The bipartisan Congressional Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus has been registered with two new co-chairs at the helm for the 116th Congress. Representative Judy Chu (CA) will serve as the Democratic leader with Representative Jackie Walorski (IN) as the Republican leader, replacing former Caucus co-chairs Colorado Congressmen Polis and Coffman, respectively.
The Caucus will hold its first meeting of the new Congress on March 6 on Capitol Hill with an education program and active demonstrations of integrative treatments provided to House Members and staff. Given the recent passage of the HR6 SUPPORT Act addressing the country’s opioid crisis, the focus of the event will be integrative models of care for pain management. Both Representatives sit on the powerful Committee for Ways and Means, which ultimately governs Medicare, along with payments to health care providers delivering care to Medicare beneficiaries, such as those working in hospitals, surgery centers and outpatient departments.
Both new Caucus co-chairs were instrumental in crafting language for the HR6 SUPPORT Act and are involved in seeking legislative solutions regarding patient access to nonpharmacologic treatments and services for pain and addiction.
“The opioid epidemic in our country has made it more important than ever to explore non-opioid alternatives to pain management,” stated Congresswoman Chu. “That is why I am so pleased to be a cofounder of the Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus. Through this caucus, we hope to educate our colleagues about safe alternatives like acupuncture, which for millennia has been successful at treating a number of health conditions in addition to pain. I am hoping we can help make more health care options available and accessible to all Americans.”
“Integrative health care approaches are critical to treating pain, one of the biggest health challenges Americans face,” added Congresswoman Walorski. “As co-chair of the bipartisan Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus, I look forward to working with my colleagues to combat the opioid crisis and help patients by improving access to innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to pain management. I am committed to working across the aisle to ensure patients and providers have access to non-opioid alternatives and the comprehensive care they need.”
The event sponsored by the bipartisan Representatives is open to all members of Congress and their staff. Hosted by the Integrative Health Policy Consortium, speakers will educate lawmakers on what integrative health models of care look like, what current barriers to access for these care models are, as well as hold demonstrations of services designed to treat chronic neck and back pain with nonpharmacologic methods.
“IHPC applauds the efforts of the Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus co-chairs in addressing the current opioid crisis and looking for innovative ways to deliver health care services and treatment options that include nonpharmacologic options for the millions of Americans that struggle with pain and addiction,” stated IHPC Director of Government Affairs, Kallie Guimond. “We look forward to working with the co-chairs to build Caucus membership and to be a resource for its members for many years to come.”
For more information, visit www.ihpc.org/whats-missing-from-health-care.