2009-12-04 / Columnists

Health & Harmony

Health Care Reform Bill

DR. NANCY GAHLES DR. NANCY GAHLES To those of us who actually intend to manage our own health care, we have a vested interest in ensuring that we have access to providers that represent our needs. That is to say that when we want to have preventive and wellness care, the type that represents REAL change than we need to have access to practices that provide preventive and wellness care. Currently, preventive care is defined by conventional medicine, and the healthcare bill being debated, as diagnostic screening for early detection of pathology, such as a mammogram. Early detection of an existing disease process is in no way prevention. Prevention means that you do not get the disease at all. Wellness is a state of being healthy, the absence of disease. In our medical model, there are no treatments, surgical or pharmaceutical, for wellness. Our conventional model of healthcare is disease oriented. One goes to a doctor when you are sick. With the exception of pediatrics, insurance companies do not pay for well visits. No one schedules an office visit with their medical doctor when they are well.

Licensed health care providers like Doctors of Chiropractic provide treatment for physical conditions that are painful and they also provide treatments that enhance wellness and prevent spinal de - generation and some forms of arthritis among other conditions. Research has shown that chiropractic treatments increase immunity. In sur - ance companies do not pay for wellness care or for what they call maintenance. There is no compensation for staying in a state of health and preventing the chronic diseases that place a tremendous financial burden on the system, us and our families.

An amendment was introduced by Sen. Sanders into HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act, the House bill that is now being debated along with the Senate's version. The amendment clarifies the language of healthcare providers to include licens - ed complementary and alternative medicine providers and integrative healthcare practitioners. Chiro prac - tors are considered licensed complementary and alternative (CAM) health care providers. For a complete list of CAM providers go to http://ncc-am.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/overview.htm#integ m/overview.htm#integ>

Integrative healthcare is now not only the trend in modern medicine it is the directive of the leaders in the industry of healthcare. In - tegrative healthcare is the use of the combination of conventional medicine with CAM practices to increase better outcomes for patients based on individualized care and evidence based practices of safety and effectiveness and cost savings. This is the real prevention and wellness way. The way that gives people control over their health through active participation with a team of providers who meet their individual needs and who interact with each other in the best interest of the patient to prevent disease and facilitate wellness. Homeo - pathic medicine is one of these integrative healthcare practices that are considered whole systems medicine as defined on the NCCAM website linked above. Homeo pathic medicine is well known for its effectiveness in areas where conventional medicine has no answers such as viruses and, as such, is a perfect partner to it.

Recently, 47 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote to the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, asking her to ensure that the language of this amendment is in the final bill. It is called a provider non-discrimination provision. This provision is intended to ensure patient choice of provider and prevent discrimination against entire classes of health pro - viders by health insurance plans.

Today, I spoke with Congressman Anthony Weiner and asked him to support inclusion of the provider nondiscrimination provision in the final bill. If you want freedom to choose the practitioner of your choice, access to complementary and alternative medicine and non-discrimination by insurance companies for making these choices, then please let Congressman Weiner know that you need his help to make this a reality. Ask him to join his colleagues in this effort. Send him an e-mail at weiner@mail.house.gov or snail mail at 80-02 Kew Gardens Rd., Kew Gardens, NY 11415.

And, May The Blessings Be!

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