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White House Commission Final
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 all such care Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) even
though most all the forms of health care included in this category were not
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 into the CAM category and
the only profession in the group whose practitioners are doctors who are
licensed in all 50 states.
In March of 2002 this Commission released its
final report. The Executive Summary of the report, published on their 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
- A wholeness orientation in health care
delivery. Health involves all aspects of life-mind, body, spirit, and
environment-and high-quality health care must support care of the whole
- Evidence of safety and efficacy.
The Commission is committed to promoting the use of science and
appropriate scientific methods to help identify safe and effective CAM
services and products and to generate evidence that will protect and
promote the public health.
- The healing capacity of the person.
People have a remarkable capacity for recovery and self-healing, and a
major focus of health care is to support and promote this capacity.
- 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.
- The right to choose treatment. Each
person has the right to choose freely among safe and effective care or
approaches, as well as among qualified practitioners who are accountable
for their claims and actions and responsive to the person's needs.
- An emphasis on health promotion and
self-care. Good health care emphasizes self-care and early
intervention for maintaining and promoting health.
- Partnerships as essential to integrated
health care. Good health care requires teamwork among patients, health
care practitioners (conventional and CAM), and researchers committed to
creating optimal healing environments and to respecting the diversity of
all health care traditions.
- Education as a fundamental health care
service. Education about prevention, healthy lifestyles, and the power
of self-healing should be made an integral part of the curricula of all
health care professionals and should be made available to the public of
- Dissemination of comprehensive and
timely information. The quality 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.
- Integral public involvement. The
input of informed consumers and other members of the public must be
incorporated in setting priorities for health care and health care
research and in reaching policy decisions, including those related to 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 by the Commission regarding wholeness, healing, wellness,
and 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 made the following statement, "The Commission recommends
that 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."