Healthcare reform law expands opportunities for integrative medicine, although implementing regulations will have to be developed to truly clear the brush.

In the Integrator Blog, John Weeks provides a useful summary of some key provisions, with commentary:


1. Inclusion of Licensed Practitioners Insurance Coverage


(a) Providers- A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law. This section shall not require that a group health plan or health insurance issuer contract with any health care provider willing to abide by the terms and conditions for participation established by the plan or issuer. Nothing in this section shall be construed as preventing a group health plan, a health insurance issuer, or the Secretary from establishing varying reimbursement rates based on quality or performance measures.

(b) Individuals- The provisions of section 1558 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (relating to non-discrimination) shall apply with respect to a group health plan or health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage.


2. Inclusion of Licensed Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners in Medical Homes


    (a) In General- The Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in this section as the `Secretary’) shall establish a program to provide grants to or enter into contracts with eligible entities to establish community-based interdisciplinary, interprofessional teams (referred to in this section as `health teams’) to support primary care practices, including obstetrics and gynecology practices, within the hospital service areas served by the eligible entities. Grants or contracts shall be used to–

    (1) establish health teams to provide support services to primary care providers; and
    (2) provide capitated payments to primary care providers as determined by the Secretary.
    (b) Eligible Entities- To be eligible to receive a grant or contract under subsection (a), an entity shall–
    (1)(A) be a State or State-designated entity; or
    (B) be an Indian tribe or tribal organization, as defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act;
    (2) submit a plan for achieving long-term financial sustainability within 3 years;
    (3) submit a plan for incorporating prevention initiatives and patient education and care management resources into the delivery of health care that is integrated with community-based prevention and treatment resources, where available;
    (4) ensure that the health team established by the entity includes an interdisciplinary, interprofessional team of health care providers, as determined by the Secretary; such team may include medical specialists, nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, dietitians, social workers, behavioral and mental health providers (including substance use disorder prevention and treatment providers), doctors of chiropractic, licensed complementary and alternative medicine practitioners, and physicians’ assistants;



3. Integrative Health Care and Integrative Practitioners in Prevention Strategies


(d) Purposes and Duties- The Council shall–

    (1) provide coordination and leadership at the Federal level, and among all Federal departments and agencies, with respect to prevention, wellness and health promotion practices, the public health system, and integrative health care in the United States;
    (2) after obtaining input from relevant stakeholders, develop a national prevention, health promotion, public health, and integrative health care strategy that incorporates the most effective and achievable means of improving the health status of Americans and reducing the incidence of preventable illness and disability in the United States;
    (3) provide recommendations to the President and Congress concerning the most pressing health issues confronting the United States and changes in Federal policy to achieve national wellness, health promotion, and public health goals, including the reduction of tobacco use, sedentary behavior, and poor nutrition;
    (4) consider and propose evidence-based models, policies, and innovative approaches for the promotion of transformative models of prevention, integrative health, and public health on individual and community levels across the United States;
    (5) establish processes for continual public input, including input from State, regional, and local leadership communities and other relevant stakeholders, including Indian tribes and tribal organizations;
    (6) submit the reports required under subsection (g); and
    (7) carry out other activities determined appropriate by the President.
    (f) Advisory Group-
    (1) IN GENERAL- The President shall establish an Advisory Group to the Council to be known as the `Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health’ (hereafter referred to in this section as the `Advisory Group’). The Advisory Group shall be within the Department of Health and Human Services and report to the Surgeon General.
    (A) IN GENERAL- The Advisory Group shall be composed of not more than 25 non-Federal members to be appointed by the President.
    (B) REPRESENTATION- In appointing members under subparagraph (A), the President shall ensure that the Advisory Group includes a diverse group of licensed health professionals, including integrative health practitioners who have expertise in
    (i) worksite health promotion;
    (ii) community services, including community health centers;
    (iii) preventive medicine;
    (iv) health coaching;
    (v) public health education;
    (vi) geriatrics; and
    (vii) rehabilitation medicine.
    (3) PURPOSES AND DUTIES- The Advisory Group shall develop policy and program recommendations and advise the Council on lifestyle-based chronic disease prevention and management, integrative health care practices, and health promotion.


