The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) sent letters to lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in support of legislation that would expand complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) options for the nation’s veterans, reported the AHPA.
The Expanding Care for Veterans Act, H.R. 4887, would expand research, education, and delivery of CAM to veterans. It would require the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct research and develop a plan for inclusion of CAM, carry out a program for three years to “assess the feasibility and advisability of integrating [CAM services] with other health care services” provided by VA medical centers, and study any barriers that exist to receiving and administering CAM services in VA facilities, according to the association.
Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) introduced the legislation and the bill language that is also included in a broader Senate bill, the Restoring Veterans Trust Act (S. 2413), reported AHPA, adding the association sent a letter sent to lawmakers who are participating in a conference committee that is negotiating final language for legislation designed to improve veterans’ health care.
Michael McGuffin, president, AHPA, said that while the VA is to be commended for taking initial steps to make complementary and alternative medicine more widely available to veterans, reports have shown that more veterans are going outside the VA health system to use complementary and alternative medicine therapies to treat pain and mental health conditions while reducing their dependence on narcotics.
“H.R. 4887 is a good step toward expanding access to CAM for our nation’s veterans,” said McGuffin.
For more information, visit www.ahpa.org.