Former Intern Discusses the ACA

Former Intern Discusses the ACA

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Elodie Reed, the Government Relations Division’s Summer 2013 intern, is now a reporter for New Hampshire’s Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. In her hot-off-the-press article, “Find a health care voice: The individual mandate, individualized,” Elodie discusses Christian Scientists and the Affordable Care Act.

Check out Elodie’s article!

You may also be interested in Elodie’s metaphysical perspective on her summer interning with the Government Relations Division: “Understanding government: an intern’s perspective”.

How the ACA Affects You

How the ACA Affects You

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by Don Ingwerson

We have less than a year to go before the ACA (Affordable Care Act) goes into effect. I’ve noticed many news articles that show many people still have questions about what this means for them. A post by the Federal Committee on Publication site tries to alleviate the confusion by appointing someone as the lead person to answer questions from the Field. Here is the post by the Federal office and it can also be read directly from their site by clicking Questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it affects you:

The Church’s Office of the General Counsel has hired an individual to help communicate with the Field about this topic. This person is Roger Whiteway, whom some of you may also recognize as the Committee on Publication for Virginia. Roger will certainly not be the sole point of communication with the Field. He will be responding to questions and issues along with others, including those working in our office.

We will continue to send regular updates, including notices of online information sessions, via our newsletters.

There are multiple resources available to you, including:

Mandatory Insurance and Christian Science Care

Mandatory Insurance and Christian Science Care

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by Don Ingwerson

The media is continually informing Americans about the upcoming requirement to purchase health insurance. Yet, many find confusing information when searching for what’s available. I found the Chestnut Hill Benevolent Association website interesting as Executive Director Janiva Toler gathers information relating to healthcare insurance and Christian Science in, “Healthcare Answers: Insurance Companies and Christian Science Care.” I hope you also find this information helpful!

No Rate Shock for Exchange

No Rate Shock for Exchange

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by Don Ingwerson

In an effort to keep you informed as to the progress of ACA (Affordable Care Act), I have included a link to an article on the latest information on California’s Health Insurance Exchange: California’s Health Insurance Exchange Sets Plans, Premiums; No ‘Rate Shock.’ Experts had warned that this new exchange, once established, would have considerably higher costs, which so far has not happened. There are 13 plans selected and within the article you click on a link to look up your own region to see what plans and premiums are available. The article further explains when new details will emerge over the summer.

Keeping in Touch

Keeping in touch

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by Don Ingwerson

Visiting media to keep the dialogue open on the importance of alternative health – specifically in the spiritual/mental realm – is a challenge I look forward to each month. This Tuesday I visited six media outlets, where I found that they were busy with elections. The student editor of the Cal State Long Beach Daily 49er also wasn’t available because school was no longer in session. But each meeting brings back into focus for these outlets who I am and that I want to share with them the importance of the link between health and thought.

In visiting the media, I continue to marvel at the rapid changes that are taking place, where I have been finding that ownerships are changing – sometimes very rapidly. Many editors and reporters have different assignments since I last visited. Often they are working out of different locations. As an example, the current Torrance Daily Breeze health reporter is working out of an office in West LA, and the Breeze’s former health reporter is now a Long Beach Press Telegram editor.

But I find that these changing environments present opportunities to meet new people and establish new relationships. During this trip, I also visited the Long Beach Gazette Grunion, the Long Beach Business Journal, and Golden Rain News. The publisher at the Business Journal enjoys talking about the Christian Science Monitor and how it relates to his readers. And the Golden Rain News can be a great contact because it serves the interest of a huge retirement community in Seal Beach.

I look forward to the continued dialogue on health in my next media trip!

Improving the Spiritual Dimension of Whole-Person Care

Improving the Spiritual Dimension of Whole-Person Care

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by Don Ingwerson

As you know from previous blogs, GWish (George Washington University Institute of Spirituality and Health) has been at the forefront to promote the concept that spirituality is tied to health and is an important component to healing. I found this article from George Washington University Newswise to be especially interesting because it details a recent conference in which leaders from all over the world and of a variety of disciplines, faiths, and cultures met to develop recommendations on integrating spirituality into health care systems worldwide. “The conference challenged this diverse group of researchers, educators, and policymakers, physicians and nurses, and chaplains and clergy from more than 20 countries to look critically at the current state of health care and creatively assess how to better serve patients by integrating spirituality into compassionate and person-centered health care.”

As the search for health continues, these types of discussions will shift thought and policy to a more person-centered care. To read the full article, click here: GW Convenes International Consensus Conference on Spirituality in Health Care.

Response to “Who Would Determine Prayer Efficacy?”

Response to "Who Would Determine Prayer Efficacy?"

