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Report: Alternative Medicine Providers Can Help Meet Nation's Primary Care Needs

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Complementary and alternative medicine providers, such as practitioners of acupuncture and oriental medicine, chiropractors, direct-entry midwives and naturopathic physicians, are "generally unrecognized" by, but can fill a greater role in, the national healthcare landscape, according to a whitepaper generated by the Primary Care Project of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care.

"Even though significant numbers of people actively use these four licensed disciplines as their first choice for primary care, workforce analyses have not included the potential contributions of these disciplines," Michael Goldstein, PhD, senior research scientist at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and whitepaper collaborator, said in a news release.

The authors of "Meeting the Nation's Primary Care Needs: Current and Prospective Roles of Doctors of Chiropractic and Naturopathic Medicine, Practitioners of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and Direct Entry Midwives" recommend policymakers learn about the "hidden dimension" of primary care and suggest doing so by:

•    Funding and engaging research on individuals who use CAM providers as their first choice for primary care.
•    Examining the contributions CAM providers make to patient satisfaction, quality of life and cost.

More Articles on Primary Care:

N.J. Bill Would Use Survey to Alleviate Physician Shortage
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