4.  Dietary Supplements in Individualized Wellness Plans


Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 245b) is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `(s) Demonstration Program for Individualized Wellness Plans-
    `(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall establish a pilot program to test the impact of providing at-risk populations who utilize community health centers funded under this section an individualized wellness plan that is designed to reduce risk factors for preventable conditions as identified by a comprehensive risk-factor assessment.
    `(2) AGREEMENTS- The Secretary shall enter into agreements with not more than 10 community health centers funded under this section to conduct activities under the pilot program under paragraph (1).
    `(A) IN GENERAL- An individualized wellness plan prepared under the pilot program under this subsection may include one or more of the following as appropriate to the individual’s identified risk factors:
    `(i) Nutritional counseling.
    `(ii) A physical activity plan.
    `(iii) Alcohol and smoking cessation counseling and services.
    `(iv) Stress management.
    `(v) Dietary supplements that have health claims approved by the Secretary.
    `(vi) Compliance assistance provided by a community health center employee.
    `(B) RISK FACTORS- Wellness plan risk factors shall include–
    `(i) weight;
    `(ii) tobacco and alcohol use;
    `(iii) exercise rates;
    `(iv) nutritional status; and
    `(v) blood pressure.
    `(C) COMPARISONS- Individualized wellness plans shall make comparisons between the individual involved and a control group of individuals with respect to the risk factors described in subparagraph (B).

`(4) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this subsection, such sums as may be necessary.’


5.  Licensed Complementary and Alternative Providers and Integrative Practitioners in Workforce Planning


(i) Definitions- In this section:

    (1) HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE- The term ‘health care workforce’ includes all health care providers with direct patient care and support responsibilities, such as physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, primary care providers, preventive medicine physicians, optometrists, ophthalmologists, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, and other oral healthcare professionals, allied health professionals, doctors of chiropractic, community health workers, health care paraprofessionals, direct care workers, psychologists and other behavioral and mental health professionals (including substance abuse prevention and treatment providers), social workers, physical and occupational therapists, certified nurse midwives, podiatrists, the EMS workforce (including professional and volunteer ambulance personnel and firefighters who perform emergency medical services), licensed complementary and alternative medicine providers, integrative health practitioners, public health professionals, and any other health professional that the Comptroller General of the United States determines appropriate.
    (2) HEALTH PROFESSIONALS- The term ‘health professionals’ includes–
    (A) dentists, dental hygienists, primary care providers, specialty physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists and other behavioral and mental health professionals (including substance abuse prevention and treatment providers), social workers, physical and occupational therapists, public health professionals, clinical pharmacists, allied health professionals, doctors of chiropractic, community health workers, school nurses, certified nurse midwives, podiatrists, licensed complementary and alternative medicine providers, the EMS workforce (including professional and volunteer ambulance personnel and firefighters who perform emergency medical services), and integrative health practitioners;
    (B) national representatives of health professionals;
    (C) representative of schools of medicine, osteopathy, nursing, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, chiropractic, allied health, educational programs for public health professionals, behavioral and mental health professionals (as so defined), social workers, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists,m oral health care industry dentistry and dental hygiene and physician assistant; …


6. Experts in Integrative Health and State Licensed Integrative Health Practitioners in Comparative Effectiveness Research


Part D–Comparative Clinical Effectiveness Research

(d) Duties-[Under (4)

    `(A) IDENTIFYING RESEARCH PRIORITIES- The Institute shall identify national priorities for research, taking into account factors of disease incidence, prevalence, and burden in the United States (with emphasis on chronic conditions), gaps in evidence in terms of clinical outcomes, practice variations and health disparities in terms of delivery and outcomes of care, the potential for new evidence to improve patient health, well-being, and the quality of care, the effect on national expenditures associated with a health care treatment, strategy, or health conditions, as well as patient needs, outcomes, and preferences, the relevance to patients and clinicians in making informed health decisions, and priorities in the National Strategy for quality care established under section 399H of the Public Health Service Act that are consistent with this section.
    `(B) ESTABLISHING RESEARCH PROJECT AGENDA- The Institute shall establish and update a research project agenda for research to address the priorities identified under subparagraph (A), taking into consideration the types of research that might address each priority and the relative value (determined based on the cost of conducting research compared to the potential usefulness of the information produced by research) associated with the different types of research, and such other factors as the Institute determines appropriate.