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by Don Ingwerson

Bernard Eichenbaum responded to my article published December 6, 2012 in the San Diego Union Tribune by asking: “Who would determine prayer efficacy?” This comment was published in the Letters to the Editor section of the paper on December 9, 2012. Myy response to this question was published in the Letters to the Editor section on December 19, 2012, “Insurers embracing spiritual forms of health care:”

In response to Bernard Eichenbaum’s letter concerning the determination of prayer efficacy, some prayer-based therapies have already been supported by insurance companies without any need for government involvement. It seems like we can overcome the concern Mr. Eichenbaum expressed about government interference with religion by leaving the coverage decisions to insurance companies based on principles of supply, demand, and cost effectiveness. I’m finding more and more examples where health delivery systems are willing to embrace spiritual forms of care among their offerings, and it is directly benefiting not only their bottom line, but also, more importantly, the health of the patient.

As an example, Aetna, a leading diversified health benefits company, serving approximately 35.4 million people with information and resources about health, announced positive results seen in studies that offer evidence that mind-body approaches to health improvement are an effective and targeted solution for employers who want to lower the costs associated with stress and help their employees achieve better overall health.

The Fix for Health Care – Holistic Medicine and Patient Choice?

The Fix for Health Care - Holistic Medicine and Patient Choice?

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by Don Ingwerson

Article first published in the U-T San Diego.

Amid the nation-wide debate about health care and each person’s search for a safe, effective, and affordable approach is the realization that being healthy is an individual responsibility and personal endeavor.

A synopsis of an article in The Atlantic by Dr. David H. Freedman says, “the medical profession kept a cool distance from alternative medicine, which most doctors dismissed as the province of hippies and snake oil salesman.” But with health care a topic of debate at the moment, Congress, medical professionals, and the public are all weighing in on what should be included in health care. With the mandate for most everyone to have health insurance coverage in 2014 – or pay a penalty – health care options are being reanalyzed with reference to breadth of coverage and cost.

Deepak Chopra, author and founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, speaks bluntly about the medicine he was taught and the kind he now practices. His experiences highlight the sometimes-strained relationship between conventional and alternative medical practitioners. When the New England Journal of Medicine reported that Americans pay more annually for visits to alternative practitioners than to MDs, physicians expressed great concern. But there has been increased interest among a number of conventional medical professionals since National Institutes of Health studies reported that approximately 38 percent of the public is spending $34 billion dollars a year on alternative medicine out of their own pocket. Chopra makes the following very succinct statement about this issue: “No one could really object to the aims of alternative medicine, which are to bring relief to the whole patient. Sick people come to us in hopes that their suffering will end. If millions of them have been seeking holistic treatments instead of the two-pronged approach of conventional medicine – drugs and surgery – their motivation isn’t irrational.”

And yet, retired British professor Edzard Ernst, a strong supporter and practitioner of complementary medicine, is not so sure. “The real reason, I have come to conclude, is that people are being lied to. Practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) often fail to explain what the evidence shows and does not show. It is a triumph of advertising over rationality:”

As physicians and hospital personnel who are receptive to this approach work to include alternative medicines in their treatments, they will also need to address ways for patients to be informed and be active decision makers. Hopefully, as the political leaders of our country experience grass roots support for a more holistic health care system, financial and regulatory support will be integrated into the health care insurance policies available to the public.

So just what is alternative medicine? The term is not well defined, but NIH studies name 10 alternatives: prayer, prayer for self, prayer for others, natural products, deep breathing, prayer groups, mediation, chiropractic care, yoga, massage, and diet therapies.

I consider my own system, whose roots can be traced to healings found in the New Testament, to be one of those alternatives because spiritual resources have been my main source of health care. One of the benefits of this form of health care is that I take more direct responsibility for my health, and have found that my progress is directly related to my own spiritual practice. It has provided prevention and cure that consistently reinforces the quality of my health.

If the current trend of patients asking for a variety of therapies continues, and this seems likely, it will be important for health care providers to look for ways to meet this demand, and for all options to be on the table when devising plans. Patients shouldn’t have to go outside the system to receive the care that works best for them.

Update on Media Initiatives

Update on Media Initiative

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by Don Ingwerson

This past month I have been regularly contacting health editors and reporters in the larger media outlets in Southern California. Two of the larger ones are U-T San Diego and the Los Angeles Times. Earlier this month I met with the Opinion editor of U-T to introduce myself and to request guidelines for publishing an Op Ed article in the paper. I then submitted, “Where Does Holistic Medicine Fit?” and it was approved and published December 9th in hardcopy and digital. I heard from readers in California, Iowa, and Texas who had read my opinion piece. Recently I met with the U-T San Diego health editor and was able to familiarize her with my interest in the federal health care law and in the areas of health and alternative medicines. At the present time, the health staff writes all the articles for the paper and only occasionally calls on authoritative sources to write articles.

U-T San Diego also has a sister (Spanish) newspaper called Enlace. The Enlace editor has met with me on several occasions and has published articles. During a recent meeting, she requested that I send her two blogs about the holiday season. While in the San Diego area, I also stopped in Chula Vista and visited with the publisher and editor of the Spanish newspaper, La Prensa. He has been very helpful and enjoys the health blogs, but suggested that more examples containing human-interest stories be included in our blogs.