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Benefits of Naturopathic Care

12 Dec

Benefits of Naturopathic Care

 

Increasing levels of chronic disease including: diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, cancer, and obesity, have created a multi-trillion dollar financial burden on the medical system. Naturopathic medicine (referring to NDs from accredited medical schools) may reduce the need for expensive conventional care by promoting health and decreasing the need for medical interventions over the long term. Naturopathic doctors are primary care providers that treat acute and chronic conditions as well as address health promotion and disease prevention.

Today I’m going to breakdown three major benefits of Naturopathic care.

 

Naturopathic medicine costs less than conventional care.

  • A 2006 University of Washington study found that in Washington state, naturopathic care cost insurers $9.00 per enrollee vs. $686.00 for conventional care. (2)
  • One year of a lifestyle intervention program (similar to that recommended by naturopathic physicians) for patients with coronary artery disease not only improved all health outcomes and reduced the need for surgery but also cost significantly less then conventional treatment ($7,000 vs $31,000 –$46,000). (4)
  • Naturopathic care, when used for reduction of cardiovascular risk factors (high blood pressure and cholesterol, for example) improved health and increased job productivity and was determined to actually be a cost-saver for an employer. (5)
  • Naturopathic care used for chronic low back pain not only cost less than a standard physical therapy regimen but also decreased absenteeism by up to 7 days in a worker’s year. (6)

Read more of Dr. Naumes’ post over at D-Magazines D-Moms Blog

Facts about Investing in Prevention

29 Oct

In 2006 the Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians submitted excerpts from the Blue Ribbon Commission proposal: Evidence-based Chronic Disease Prevention. The following are facts excerpted from that proposal:

Adoption of a Health Lifestyle = Evidence-based, Chronic Disease Prevention (EBCDP).

  • 62% of coronary events are preventable by following a healthy lifestyle (The Health Professionals Follow-up Study (n=42,847) Circulation, 2006)
  • 58% of Type 2 diabetes is preventable by lifestyle modification (Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP); (New England Journal of Medicine, 2002)
  • Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer are all preventable through lifestyle practices (Preventing Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: A Common Agenda American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association, Circulation, 2004)

EBCDP is more effective than early medication for disease prevention.

  • Lifestyle (58%) was superior to early metformin (34%) for the prevention of diabetes (New England Journal of Medicine, 2002)
  • Lifestyle change is the only intervention proven to reverse coronary artery disease (Ornish et al., JAMA, 1998)
  • Early TZD class medications were ineffective in diabetes prevention (Knowler et al. Diabetes, 2005)

Few WA State health care providers are making EBCDP recommendations in practice.

  • Only 16% of adult respondents said they were advised by their doctor, nurse, or other health professional to eat fewer high fat or high cholesterol foods
  • Only 20% were advised to eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Only 23% were advised to be more physically active (The Burden of Heart Disease and Stroke in Washington State 2004; WA State Dept. of Health)

EBCDP programs are cost-effective.

  • Chronic diseases currently accounts for 12% of all health care expenditures (Hogan, Diabetes Care, 2003)
  • Preventive services are widely accepted as a cost-effective strategy to reduce disease. Research supported by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that health education and lifestyle modification reduce the negative impacts, including costs, associated with chronic disease (Research News. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality No 02-0018 April 2002)
  • A recent demonstration project implemented the Diabetes Prevention Program lifestyle intervention in adults age 50 and prevented 37% of expected cases of diabetes over 15 years at a cost of $1288 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Private insurer investments in this EBCDP program showed recovery of costs in the form of medical expenses avoided after three years implementation. (Ackermann et al., Diabetes Care, 2006)
  • A private payer could reimburse $655 (24%) of the $2,715 in total discounted intervention costs during the first 3 intervention years and still recover all of these costs in the form of medical costs avoided. If Medicare paid up to $2,136 in intervention costs over the 15-year period before participants reached age 65, it could recover those costs in the form of future medical costs avoided beginning at age 65 (Ackermann, Diabetes Care. 2006).
  • Additional cost analysis of the Diabetes Prevention Program in high-risk populations resulted in a cost of $1,100 per QALY for the lifestyle program versus $31,300 per QALY for early prescription drug therapy (Herman, WH. Annals International Med 2005).
  • A recent study aimed at getting sedentary Americans active compared lifestyle recommendation to a structured program in the gym.  Results were equal but the 24 months costs were $17.15 vs. $49.31 per participant per month. Lifestyle intervention was more cost-effective than the structured intervention for most outcomes measures. (Sevick et al. American Journal Preventative Med 2000)

