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Integrative Medicine and Integrated Healthcare Round-up: Oct. 16-Nov, 30, 2008 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Integrative Medicine and Integrated Healthcare Round-up: Oct 16-Nov 28, 2008

Summary: Cleveland-based Manufacturer Parker Hannifin created a rich CAM benefit which has stimulated the development of a national CAM PPO of America network with affiliations with the AANP and Massage Envy ... Integrative Practitioner tops 5000 members, earns Stevie nomination, names Jacobs, Blumenthal to advisory roles ... Day-late, dollar-short: McCain weighs in on chiropractic ... UCSF Osher seeks medical director: Obama-esque leader needed ... Helfgott Research Institute update ... Tai Sophia and Johns Hopkins nursing advance their relationship; AANP's Howard benefits from program ... Naturopathic policy action in Washington State: hard to imagine this in state's where NDs are not licensed ... Georgia chiros get parity boost from insurance commissioner ... AHPA's Dentali in appointment, $100,000 grant for healthy aging to Bastyr, plus ...
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Note: This issue pf the Round-up reflects a broader time period, due to some time off. I will be back to my 2-week schedule mid-December. - JW

Employers & Insurers

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James Frackleton, MD, CAM PPO of America founder
CAM PPO of America recruiting for their network, $5000 CAM benefit plan


Cleveland, Ohio-based CAM PPO of America, Inc. is recruiting naturopathic physicians and other providers to join the organization's national managed care organization. The initiative appears to have stemmed from the decision of manufacturer Parker Hannifin to offer "a generous CAM benefit to more than 25,0--- employees and their spouses and dependents." CAM PPO was thus formed as an alliance between the Preventive Medicine Group of MD and ND physicians and AdvoCare, Inc., a managed care firm based in Northeast Ohio. James Frackelton, MD, FACAM serves as president. Outreach to naturopathic physicians apparently came via an agreement with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). A mailer was headlined: "Enjoy increased patient referrals, compliments of the AANP." The firm's medical director is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist, Laura DeVincentis, ND, LAc

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Laura DeVincentis, ND, LAc - CAM PPO medical director
A review of the firm's website suggests that the firm is in start-up. No client list or clarity on products is apparent. The mailer advertises a $5,000/year (paid at 80%) CAM benefit for any individual who procures the plan. Distinguishing features include an apparent focus on employers and cost savings. Practitioners who join are told they will have "speaking opportunities at employer locations." In a move announced in a February 2008 release, the firm signed a national agreement for network services with Massage Envy. Massage Envy has also focused its business model on employer relationships.
CommentThe mailing was reminiscent of the network battles of a decade ago when a half dozen decently funded managed care organizations in the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) space, plus a score more funded by passion, were pushing hard to be the first to have a national network of CAM practitioners. The story here is in why Parker Hannifin is offering a rich CAM benefit. I will look into it. 
Interest in wellness programs from employers up, despite economic downturn

A related Integrator article looks at studies which show employer interest in wellness, and a new accreditation program for wellness through URAC. (See
"Wellness" Advances: Policy, Employers, MPA Media, Accreditation Standards, IOM Summit, plus," November 28, 2008.)

Business

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Growing steadily as an inter-disciplinary platform
Integrative Practitioner hits 5400 members, adds Jacobs, Blumenthal as advisors


Integrative Practitioner, the online community associated with the annual Integrative Healthcare Symposium, reached a benchmark this month when it topped 5000 members.  Over 5400 practitioners from across the integrative practice disciplines have now joined the year-old start-up. While members 
have come from a variety of sources (including the sponsorship of the Integrator), a part of recent growth is through a relationship the Portland, Maine-based firm recently entered with Matt Russell of Russell Public Communications. Russell's efforts helped in recent months as membership jumped from 3000. The start-up's success has caught some national attention. This year Integrative Practitioner was a Stevie business awards finalist in the Best New Products and Services category. Marydale Abernathy, executive producer for Integrative Practitioner states that “recognition as a finalist is a wonderful note of achievement for our company and for the team that has fostered the gathering and growth of this online community.” The firm's advisory board recently added two well-known leaders: Bradly Jacobs, MD, MPH, and Mark Blumenthal. Jacobs, an Integrator adviser, was recently senior medical adviser with Revolution Health Networks and is senior editor of The ACP Evidence-Based Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Blumenthal is founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council. 
Comment: Clearly I am quite enmeshed with this firm, for which I write and assist in other ways as part of the Integrator sponsorship. That being said, it is great to see Integrative Practitioner gain momentum in creating a robust base across the disciplines.
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Policy


