May 2014 Edition

Feature Article
Laura Culberson Farr l Executive Director, OANP

OANP’s Laura Farr and AANP President Kasra Pournadeali, ND with Students
OANP and NCNM students hit Washington DC April 26-28 during AANP’s DC FLI (Federal Legislative Initiative) with one simple message – modernize the list of eligible providers in Medicare to include Naturopathic Physicians!
This marks the first time in naturopathic history that we have asked Congress to include NDs in Medicare. But the time is right and here’s why:

Benefits to patients

  • Providing continuity of care! With insurance companies now prohibited from discriminating against NDs and with more people turning to NDs for primary care, we are rapidly facing a problem where people will lose access to their doctor of choice when they turn 65 if Medicare is not modernized.
  • Enabling patients to see an ND who otherwise couldn’t afford to do so. A survey done by AANP showed that 75% of seniors prefer doctors who use natural therapies before prescribing drugs or surgery.
Saving money
  • Prevents future diseases and associated medical costs.
  • Fewer prescription drugs.
  • Fewer hospitalizations and unnecessary surgeries.
Benefits to health system
  • Will help address serious shortage of primary care physicians.
  • Will help re‐orient health system to wellness, prevention, and whole‐person care.
We had 127 participants attend DC FLI this year, and each of us visited at least 4 offices. In Oregon, we met with staffers in each congressional district except for Representative Bonamici’s.

Oregon’s Delegation Very Supportive!
In almost all of our meetings, Oregon’s delegation was extremely supportive of the concept of adding NDs to the list of eligible providers. Several even agreed to co-sponsor the bill once it is introduced! It’s a logical continuation of the work Oregon has done to include NDs in Medicaid, in Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes, in hospitals, urgent care centers and primary care clinics all around the state.

The Long Road To Come
But while many offices were supportive, the reality is that we are among dozens of professions asking to be added to the list of eligible providers in Medicare. And AANP is still working on finding a “lead sponsor” – the person who will actually introduce the bill and become the champion for moving it through the process.

This year’s DC FLI started the discussion and put us on the radar screen. AANP, OANP and all the participants who attended the FLI will continue to work through the year to build momentum to introduce a bill and prepare our delegation and co-sponsors for the inevitable push back that will come from the AMA.

As we’re beginning to see by inclusion in Medicaid and two new states licensing NDs in just the last year (CO & MD), resistance is futile!

News From the Executive Director
Laura Culberson Farr l Executive Director, OANP

In my new role as Co-Chair of the AANP’s State & Federal Affairs Committee, I was recently asked to submit a comprehensive review to NDNR of how the Affordable Care Act changes will affect naturopathic doctors. If you haven’t sat down to your copy of the NDNR, and are looking for a 360° view (or review), check this out!
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act across the country has been confusing at best, and in some states truly reminiscent of the wild wild west. With every lawyer, insurance company and government agency seeming to have different ideas on how to interpret various parts of the ACA, implementation of the law is proving to be bumpy for everyone, and NDs are no exception.
Not surprisingly, implementation of the Act is big news, and people ask me all the time – “So how will ObamaCare change life for NDs?”
The best way to respond is – “We know what should happen. But making sure it does happen is a little more tricky.”
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Community News
Brook Schales, ND, LMP | Physician Member Services Coordinator, OANP

Join us for the 2014 OANP Spring Pain Conference: Treating Pain Patients: Resources, Responsibilities, and Requirements on June 14th from 8AM - 5:15PM at NCNM in Portland, OR. Not sure if you need advanced training on pain patient management? Read the following and decide for yourself!
  • A Vancouver provider didn’t think he should pursue prescription drug monitoring because he “didn’t see those types of patients.” When he began to follow Washington guidelines, he began implementing random drug screening for patients on opioid therapy. The Urine Drug screening on an upper middle class woman in her mid 60’s who he had been seeing for over 20 years and was treating with Oxi for chronic pain came back negative for Oxi but positive for cocaine. When confronted, the patient admitted she was selling the Oxi he prescribed in order to buy cocaine, which she felt worked better for her pain.
  • In Florida, an elderly patient dies when her caregiver goes on vacation and the daughter stepped in to help her mother. Why? The caregiver had been diverting her medication to the streets and replacing them with Tylenol. As the patient continuously complained of her “prescriptions” not helping with her pain, her provider had continuously increased her dosages of pain narcotics, which the caregiver promptly diverted. When the daughter stepped in to help, she administered the high dosages as prescribed on the bottles, leading to accidental overdose.
  • In Portland Metro, the DEA investigated a physician’s practice for monitoring prescription medications. Without the proper documentation and agreements in place, the physician was held liable for abuse of prescription drugs. His medical license was revoked for life and he was forced to close his practice.

Register NOW

Brook Schales, ND, LMP | Physician Member Services Coordinator, OANP

Join us on June 24th, 2014 from 6:30-9PM for a presentation on Naturopathic Pharmaceutical Symptom Management in Integrative Oncology by Dr. Leah Sherman. The lecture is available via webinar or in-person at the Lloyd Center DoubleTree Hotel. As a special bonus, all in-person attendees will receive a free glass of wine, beer, or your choice of non-alcoholic beverage as well as special offers from our sponsors!

