Alternative therapies to be covered?

Massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care – the three big alternative therapies. If Chanda Hinton Leichtle has anything to do with it, they will soon be covered by Medicaid. She’s on a mission to change what Medicaid covers in regards to alternative therapy.

The reason Chanda cares so much about alternative therapies is simple: They saved her life. As a C5-6 quadriplegic (injured when she was nine years old from a gunshot), she suffered from massive chronic pain which began two rear its ugly head when she turned 21. After losing a lot of weight because of being on so many narcotics to manage the pain (which weren’t working by the way), she finally discovered acupuncture, which was the only thing that really helped her.

Before her mission to change Medicaid, Chanda founded The Chanda Plan Foundation, her nonprofit organization that helps 20 people with spinal cord injuries each year pay for alternative therapies. This was a nonprofit she founded after discovering how unbelievably effective alternative therapies could be. But, like all nonprofits, she wanted to do more, but wasn’t able to because of financial limitations.

That is why she’s now working hard to change Medicaid, but it’s a long process. After approaching legislators in her home state of Colorado, they told her the best plan would be to get a 67-patient pilot program started in her home state to test her theory that alternative therapies can help save Medicaid money in the long run.

Acupuncture, for example, helped Chanda’s life so much that she’s off all other pain medicine. As a result, she’s now able to work full time. She agues that alternative therapies will get people working again and they will use less medicine and as a result have a higher quality of life, helping them live longer with minimal health issues.

The pilot program is currently in effect and is scheduled to continue until 2015. At that time, legislators will review the health history of the 67 patients in the program to see if the therapies had a positive effect on their health (you know they will!).

Interested in taking part? If you live in the Douglas, Arapahoe, Denver, Adams or Jefferson counties of Colorado and have a spinal cord injury, it’s not too late to sign-up. Visit the Progressive Health Center (where the therapies will be received) for more info @ www.progressivehealthcenter.org

Do you swear by alternative therapies? How have they helped you?

Pilot program offers hope for spinal injuries

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