John Leifer's commentary on alternative care (Oct. 10, p. 38) drives home the American public's need for something beyond traditional medicine.
Mr. Leifer notes that "not all hospitals or providers are locked into the narrow paradigm of traditional medicine." This is true in the osteopathic profession.
As fully licensed providers, doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s) practice medicine with a philosophical approach that appears to be at the heart of why "alternative" treatments are popular: an emphasis on the mind-body connection, or holistic care, and proven hands-on treatment. This treatment is known as osteopathic manipulative treatment and is offered only by D.O.s.
Nearly a century ago, D.O.s established osteopathic hospitals to create environments conducive to practicing osteopathic medicine. Today, D.O.s practice in the more than 140 osteopathic hospitals and healthcare systems as well as in allopathic hospitals. Most osteopathic hospitals offer osteopathic manipulative treatment in addition to a full array of other diagnostic and therapeutic services, such as magnetic resonance imaging, cardiac catheterization, etc. These institutions often are considered attractive partners in the world of managed care because of their osteopathic orientation.
Just as osteopathic physicians have been forerunners in primary-care medicine (more than 50% of D.O.s practice in primary care, compared with 15% of M.D.s), so have osteopathic hospitals been the forerunners of providing care Americans are calling for.