Monday, May 28, 2018

Mission: Make Integrative Medicine Accessible to Patients in Hospitals

key words:  hospitals, veterans, military family, memorial day resources, blue star families, gold star families, acupuncture for veterans and military families, integrative medicine for veterans and military families, integrative medicine accessible to military special needs network and EFMP families, philanthropy

Originally published Monday, May 29th, 2017

Memorial weekend is here; when, as a society we remember those who have given their lives in service to our country.  This long weekend may we remember the fallen as we support the living.

As a military family with several Blue Stars, my mission has been to help make accessible non-drug, non-surgery options (acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, etc) for health and wellness to servicemembers, veterans, and their families.  Having acupuncture (which is part of East Asian Medicine) and other non-drug, non-surgery options available in medicine centers and hospital facilities to complement conventional care will help shorten inpatient stay length, decrease pain, improve function, and decrease overall health care costs.

This mission has taken several forms over the past decade or so.

Most recently this has been in building a set of resources, called The Hospital Practice Handbook Project, to make it easier for facilities and their hospital administrators to hire acupuncturists into their systems and thus have Integrative Medicine (IM) professionals on staff.
For patients to have access to integrative medicine, you need to hire IM practitioners into the facility.

Why?  Because, I found that one of the major barriers to getting access to IM is getting IM professionals hired into the system.  People have best access to care when it is delivered in places they are already going, whether it is a mobile wellness clinic at the community center or the VFW or the local medical facility.  

In particular, servicemembers and their families have best access and greatest potential for team care coordination when it is available in their facility (MTF).  The next-best is having it covered by TriCare out-in-town by trained and qualified providers.

Patients have the best access and greatest potential for team care coordination when IM (including acupuncture) is available in their usual health care facility.
The Hospital Practice Handbook Project resource is for all hospital-based practice IM practitioners, whether you work in a civilian, DoD, or VA facility.  These resources are general and collaborative.  They are not facility-specific.  They are profession-specific; specific to Integrative Medicine professionals, with emphasis on East Asian Medicine professionals.

Contribute to the work of building this stepping-stone resource over the barriers into health care facilities at the Hospital Practice Handbook Project website.

*Blue Stars—each blue star represents one family member serving in the military.  A blue star banner or flag can have up to 5 stars.  If a servicemember dies, a smaller gold star is placed on top of the blue star.

For a Quick List of My Favorite Veteran and Military Family Non-Profit Organizations to Donate to this Memorial Weekend

See this blogpost on the De-Stress Vets blog.  These are nonprofits that support veterans, active duty military, and their families.


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