Despite a great deal of hyperbole in public discourse, few issues actually are “life-and-death” in their importance. Commitment of forces to military action is one issue that is, and so are access to medical services, provision of health care and the funding of both.
The importance of health care issues have come into focus because of various attempts to reform provision of health care services and its funding, and current debate about U.S. borrowing of billions to pay its bills has included attention to federal programs that provide such health care services.
How this relates to “alternative” health care may not at first seem clear, but “alternatives” or options for provision of health care services are under study as debate continues about the efficacy of the U.S. health care system, particularly as it relates to access to medical services and the cost of these services.
What is the context of the health of not only individuals but also of the communities in which they live? What is the appropriate role of a community, such as Murfreesboro, to provide a healthy environment for its residents?
While “alternative health” often has the connotation of addressing treatments that are outside of the mainstream and specifically the scientific approach to health and medical care, this has become only one aspect of the role of “alternative” health care.
The notion of mainstream and alternative approaches to health care as polar opposites fails to recognize the presence of “complementary,” “integrative” and “holistic” approaches to addressing health needs.
Whatever the approach, it cannot escape some fundamental questions: Does it work? Does it work safely? Does it work affordably?
The health care terrain continues to change rapidly in Murfreesboro and around the country as attention to preventative care and the social and cultural contexts of care increases. Also under review are the appropriate roles of health care providers and their respective roles in regard to each other.
This forum does not purport to have answers to all of these questions, but what it is trying to do is to provide a context for addressing these issues.
In the tradition of the “marketplace of ideas,” that should involve expression of viewpoints and disagreements with those viewpoints. The intent is not to promote any specific interest or viewpoint, but to provide information about a variety of viewpoints and allow examination of those viewpoints.
The questions of the forum are fairly fundamental: What options are available to individuals in a rapidly changing health care environment and what options should be available?