Ignoring EBCDP is very costly.

  • Almost 60% of Washington adults are overweight or obese. Obesity is one of the primary factors in many health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. In one year alone, diabetes-related hospitalizations cost about $1.27 billion
  • Escalating costs of chronic disease nationwide despite higher priced treatments
  • Avoidable medical costs of amputation, blindness, dialysis, kidney transplantation, cardiovascular surgeries, and long-term hospitalization
  • Avoidable human costs of blindness, amputation, work-time losses, and depression


As the above facts detail, the adoption of a healthy lifestyle would go a long way towards saving Americans a lot of money in the long term. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Naumes today to discuss what changes you can make in your life to move towards optimal wellness.



DISCLAIMER: Dr. Kate Naumes holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a Certificate in Midwifery from Bastyr University. The state of Texas does not license Naturopathic Doctors. As such, she holds her license in California and acts in Texas as a wellness consultant, not as a physician.

Have you wondered whether Naturopathic Care is a good investment?

13 Sep

The Scientific Affairs Committee of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians compiled data and released the following paper earlier this year:

Naturopathic Medicine:
A Key Part to Healing the Nation’s Financial Health Care Crisis

Increasing levels of chronic disease including: diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, cancer and obesity, have created a multi-trillion dollar financial burden on the medical system. Naturopathic medicine may reduce the need for expensive conventional care by promoting health and decreasing the need for medical interventions over the long term.  Naturopathic doctors are primary care providers that treat acute and chronic conditions as well as address health promotion and disease prevention.

Naturopathic medicine costs less than conventional care.

  • Use of natural health products has the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce cost compared to conventional treatment by anywhere from 3.7- 73%. (1)
  • A 2006 University of Washington study found that in WA State, naturopathic care cost insurers $9.00 per enrollee vs. $686.00 for conventional care. (2)
  • Manual therapy cost less than primary care for neck pain and decreases recovery time, thereby also improving productivity. (3)
  • One year of a lifestyle intervention program (similar to that recommended by naturopathic physicians) for patients with coronary artery disease not only improved all health outcomes and reduced the need for surgery but also cost significantly less then conventional treatment ($7,000 vs $31,000 –$46,000). (4)
  • Naturopathic care, when used for reduction of cardiovascular risk factors (high blood pressure and cholesterol, for example) improved health and increased job productivity, and was determined to actually be a cost-saver for an employer. (5)
  • Naturopathic care used for chronic low back pain, not only cost less than a standard physical therapy regimen but also decreased absenteeism by up to 7 days in a worker’s year. (6)

Naturopathic medicine decreases the need for medical interventions by improving patient wellbeing, preventing disease and treating disease by improving health.

  • The naturopathic emphasis on prevention and health promotion saves lives and dollars. Lifestyle modification counseling prevented more cases of diabetes than drug treatment. (7)
  • It is estimated that if the current level of medical intervention continues the US will end up spending $9.5 trillion dollars over the next 30 years caring for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and congestive heart disease alone. By adding preventive strategies to improve patients’ health, total cost could be reduced approx. $904 billion or almost 10%. (8)
  • Although the initial cost of prevention and treatment using natural medicine is sometimes similar to conventional care the benefits gained by avoiding disease and their associated costs are invaluable and much preferred by patients. (9)
  • Patients who received intensive lifestyle modification and naturopathic therapy for type II diabetes improved all health scores (lipid levels, body fat percentage, etc.) and decreased medication requirements compared to those on standard therapy, in just one year. (10)

The use of naturopathic medicine decreases total medical expenditure.

