New Congressional Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus Established
Two Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, one a Republican, Rep. Mike Coffman, and the other a Democrat, Rep. Jared Polis, but both from Colorado, announced on October 24, 2017, the formation of the Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus (IHWCC). While initially established by House Members, US Senators are both welcome and wanted in this new policy center. “I am very excited about this new caucus and proud of the role the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) has played in bringing it about,” said ICA’s Director of Congressional Relations Beth Clay. “This new policy group provides a powerful new means through which the interests and concerns of health care professionals outside the medical model and the millions of patients of all ages they serve can be more effectively represented.
According to the news releases issued by the founding members:
The Congressional organizers, as well as all of the supporting organizations including the International Chiropractors Association (ICA), are urging all non-MD professionals and integrative health practitioners to reach out to their own members of Congress to urge them to join. The two founding Congressional Members, each spoke strongly about the importance of creating the caucus. Rep. Coffman (R-CO noted the important need to inform citizens: “It’s important for patients to have all the facts and latest research when it comes to therapies and treatments available to them when making health care.” Rep. Polis (D-CO) spoke to the value of integrative approaches: “Integrative and complementary therapies and treatments are often the missing piece for people on their journey to health and wellness.”
“The new Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus will be the first such focal point for congressional activity in the integrative arena since a complementary medicine caucus was formed in 2003 and then scrapped nearly a decade ago. The IHWCC will serve as a non-partisan educational forum for legislators to receive up-to-date information from experts related to best practices and new research, and to discuss legislative and administrative opportunities for integrative health.”
This important new policy caucus was established largely at the initiative of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC), of which the ICA is an active partner and with which ICA’s Congressional Relations Director Beth Clay serves as Co-Chair of their Federal Policy Committee. The IHPC is a consortium of national professional organizations and institutions that have a common mission of working to transform the approach to health and healthcare in the United States toward health creation – whole-person focused prevention, wellness and wellbeing. The IHPC member organizations are 24 strong, and growing. According to IHPC Chair Dr. Len Wisneski:
“On behalf of the ICA, I want to thank Susan Haeger, IHPC interim executive director, and ICA’s own Beth Clay for their extraordinary efforts to develop a draft proposal for a caucus to address integrative health and wellness and following it through to a successful conclusion,” said ICA Vice President Dr. Stephen Welsh who also serves on the IHPC Board. “This is an historic and urgently needed step and we look forward to great things from this effort.”
“There is a sea change in the landscape for health and health care, and health reform continues to be a significant focus of policy makers, legislators and the public. Our largest systems of care — the Veterans’ Administration and Department of Defense are embracing these approaches. In pain care and especially in the opioid crisis – that we are trying to rename the “chronic pain” crisis – a sea change is afoot. The time is right for communicating with, connecting and catalyzing legislators to support this shift. To be clear, while IHPC drove its formation, the caucus belongs to Congress. We are working closely with Rep. Polis and Coffman to plan the first Congressional Briefing in the first quarter of 2018. In an ongoing way, the caucus will be a conduit for information to those members who care about these issues. Caucus activities can also help shape policy ideas.”