Maryland University of Integrative Health’s Natural Care Center introduces a new collaboration with the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center at Howard County General Hospital. The expanded range of therapies will support members in the local community, including cancer patients.
“One of the most beneficial aspects of the Natural Care Center is its deep connection to the Howard County community,” said Dr. Michelle McNear, Ph.D., director of the Natural Care Center. “We’re excited to bring our integrative health services to those in need of ways to manage chronic pain and other chronic conditions such as cancer treatment.”
Services available in the center at Howard County General Hospital include:
· Clinical nutrition
· Massage therapy
For more than 40 years, the Natural Care Center at Maryland University of Integrative Health has provided powerful, meaningful, and effective healing experiences for patients and clients that arrive with a wide array of health challenges.
About Maryland University of Integrative Health
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) is a leading academic institution focused on the study and practice of integrative health and wellness and one of the few universities in the U.S. dedicated solely to such practices. Deeply rooted in a holistic philosophy, its model for integrative health and wellness is grounded in whole-person, relationship-centered, evidence-informed care.
Since 1974, MUIH has been a values driven community educating practitioners to become future health and wellness leaders through transformative programs grounded in traditional wisdom and contemporary science. MUIH has more than 20 progressive, graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines, offered on-campus and online. In the on-campus Natural Care Center and community outreach settings, MUIH provides compassionate and affordable healthcare from student interns and professional practitioners, which delivers more than 20,000 clinical treatments and consultations each year.
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced some historic and exciting news: In CMS’ January 21st decision memo it formally announced it would reimburse acupuncture for chronic low back pain for Medicare recipients. This is a significant milestone on the path to getting acupuncture widely recognized for its ability to help the public with a persistent and difficult chronic condition. The fact that CMS, one of the largest federal agencies, has acknowledged the effectiveness of acupuncture holds promise for patients and acupuncturists.
CMS included licensed acupuncturists as one of the providers under its “auxiliary personnel” clause. This is currently the only way CMS could include acupuncturists as they are not listed as an approved provider of Medicare services in the Social Security Act (SSA). CMS used the avenue available to it at this time to include acupuncturists and acupuncture services in Medicare.
Acupuncturists will be allowed to provide these services under the “appropriate level” of supervision by either a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist. While this is not ideal, it is still a step in the right direction as the supervision is not required to be “direct”, and again this reflects the SSA limitations CMS is working within. As the American Society of Acupuncturists highlighted in their press release regarding CMS’ decision:
“While nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and physician assistants may not practice acupuncture, their supervisory availability also vastly expands the potential for collaborative agreements. It is implicit in this that these providers are not specifically directing the nature of the acupuncture treatment, but rather are collaboratively assuring patient diagnoses, safety, follow-up, and connection to the established care system.” https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Breaking-News–ASA-and-NCCAOM-Joint-Letter-regarding-CMS-Acupuncture-Determination.html?soid=1129429298898&aid=s70PLhiLpGk
This first step provides the most advantageous way under the current law to provide acupuncture to more Medicare recipients, recognize and include acupuncturists, and further elevate acupuncture as an effective treatment for chronic low back pain which, when not appropriately addressed, can lead to opioid misuse and addiction.
MUIH will continue to lend its support to efforts – big and small – that ensure the public has access to effective health and wellness opportunities and its graduates have a robust and fulfilling professional environment to step into when they graduate.