White House Commission
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.
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 listed below.
- 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 person.
- 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
- An emphasis
on health promotion and self-care. Good health care emphasizes self-care
and early intervention for maintaining and promoting health.
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 all ages.
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.
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
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."