In the Fall of 2001, The American Association for Health Freedom, Bastyr University and Georgetown University Medical School co-hosted a groundbreaking event designed to stimulate communication among leaders in the nation’s healthcare community about the future of integrated health care. It was called the National Policy Dialogue to Advance Integrated Health Care: Finding Common Ground. Participants debated what an integrated healthcare system would look like, how to achieve it through a defined national policy framework, and how to evaluate it. Nearly 60 national stakeholder organizations with a commitment to the advancement of integrated health care were represented. Participants worked in general session and in small working groups to develop core recommendations in such areas as education, service to the underserved, access, regulation, research, quality of care, public health, and federal benefits.
The recommendations presented in a final report are among the first to reflect common ground among such diverse parties as educators from accredited conventional and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) schools and professional organizations; representatives of regulated conventional and CAM practicing disciplines; payers (Medicare, private insurance companies, HMOs, Indian Health Service); natural health care product manufacturers; employers; consumer advocacy groups; and government agencies. The collective experiences and perspectives of this unique group generated an exceptional exchange of information, ideas, objectives, and proposed action steps.
The vehicle created to carry forward the work begun during this meeting is the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium. It is a national working group of the Collaboration for Healthcare Renewal Foundation.