Day-late-and-a-support-letter short department: McCain on chiropractic

The American Chiropractic Association notified its members on October 30, 2008 that they had finally received a letter from the McCain campaign on his views on chiropractic. The letter offers fewer specifics that the two sent by the Obama campaign. The strongest direct support was "to ensure that chiropractors, along with other health care providers, are fairly reimbursed for their services in the Medicare program."  Meantime, the ACA sent a
congratulatory letter to Barack Obama announcing the association's interest in working with the incoming administration to promote "pro-chiropractic and most importantly, pro-patient, legislation."  
Comment: Whatever one's predilections for the Presidency, consensus has been that Obama's campaign was shockingly well run, for Democrats, that is, and perhaps the example of the best run campaign in memory. The relative rates of response to the chiropractors may be a view into this differential.
__________________

Research

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Heather Zwickey, PhD - Helfgott director
Helfgott Research Center at National College of Natural Medicine advances


The 2008-2009 report from the Helfgott Research Institute at National College of Natural Medicine underscores what a significant player this organization has become under the direction of Heather Zwickey, PhD. An focus of the report is on potential contributions from natural medicine to "fighting obesity in America." Helfgott researchers are involved numerous studies which might impact the problem: diet and weight-loss interventions with low income people, roles of detoxification diets, values of a supplement and naturopathic dietary advice for individuals with metabolic syndrome, examinations of anti-inflammatory diets and another on a stress reduction protocol. Helfgott is also partnering with NCNM to more deeply embed understanding of evidence-based medicine and research literacy in professional training programs. Zwickey's passion for advancing research culture in CAM institutions has recently taken a national turn. The Research Working Group of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care has established culture change in CAM institutions as a priority area for its work. Zwickey has taken on the substantial job of heading up the task force charged with shifting this energy. The Institute was established in 2003 through a gift from Don Helfgott, a co-founder of Inspiration Software.

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Barb Reece, RN - moderating Canada's I.O. agenda setting
Canadian group sets integrative oncology agenda


On November 7, 2008, a select group of 30 individuals met in an Integrative Oncology Workshop in Toronto. According to convenor Anne Leis, PhD, the goals were to "establish the vision and principles for integrative oncology in Canada and to build consensus around research priorities as well as discuss how these priorities may relate to the need for practice guidelines." The meeting was supported by the Centre for Behavioural Research and Program Evaluation with funds from the Canadian Cancer Society and funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Leis notes that the plan is to set "a national agenda for integrative oncology that would ultimately lead to Canadian research & practice guidelines" such as were set in the U.S. via the Society for Integrative Oncology. The meeting was moderated by Barbara Reece (formerly Findlay), RN, a long-time Canadian leader in integrative care who served until recently as a vice president at Samueli Institute.
_________________

Academic Medicine/Education

Hiring challenges: UCSF Osher Center seeks medical director with Obama-esque background

One of the earliest integrative clinics in an academic health center, the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco is looking for an MD or DO to serve as medical director and director of clinical programs. The new director will fill a position held by Donald Abrams, MD since mid-2006.  A core goal for the new director beyond
"conceiving and implementing new programs and overseeing ongoing programs" will be "achieving financial sustainability." In addition to substantial medical and administrative skills, Osher's new director will optimally have "experience/knowledge of one or more complementary medical modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, mind-body techniques."

The ideal candidate should also have "comfort and experience working with practitioners with varied backgrounds and training, be a good team builder and good team player, and must have the academic experience needed to qualify for Assistant Professor appointment at UCSF, with experience to qualify for Associate Professor level preferred." Now the capper: "The Director for Clinical Programs is a 60% time role; options for additional activities to make this a full-time faculty position will depend on the experience and interests of the candidate and opportunities elsewhere at UCSF." Those interested should
contact Rick Hecht, MD, search committee chair, at and copy Leslie Murchy, .
Comment: I just laid out the Venn Diagrams for all of these attributes and I wonder if the number of candidates who meet these criterion is in single digits, or could be counted all on one hand. I recall the challenges Bastyr University had in finding clinical faculty in the early days of the renewal of that profession 25 years ago. The solution was often the necessary but less-than-optimal one of hiring teachers who were in their first years out of naturopathic medical school. My guess is that Hecht will be seeing a parallel pool of applicants - only these will be from individuals with recently minted fellowships from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.