    `(i) IN GENERAL- The Institute may appoint permanent or ad hoc expert advisory panels as determined appropriate to assist in identifying research priorities and establishing the research project agenda under paragraph (1) and for other purposes.
    `(ii) EXPERT ADVISORY PANELS FOR CLINICAL TRIALS- The Institute shall appoint expert advisory panels in carrying out randomized clinical trials under the research project agenda under paragraph (2)(A)(ii). Such expert advisory panels shall advise the Institute and the agency, instrumentality, or entity conducting the research on the research question involved and the research design or protocol, including important patient subgroups and other parameters of the research. Such panels shall be available as a resource for technical questions that may arise during the conduct of such research.
    `(iii) EXPERT ADVISORY PANEL FOR RARE DISEASE- In the case of a research study for rare disease, the Institute shall appoint an expert advisory panel for purposes of assisting in the design of the research study and determining the relative value and feasibility of conducting the research study.
    `(B) COMPOSITION- An expert advisory panel appointed under subparagraph (A) shall include representatives of practicing and research clinicians, patients, and experts in scientific and health services research, health services delivery, and evidence-based medicine who have experience in the relevant topic, and as appropriate, experts in integrative health and primary prevention strategies. The Institute may include a technical expert of each manufacturer or each medical technology that is included under the relevant topic, project, or category for which the panel is established.

(f) Board of Governors-

    `(1) IN GENERAL- The Institute shall have a Board of Governors, which shall consist of the following members:
    `(A) The Director of Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (or the Director’s designee).
    `(B) The Director of the National Institutes of Health (or the Director’s designee).
    `(C) Seventeen members appointed, not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this section, by the Comptroller General of the United States as follows:
    `(i) 3 members representing patients and health care consumers.
    `(ii) 5 members representing physicians and providers, including at least 1 surgeon, nurse, State-licensed integrative health care practitioner, and representative of a hospital.
    `(iii) 3 members representing private payers, of whom at least 1 member shall represent health insurance issuers and at least 1 member shall represent employers who self-insure employee benefits.
    `(iv) 3 members representing pharmaceutical, device, and diagnostic manufacturers or developers.
    `(v) 1 member representing quality improvement or independent health service researchers.
    ‘ (vi) 2 members representing the Federal Government or the States, including at least 1 member representing a Federal health program or agency.


7.  Certified Professional (Direct-Entry) Midwives Covered in Birth Centers


(a) In General- Section 1905 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d), is amended–

    (1) in subsection (a)–
    (A) in paragraph (27), by striking `and’ at the end;
    (B) by redesignating paragraph (28) as paragraph (29); and
    (C) by inserting after paragraph (27) the following new paragraph:
    `(28) freestanding birth center services (as defined in subsection (l)(3)(A)) and other ambulatory services that are offered by a freestanding birth center (as defined in subsection (l)(3)(B)) and that are otherwise included in the plan; and’; and
    (2) in subsection (l), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    `(3)(A) The term `freestanding birth center services’ means services furnished to an individual at a freestanding birth center (as defined in subparagraph (B)) at such center.
    `(B) The term `freestanding birth center’ means a health facility–
    `(i) that is not a hospital;
    `(ii) where childbirth is planned to occur away from the pregnant woman’s residence;
    `(iii) that is licensed or otherwise approved by the State to provide prenatal labor and delivery or postpartum care and other ambulatory services that are included in the plan; and
    `(iv) that complies with such other requirements relating to the health and safety of individuals furnished services by the facility as the State shall establish.
    `(C) A State shall provide separate payments to providers administering prenatal labor and delivery or postpartum care in a freestanding birth center (as defined in subparagraph (B)), such as nurse midwives and other providers of services such as birth attendants recognized under State law, as determined appropriate by the Secretary. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term `birth attendant’ means an individual who is recognized or registered by the State involved to provide health care at childbirth and who provides such care within the scope of practice under which the individual is legally authorized to perform such care under State law (or the State regulatory mechanism provided by State law), regardless of whether the individual is under the supervision of, or associated with, a physician or other health care provider. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed as changing State law requirements applicable to a birth attendant.’…

This is a useful resource for  those wanting a handy summary of integrative medicine provisions included, albeit in a preliminary way, in the legislation.