View More Information and Register

Venessa Madrigal, NCNM Student

To Latino/a NDs: I'm a third-year ND student at NCNM interested in connecting Latino NDs & MDs in the Portland area with Latino ND & MD students. I'm collaborating with the Latino Medical Student Association at OHSU and would like to arrange casual meet ups with doctors & students for next term (April through June). If you would like to participate in sharing your knowledge and insight about the profession, integrative medicine, and working as a Latino ND, please contact me, Venessa Madrigal at

Member & Supporter News

Mary Closson l Director of Membership & Development, OANP

OANP Members Receive 10% Discount on New Malpractice Insurance Introduced by Aegis Insurance Associates! Insurance Program Designed Exclusively for NDs!

Cap Specialty SM and Aegis have teamed up in an exclusive partnership to provide a new malpractice program for NDs, and is offering OANP Members a 10% discount on this competitively priced insurance to protect your practice!

Aegis Insurance Associates, LLC, a Scottsdale, Arizona based broker with nearly forty years of malpractice experience, has built a ground-up solution exclusively for NDs and their specific scope of practice and low-risk style of practice. Aegis has the authority to quote, bind, issue, and service ND policies. In addition, they serve as the initial contact in the event of a claim or any questions NDs may have regarding their coverage.

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Mary Closson l Director of Membership & Development, OANP

Seroyal®, an OANP Corporate Partner and a leader in natural medicine for nearly three decades, is excited to announce the launch of a one-of-a-kind website dedicated to Biotherapeutic Drainage® (BTD™), BTD™ is a process used my many health care practitioners and patients that gently removes toxins from the body.

“Until now, there have been very few resources committed to explaining the topic of drainage,” stated Yves Yau, President, Seroyal International. “With this new BTD™ website, our objective is to provide health care practitioners and their patients with information behind the philosophy of drainage, along with information about its use and benefits. It’s a great example of Seroyal’s on-going commitment to provide educational resources for practitioners and consumers and to improve overall health through the world of natural healing. ”

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Legislative News
Laura Culberson Farr l Executive Director, OANP

I’ve heard from many OANP members who report receiving very conflicting information from MODA on coverage of naturopathic doctors. On our Insurance Coverage webpage, we had reported that MODA representatives had indicated that NDs would be covered IN ALL PLANS if CPT code is same as a code the insurer covers for traditional providers.

But MODA customer service representatives continued to tell providers and consumers that NDs were either not covered, or covered under a limited “alternative benefit annual cap.”

Here’s the latest that we’ve heard from MODA representatives:
“Moda just had a meeting with regulatory and they will be implementing new info in their claims system to better reflect the coverages for ND's. Once everything is loaded properly they will be automatically re-billing anything from January 1st on that may have [erroneously] fallen under a $1000 cap, or no coverage at all. ND's or customers who have had claims denied…[should] see their claim automatically reprocessed…” – Oregon Insurance Broker
OANP is encouraging all NDs and patients who are still having problems with MODA claims processing to file complaints with the Oregon Insurance Division to keep the pressure on MODA to comply with the law. You can find a complete tutorial on filing complaints here.

OANP is tracking updates in the insurance market as the Insurance Commissioner investigates complaints you file about possible provider discrimination, and as we work individually with insurers to clarify their policies.

Bookmark this page and check back here often! Don’t assume that an insurance company’s own customer service departments are telling you the right answer. Be prepared to ask for a Supervisor if you are still getting customer service reps who tell you that “NDs are not covered” or only have limited coverage.

Jeff Clark, ND | OANP Board Director, Insurance Committee Chair

While we have some great examples of insurers coming into compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s Non-Discrimination Provision (Oregon Health Co-Op, PacificSource, Regence), there are also a lot of insurance plans out there that are either still trying to figure it out, don’t know about the law, or worse, are just refusing to comply.

Previously, OANP sent you a complete toolkit on how to file individual complaints to the insurance division, including a handout that you can share with patients to encourage them to file complaints.

But filing individual complaints on what might be dozens or even hundreds of violations is definitely too time intensive for most of us!

OANP’s New Tool For Filing Aggregate Complaints

In cooperation with the Oregon Insurance Division, OANP has created an AGGREGATE COMPLAINT SPREADSHEET to help you track each violation and upload multiple complaints at a single time to the Insurance Division.

On the Advocacy Tab of, you will find a link to access a brief webinar I created that contains an overview of the non-discrimination law, and a tutorial on how to use the spreadsheet to file aggregate complaints.

Because this is a tool created specifically by the OANP for Naturopathic Doctors, the aggregate data spreadsheet is password protected and currently available only to OANP members who must enter your username and password to access it. You can contact if you are not a member or not an ND for permission to access the spreadsheet tool.

We strongly encourage you to use this new tool to file complaints. Together we keep the pressure on the Oregon Insurance Division to keep putting pressure on insurance companies to come into compliance with the law!

Questions? We're here to serve you! Give us a call at 503-262-8586 or send us an email at

Continuing Education
& Community Events

Treating Pain Patients: Resources, Responsibility, and Requirements
Date: June 14, 2014
Location: Portland, OR

OANP June MedTalk ND on Integrative Oncology
Date: June 24, 2014
Location: Portland, OR

Traditional Roots Herbal Conference
Date: May 16-18
Location: Portland, OR

Rethinking Psychiatry: Healing Hearts, Minds, and Bodies
Date: May 16-17
Location: Portland, OR

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapies Lecture
Date: May 18
Location: Portland, OR

Psychopharmacology For the Naturopathic Physician
Date: June 5
Location: Portland, OR

The 3rd Annual 2014 ReVitalization Retreat
Date: Sept 11-14, 2014
Location: Sandy, OR

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Please visit our website at for more information about becoming a member of the OANP.

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Laura Culberson Farr
Executive Director

Brook Schales, ND, LMP
Physician Member Services Coordinator

Mary Closson
Director of Membership & Development