Here's hoping that some Barack Obama of integrative medicine will submit a resume: born to a medical doctor mother and traditional Chinese medicine professional father, spent a childhood in a commune of naturopathic doctors and herbalists in rural Oregon, then entered medical school and academic medicine only to realize that the field was in need of significant, uh, change ... but imagining that was possible
seemed connected somehow to being raised by a Buddhist grandmother who helped him understand his middle name, "Karma." 
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Action on many fronts
Relationship between Tai-Sophia and Hopkins School of Nursing matures


Some 15 months ago representatives of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Tai Sophia Institute began meeting to examine shared interests. Since then, a relationship has begun to emerge through ongoing meetings which have involved outside presentations and facilitation from nursing leaders Barbara Dossey, PhD, RN and Mary Jo Kreitzer, RN, PhD. Tai Sophia Institute faculty have offered programs on 'Redefining Health" and "Care for the Caregiver" at Hopkins. The inter-disciplinary team continues to meet regularly, according to an article in the Tai Sophia magazine. The same issue noted that the Institute's co-founder, Robert Duggan, received the Richard G. MacCauley leadership Award from the Horizon Foundation. The Foundation, on whose board Duggan serves, was established when Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard County Hospital merged.

A separate article focuses on the benefits Karen Howard, executive director of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, describes through her decision to take the Institute's Redefining Health weekend, then engage its full Master of Arts in Applied Healing Arts: "I can say that applying this vision and these practices in the workplace and with my staff and my board has had a definite impact."

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Associations

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Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians
A look at ND penetration into policy action in Washington State


A recent issue of the Bulletin of the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians includes a report from the Legal, Legislative and Insurance (LL&I) Committee which may be instructive to those who know little about the field.
The state's Health Care Technology Assessment Committee includes Michelle Simon, ND as an appointee.  David Deichert, ND serves as co-chair of the state's Health Information Infrastructure Stakeholder Advisory Committee. For 10 years, Bruce Milliman, ND has been an adviser to the state's Outpatient Prospective Payment-Technical Advisory Group to the Healthcare Authority. Starting in the late 1990s, Pamela Snider, ND began service on the Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program; Simon currently holds the position. Two leading physician researchers, Erica Oberg, ND, MPH and Ryan Bradley, ND, MPH offered a reportedly "very well-received" proposal to the Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Costs and Access, with which they continue to be active. More recently, Milliman, Snider, Simon and Eva Miller, ND are participating in the state's Primary Care Coalition.
Comment: In the 35 states without licensing of naturopathic physicians, the participation of this field in a state's health care policy-making tends to be unimaginable. I find it refreshing to think of a profession representing integrative medical practices penetrating the healthcare dialogue.
Georgia chiropractors gain directive for parity from state's insurance commissioner

A November 20, 2008 notice to members from the American Chiropractic Association honors the Georgia Chiropractic Association for its work in securing a "recently released directive from the Georgia Insurance Commissioner (which) requires health insurance policies in the state to provide reimbursement for services that are within the lawful scope of chiropractic practice -- regardless of whether or not they are rendered by a duly licensed doctor of medicine or a duly licensed chiropractor." The directive came amidst clarification
that MRI referral is within chiropractic scope of practice, and statement which supersedes a previous determination and clarifies. The statement from the Office of Insurance Safety Fire Commissioner is available here.

___________________

Miscellaneous

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AHPA's Stephen Dentali, PhD
Steven Dentali, PhD
, the chief science officer of the American Herbal Products Association was
appointed to a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) advisory panel formed to recommend toxicologically-based limits for metals and draft a new General Chapter on Heavy Metals for the US Pharmacopeia-National Formulary, according to an AHPA release.

Keith Rafal, MD, MPH, whose work as an integrative leader in a re-hab hospital was recently noted in this Integrator writes to note that his hospital is in the process of being sold and he is "exploring leadership positions in the area of integrative Medicine." Rafal is looking "for a hospital or other health related organization that has the vision to develop innovative programs." He can be reached at .

San Rafael, California-based Richard Miles, a long-time activist and writer in holistic health, alternative and integrative medicine notes that he is looking to ghost write or co-write a book related to the field. Miles wrote a book about the work of Arthur Kaslow, MD an early exponent of auto-immune factors and nutrition published by Tarcher and a number of articles in the field. Miles can be reached at (925) 890-4347


The Fall-Winter issue of the Bastyr University Magazine notes that Dwayne Clark, founder and CEO of Aegis Living has donated $100,000 to the university to, in the words of Bastyr's senior vice president and provost, Timothy Callahan, PhD, "jump-start a healthy aging program here."

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