For the July 2016 issue of Acupuncture Today, Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Academic Director Jeffrey Millison, M.Ac., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM), wrote a feature piece on the emerging partnership model between hospitals and universities. Using MUIH’s recent affiliation agreement with University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) as an example, Millison explores the trials, successes, and learning curves that come with introducing complementary and integrative care modalities into an established and traditional Western healthcare system. By participating in rounds with the healthcare team at UM UCH and actively coordinating with hospital professionals, MUIH acupuncture and nutrition student interns have the unique opportunity to help develop and offer a truly integrative model that puts the patients at the center of their care.
“According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 33.2% of U.S. adults and 11.6% of U.S. children age 4 to 17 used complementary health approaches in 2012, a steady rise from just five years prior. Along with more widely accepted yoga and meditation, the study also found significant linear increase in the use of acupuncture, homeopathic treatment, and naturopathy. With increased use comes increased spending, which a report by NHIS estimated at $34 billion a year in 2007, and that estimate is likely to be much more now, nine years after the report's release.
These reports highlight two important draws for hospitals to begin integrating complementary practices: patient demand and patient spending. In the Baltimore/Washington, DC region where MUIH is located, hospital systems including Johns Hopkins Medicine and Mercy Medical Center have taken notice of this demand and now have in-house acupuncturists. MUIH has found that hospitals are showing increased desire and enthusiasm about bringing complementary health practitioners into their previously insular spheres. In the last year alone, MUIH has entered into agreements with two separate hospitals and has participated in collaborative initiatives with medically-centered institutions.”