Archive for the ‘Energy’ category

Four ways to improve access to Integrative Medicine Practices

November 13th, 2017

Licensure, regulation, medical evidence, and funding are four sure ways to speed up the process needed to allow integrative medicine practices to be embraced. If we begin with the assumption that money has a lot to do with everything medical in the United States, then we must look at the winners and losers and the WIFM’s?  (What’s in it for me?)  If you’re a practicing surgeon, and acupuncture or chiropractic care results in the patient not needing a surgery, that can be a financial threat to you. Let’s be fair, that probably doesn’t happen that often, but sometimes it does, and when it does, that’s money lost to your practice.

 

If you’ve spent four years in undergraduate school, four years in medical school, four or five years in a residency, and your educational debts amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars, the last thing you need is a clinical study demonstrating through medical evidence that thousands of patients won’t need your services, and your skills will become exponentially less in the demand.

 

On the other hand, if, like ophthalmologists who surround their practices with optometrists, orthopods did the same with chiropractors and acupuncturists, could that not create a steady stream of referrals for their practices?

 

Let’s face it, there is a role for all three of those professions, and there are skill levels in every profession and duties relegated to each that both overlap and potentially conflict. So, wouldn’t it be better to have the three practice as a team of professionals working together to help you?

 

“There’s not enough medical evidence”  has been the hue and cry of the uninformed for years. Ironically, once traditional medical evidence is thoroughly interrogated, it’s not unusual to find numerous flaws in even the most accepted medical practices. We’ve seen slanted reporting in even the furthermost prestigious journals where various drugs, procedures, and devices have been proven to be ineffective years later.

 

There are over 19,000 papers that have been written and submitted to medical journals in which acupuncture has been endorsed and proven to be effective, but there never seems to be enough medical evidence for the naysayers.

 

Credentialing is a very challenging area as well.  Not unlike the highly skilled surgeon with her medical degrees from the Sorbonne in Paris that is not permitted to practice medicine in the United States, there are sometimes economic and political reasons to limit the number of practitioners allowed in the United States. In my experience, by creating a hospital-based credentials committee that specializes in integrative medicine, the nay-sayers ability to discredit highly trained practitioners with different skills will become more limited.

 

Regulation may be the most difficult challenge in this discussion because, as we have come to know very well, political power can come from political contributions, and when it comes to regulations, those with the gold have more clout than those without. That is not to say that our politicians can be encouraged to be more flexible because they can.  All it takes is for hundreds of constituents to stand in front of a Congressional office to encourage change to occur.

 

So, what are we really dealing with here?  In 1910, the AMA put out a request for proposal to determine what should be taught in the medical schools of Canada and the United States and no physician would accept that assignment.  Consequently, a Ph.D., Abraham Flexner, did, and his approach was to eliminate everything that wasn’t already proven science.  From there we have evolved to a “heal to the pill” mentality where words like root cause and placebo have been dropped from the vernacular.

 

Finally, funding is the key. It has been proven time and again that integrative medicine practices can reduce health care costs exponentially. With that in mind, every bill that comes out of Washington ignores that fact, and funding for many of these well-documented practices is not present. There were over 5000 codes in the Affordable Care Act that were intended to fund such practices as acupuncture, but when the FAQ initially was released, it said, in essence, “Don’t worry about paying these codes.”

 

If you go almost anywhere in Europe and Asia and you will see integrative practitioners thriving because their value is acknowledged and embraced. Of course, we’re not professing that a massage therapist performs open heart surgery, but we do know that Integrative medicine can help to reduce costs across the board.

 

There are many good things that can come from Integrative medicine. You just need to be open-minded.

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A Proactive Approach to Ecology

February 22nd, 2009

The Greening of America is here.

Despite the fact that the Clinton and Bush administrations determined that we would not be legally bound by the Kyoto Agreement, President Obama has a more proactive view on the nation’s environmental policy.

