White House Commission Final Report
In March of 2000 the White House issued Executive Order No. 13147 which initiated the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine ("CAM"). The commission was designed to, for the first time, look into non-medical health care. The commission called these kinds of care Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) even though most all the forms of health care included in this category weren't alternatives and certainly not medicine in any form. Chiropractic was one of the CAM healthcare delivery systems included in the report. Chiropractic represents the largest of the professions that fit in to the CAM category and the only profession within the group whose practitioners are doctors who're licensed in all 50 states.
In March of 2002 this Commission released its final report. The Executive Summary of the report, published on the web site at http://whccamp.hhs.gov/, contained 10 recommendations to be included into the final report. These ten speak to very important and fundamental issues in health care. They are listed below.
1.A wholeness orientation in healthcare delivery. Health involves all aspects of life-mind, body, spirit, and environment-and high-quality health care must support care of the complete person.
2.Evidence of safety and efficacy. The Commission is committed to promoting the use of science and appropriate scientific techniques to help identify safe and effective CAM services and products and to generate evidence which will protect and promote the public health.
3.The healing capacity of the individual. People have a remarkable capacity for recovery and self-healing, and a major focus of healthcare is to support and promote this capacity.
4.Respect for individuality. Each person is unique and has the right to health care that is appropriately responsive to him or her, respecting preferences and preserving dignity.
5.The right to choose treatment. Each person has got the right to choose freely among effective and safe care or approaches, in addition to among qualified practitioners who are accountable for their claims and actions and attentive to the person's needs.
6.An emphasis on health promotion and self-care. Good health care emphasizes self-care and early intervention for maintaining and promoting health.
7.Partnerships as essential to integrated health care. Good health care requires teamwork among patients, health care professionals (conventional and CAM), and researchers devoted to creating optimal healing environments and also to respecting the diversity of health care traditions.
8.Education as a fundamental health care service. Education about prevention, healthy lifestyles, and also the power of self-healing should be made a fundamental element of the curricula of all health care professionals and really should be made available to the public of all ages.
9.Dissemination of comprehensive and timely information. The standard of health care can be enhanced by promoting efforts that thoroughly and thoughtfully examine the evidence on which CAM systems, practices, and products are based and make this evidence widely, rapidly, and easily available.
10.Integral public involvement. The input of informed consumers and other members of the public should be incorporated in setting priorities for health care and health care research and in reaching policy decisions, including those associated with CAM, within the public and private sectors.
From a chiropractic standpoint, it is good to see these ten points being brought forth in such a public document. Many of these statements from the Commission regarding wholeness, healing, wellness, and also the right of the individual to choose their form of health care have been part of chiropractic practices for decades.
The commission recognized the ever-growing role that non-medical care is having on the population in the United States. In concluding they provided the following statement, "The Commission recommends the President, Secretary of Health and Human Services, or Congress create an office to coordinate Federal CAM activities and to facilitate the integration of safe and effective practices and products into the nation's health care system."