COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: PROFESSION OR MODALITY? POLICY IMPLICATIONS FOR COVERAGE, LICENSURE, SCOPE OF PRACTICES, INSTITUTIONAL PRIVILEGES, AND RESEARCH REPORT
RAND Report Available for free download http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1258
Dr. Patricia Herman and Dr. Ian Coulter have written an important new and timely report that is available to members and friends of the Consortium. It is a comprehensive white paper that is a valuable reference document to aid in policymaking in term of the challenges that confront complementary and integrative medicine coverage, scope of practice, licensure, and institutional privileges. The authors argue that complementary medicine professions, so important to integrative medicine, are defined “politically,” focusing on their treatment modalities, rather than by their full professional scope of practice, as is customary for physicians and other conventional practitioners.
The report begins with a background paper on the policy issues involved in the scope of practice and utilization of complementary and alternative practices in the current health care system. This report is followed by two panel reports: one of CAM experts and one of health care policy decision makers. The final section is a summary that points out
- The importance of making a solid business case to health care systems and employers that integrative medicine is safe, effective and most important, cost effective.
- The need to raise the health literacy regarding integrative medicine and health among the public, employers and policy makers.
- The importance of individuals in interprofessional teams practicing integrative medicine, and learning to work together across professions toward mutual goals.
- A number of barriers that exist in federal and state law and regulations that inhibit the incorporation of the complementary medicine professions.
This report provides essential background identifying the social institutions and stakeholders that are needed to make policy changes. As the current healthcare system is being revamped, this may be an opportune time for those stakeholders and institutions to work toward the changes that would be in the best interest of patients and for healthcare delivery to the population.