The following is a short list of Obama administration initiatives that will be funded for greener solutions to clean, efficient, American energy: Smart grid, advanced battery technology, energy efficiency:

  • $30 billion for such initiatives as a new, smart power grid, advanced battery technology, and energy efficiency measures, which will create nearly 500,000 jobs.
  • Help state and local governments make investments in innovative best practices to achieve greater energy efficiency and reduce energy usage.

Tax incentives to spur energy savings and green jobs:

  • Provides $20 billion in tax incentives for renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next 10 years.
  • Provides a tax credit for families that purchase plug-in hybrid vehicles of up to $7,500 to spur the next generation of American cars.
  • Includes clean renewable energy bonds for state and local governments.
  • Establishes a new manufacturing investment tax credit for investment in advanced energy facilities, such as facilities that manufacture components for the production of renewable energy, advanced battery technology, and other innovative next-generation green technologies.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 and entered into force in February 2005; 184 parties have ratified its protocol to date.

Although the United States did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, voluntary efforts were made to reduce GHG emissions here, even as 132 of the nation’s mayors pledged to meet Kyoto-like emission targets in 2005.

In 2003, some U.S. companies and cities agreed to participate in a legally binding voluntary carbon market – the Carbon Credit Exchange.

The CCX, like other cap-and-trade programs, set limits or caps on allowable emissions.

The CCX issued allowances for trading among the members that correspond to the emission cap. CCX members have agreed to reduce their emissions by 6 percent below their baseline for 2007 to 2010.

The publically traded CCX is about a $70 billion business that previously was somewhat limited to power producers and large industries.

A recent article in the New York Times indicated that within the next four or five years, this market is expected to grow to $500 billion as the country begins to work toward green and a cleaner environment.

Currently, the European Union has the largest and most famous carbon trading system.

The European Trading Scheme is a cap-and-trade system in which the government sets national emission caps based on its Kyoto and national targets.

Allowances, totaling the caps, are then distributed to individual firms for trading throughout the EU. If emissions are capped, for example, at 200 million tons a year, there are 200 million allowances distributed to firms for offsetting emissions.

These firms can then use the allowances to offset their own emissions, reduce their emissions and sell the allowances to other parties, or bank the allowances for future use.

If a firm does not have adequate allowances to offset its emissions, the firm must purchase allowances or pay a significant financial penalty.

The cost of allowances, if available, is generally less than the financial penalty. The buying and selling of allowances, trading, creates a market, thus the cap-and-trade program designation.

Due to the financial challenges companies face on an ongoing basis, recent studies have shown that Sector 3 organizations will have the most difficulty dealing with this metamorphosis.

Consequently, schools, churches, hospitals, and local government will be struggling to find the means to make the green transitions such as retrofitting lights, more efficient use of demand meters, voluntary curtailment, and the installation of efficient energy supplies utilizing renewable fuels, i.e. biomass combined heat and power systems.

E-CCAP is one possible solution to this nonprofit problem, an initiative that is funded through two prominent Pittsburgh Foundations led by the Pittsburgh Gateways Corp. and its partner in this project, World-Class Industrial Network.

They are working together to capture opportunities in the developing financial markets associated with energy and carbon reduction and general sustainable practices such as switching to renewable resources or investing in energy efficiency methods.

E-CCAP is working on a set of developmental and applied activities designed to define and demonstrate that nonprofit organizations, serving industrial, commercial and institutional based stakeholders, can leverage relationships with its constituents to both promote and financially share in the benefits of sustainable business activities.

In so doing, the nonprofit organization can better meet its core mission by exploiting new revenue streams not previously available.

E-CCAP is targeting a pilot project with industrial, commercial, and institutional based stakeholders, to aggregate the financial benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects through the emerging markets for energy efficiency credits.

These green credits will be aggregated and traded to support the partnership and serve the participating third sector organization and their constituents.

They will specialize in the development of credit generating projects, have those green savings validated by an independent third party, and broker the credits.

(This blog post is also published as a feature article in the 2/21/09 edition of The Tribune-Democrat.)

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