Yesterday, I had an opportunity to attend the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians’ annual conference. It was great timing as today, October 7th is the first day of the first ever federally-endorsed ‘Naturopathic Medicine Week’. The keynote speaker was Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, who, if you didn’t know his story, you might think would be an unlikely spokesperson for holistic medicine. By his own admission, back in 2004 he would have told you that anything outside of Western medicine, drugs and surgery, was ‘voodoo medicine’.
However, a series of extremely unfortunate events changed his life forever, and may well change the path of integrative medicine in America. It started with a horrific skiing accident and continued with his son contracting an extremely rare cancer. In both cases, he has seen the undeniable value of integrating holistic therapies for his family’s health. He has since become a staunch advocate of integrative approaches and modalities, including naturopathy, cranial sacral therapy and mindfulness and is now completely narcotic free. His son is the only person EVER to recover from his rare cancer.
Check out this video of him being interviewed by Ariana Huffington about his experience and how Aetna, their employees and their customers are benefitting.
Mark shared yesterday that not only was Aetna looking to “creatively destroy” health insurance as it is right now, but also working with powerful Washington insiders (including the “Gang of eight”) to look toward federal licensure of naturopathy. Currently, naturopaths can operate as primary care physicians in only 17 states, but Aetna sees the value of the cost savings for prevention of chronic disease.
“Where we are headed”, says Mark “as a nation and as countries with emerging middle classes, is towards true population health management.” This has prompted Aetna to redefine health as “health in the way of a lifestyle, leading to more highly productive individuals who are economically viable and therefore happy.”
This should be music to the ears of anyone interested in holistic medicine and this information, coupled with the aforementioned Naturopathic Medicine Week (and possibly the launch of Revive Primary Care!) is making it a great time to be involved in professionally delivered integrative medicine.
If you are a practitioner, please head over to our provider homepage and see if partnering with Revive be a good fit for your practice.
If you are a patient, join our mailing list and be kept abreast of our initial patient launch later this month.