News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 14, 2013

Speaker advocates expanding coverage of health care act

Says alternative forms of care should be included

TERRE HAUTE — Expanding the scope of health care covered under the Affordable Care Act is a goal of many practitioners of alternative forms of medical treatment, including Moira Fitzpatrick, a doctor of naturopathic medicine who spoke to Terre Haute seniors Wednesday.

Fitzpatrick is the recently appointed vice president of the Bastyr University campus in San Diego, Calif., and an advocate for alternative forms of health care.

Speaking to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute participants at the Landsbaum Center in Terre Haute, Fitzpatrick made the case for herbal remedies, Oriental medicine, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.

“There’s a growing body of research” for naturopathic medicine, Fitzpatrick said during the 90-minute program. Bastyr University, whose main campus is near Seattle, Wash., is a pioneering institution in the field of natural medicine and the largest accredited university for “natural health arts and sciences” in the U.S., according to its website. It offers nearly 20 degree and certificate programs in fields such as acupuncture and Oriental medicine, whole-food nutrition and naturopathic medicine.

Greg Goode, director of government relations at Indiana State University, worked as chief of staff and director of the Center for Health Policy and Leadership at Bastyr after leaving ISU in 2007 to run for Congress. He also spoke to the OLLI group, telling of efforts under way to expand government recognition of naturopathic medicine through licensing and within the Affordable Care Act.

“Just about every state has some sort of effort under way” to expand recognition of alternative medicines that fall under the title of “integrative health care,” Goode said. Efforts on Capitol Hill are bipartisan, he said, including left-wing and right-wing members of the House.

While every state may have efforts under way, only 17 allow naturopathic medicine docs (NDs) to write prescriptions, Goode said. And state Medicaid reimbursements are not always equal nor are ND students given the federal funding MD students receive.

This is probably no accident. The American Medical Association, an influential organization of medical professionals, takes a cautious view of alternative practices. In some states, AMA lobbyists have opposed expanding licensing of some alternative practitioners.

In her talk, Fitzpatrick stressed common-sense approaches to improved health, including diet, exercise and sleep. Most of the OLLI participants, during a question-and-answer period, wanted to know about specific foods, the usefulness of yoga or traditional herbal remedies.

There are numerous toxins in our environment, Fitzpatrick cautioned. To reduce her own exposure, she eats only organic foods, she said.

The OLLI session Wednesday was presented by the Maple Center for Integrative Health. For more information on the Maple Center, visit its website at www.themaple

center.org.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

 

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