives usually end up being run by the very powerful, influential and well-lobbied interests which they are often set up to change?


So What is Your View?

Please click here to participate in the poll, upper left side of the home page:
Creating a federal office for integrated health care is critical for maximising the health and well being of all citizens.

Disclosure: I serve as a member of the IHPC steering committee. I will report outcomes of this poll together with that of the differently-languaged original poll. Thanks to the XX of you who who made your opinion felt the first round.


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