Growing awareness and acceptance of complementary and integrative practices has interested more veterans in obtaining these services, especially if they struggle with disorders, such as chronic pain, that are resistant to more conventional medical treatment. Because of the growing opioid epidemic, many veterans are also increasingly concerned about using opioids to manage chronic pain and want, or are told by medical providers, to seek safer alternatives.
While VA has made some complementary health services available to veterans, DAV is aware of significant limitations on the use and availability of services. VA's guidance on complementary or integrative health practices encourages, but does not require, VA medical centers to make such services available to veterans.
HR 2359, the Whole Veteran Act, would require VA to report on access and availability of several complementary and integrative medicine practices, including: massage; chiropractic services; acupuncture; meditation; yoga, Tai Chi or Oi sang; and Whole Health group services.
DAV supports this measure to advance VA's Whole Health transformation in accordance with DAV Resolution 277, which supports the provision of comprehensive VA health care services to enrolled veterans, and specifically calls upon Congress to provide funding to guarantee access to a full continuum of care, from preventive through hospice services, including alternative and complementary care such as yoga, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic and other non-traditional therapies.
The House has recognized the importance of this legislation and approved it by voice vote on May 21, 2019. Ask your Senator to introduce a companion bill or push to move the House bill to the Senate floor for approval using the letter prepared below or drafting your own.
Thank you for participating in the Commander's Action Network