  • Total expenditure on health care by insured complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) users is less than non-CAM users ($3,797 vs $4,153); this is an approximate $9.4 million saving for just 26,466 CAM-users (11)
  • Patients with the greatest disease burden, which tend to be the most expensive patients, show the most significant reduction in total medical expenditures when utilizing CAM.(12)
  • Naturopathic doctors are the bridge between alternative and conventional care and model true integrative care. Patients who receive care from an integrative primary care physician have reduced medical costs and need of medical intervention when compared to those receiving conventional primary care. (11)
  • Naturopathic care in Canada reduces the use of prescription medications by 53%. (13)
  • Reduction in drug prescriptions (61% less) and use of conventional medical care (55% less) are substantial among CAM users. (14)

References

  1. Kennedy, Deborah A. et al. Cost Effectiveness of Natural Health Products: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinical Trials. eCAM 2009; 6(3) 297-304 (5).
  2. Lafferty WE, et al. Insurance Coverage and Subsequent Utilization of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers. Am J Manag Care 2006; 12(7): 397-404 (7).
  3. Korthals-de Bos, Ingeborg B. C. Cost Effectiveness of Physiotherapy, Manual Therapy, and General Practitioner Care For Neck Pain: Economic Evaluation Alongside A Randomised Control Trial. BMJ 2005; 326: 911-917.
  4. Ornish, Dean. Avoiding Revascularization with Lifestyle Changes: The Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project. Am J Cardiol 1998;82:72T–76T.
  5. Seely D, Herman P. Presented at 2010 AANP Conference. Model Whole Practice Study Finds Naturopathic Care Effective, Cost Saving for Canadian Employer. Unpublished. http://theintegratorblog.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=682&Itemid=189
  6. Herman PM, Szczurko O, Cooley K, Mills EJ. Cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care for chronic low back pain. Altern Ther Health Med. 2008 Mar-Apr;14(2):32-9.
  7. Williamson DF. Primary prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus by lifestyle intervention: implications for health policy. Ann Intern Med 2004; 140(11):951-7.
  8. Kahn, Richard. The Impact of Prevention on Reducing the Burden of Cardiovascular Disease. Circulation 2008, 118:576-585.
  9. Woolf, Steeve.  A Closer Look at the Economic Argument for Disease Prevention. JAMA 2009; 301 (5) 356-3.
  10. Hernan WH. Costs associated with the primary prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the diabetes prevention program. Diabetes Care. 2003; 26(1):36-47.
  11. Lind, Bonnie K. et al: Comparison of Health Care Expenditures Among Insured Users and Nonusers of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Washington State: A Cost Minimization Analysis. J Alternative and Complementary Med 2010; 16: 411-417.
  12. Sarnat, Richard L.  et al. Clinical Utilization and Cost Outcomes From and Integrative Medicine Independent Physician Association: An Additional 3- Year Update. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2007; 30: 263-269.
  13. http://www.ccnm.edu/sites/ccnm/files/pdfs/news_events/press_releases/attitudes_towards.pdf
  14. Stewart D. Utilization, Patient Satisfaction, and Cost Implications of Acupuncture, Massage, and Naturopathic Medicine As Covered Health Benefits; A Comparison of Two Delivery Models. Alternative Therapies in Health & Med. 2001.

DISCLAIMER: Dr. Kate Naumes holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a Certificate in Midwifery from Bastyr University. The state of Texas does not license Naturopathic Doctors. As such, she holds her license in California and acts in Texas as a wellness consultant, not as a physician.