BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Students and faculty from Northwestern Health Sciences University united with natural health care practitioners on March 17, 2009, at the State Capitol in St. Paul, Minn. Approximately 600 students, chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and Oriental medicine practitioners were on hand to meet with legislators to make their voices heard on health care issues related to chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy.
The annual effort known as Capitol Day is organized by the Minnesota Chiropractic Association (MCA), in collaboration with the University. According to Charles Sawyer, DC, senior vice president at Northwestern, "Several proposed legislative items are related to the University's academic programs."
The objective this year included:
- Supporting legislation proposed by the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Association of Minnesota which would require insurance coverage and provider reimbursement for acupuncture treatments by a licensed acupuncturist;
- Lobbying for state-level licensure and regulation for massage therapists; and
- Opposing a budget cut suggested by Governor Tim Pawlenty that would eliminate chiropractic care, among other things, from services covered by Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare.
Northwestern graduates Matthew Caron, DC, and Martin Caron, DC, pointed out to state Sen. Richard Cohen, who represents District 64 in the Highland Park area of St. Paul, that the second most common reason people seek medical care is lower back pain. They explained to Cohen that eliminating chiropractic benefits would actually carry a higher price tag because individuals would then have to turn to more costly services such as emergency care. Dr. Sawyer also summarized for Cohen the objectives related to the massage and acupuncture legislation.
The senator expressed his appreciation for the visit saying, "The MCA does a great job of keeping me apprised of important issues."
Dr. Sawyer praised the success of the day. "This year was more effective and more impactful than previous years," he noted. "We had a great turnout."
Northwestern Health Sciences University offers a wide array of choices in natural health care education including chiropractic, Oriental medicine, acupuncture, therapeutic massage and human biology. The University has nearly 900 students on a 25-acre campus in Bloomington, Minnesota.