The Naturopathic Medical Student Association, OANP, and NCNM sent over 20 naturopathic physicians and students to this year’s Federal Legislative Initiative (DC FLI) to lobby Congress with the AANP. This year’s “ask” is for funding a pilot project for cardiovascular disease prevention with Medicare patients, modeled off of a similar Medicare pilot on diabetes prevention done with the YMCA. Assuming such a pilot would demonstrate positive outcomes, it would be one of the first steps for eventually getting Medicare recognition of NDs. While taking Medicare may not be something that every ND wants to do, federal recognition of naturopathic doctors is the only way to level the playing field when it comes to insurance reimbursements, incentive payments for electronic medical records, loan repayment programs, graduate medical education (residency) funding, and so much more.
At this year’s DC FLI, naturopathic doctors and students attended 165 congressional meetings with congressmen/women and their legislative assistants, covering 32 states. I personally attended eight of these meetings and the responses were supportive and positive. These visits are invaluable at expanding awareness of naturopathic medicine at the levels of government where people can really make a difference. I am optimistic that the pilot project will move forward in the coming years!
The annual Whole Health Reception hosted by AANP on Capitol Hill immediately after the FLI was also well attended. Many NDs, ND students, legislators and legislative assistants from all over the country mingled and discussed health and preventative medicine. The work of AANP and the annual FLI in the years past have already resulted in positive changes, with movement being made in getting NDs recognized in the VA (last year’s “ask”), recognition of Naturopathic Medicine Week, and generally a higher level of understanding of the role that NDs play in the healthcare field as a whole.
For more information contact Mike Jawer, Government & Public Affairs Director for AANP, firstname.lastname@example.org