The AANP Board recently approved a work plan for 2014 that includes AANP’s state and federal policy priorities. The challenging part of the priority setting process is sorting through the myriad policy issues that affect naturopathic medicine and determining which are most important to the profession and which are the ones where AANP can have the greatest impact. Our resources are finite, so we need to focus on those activities where we can get the most bang for the buck.
State licensure continues to be at the top of our priority list.
This puts us very much in sync with our members, according to our recent membership survey. Enactment of the Colorado law was a high point for the profession this year, but I can tell you that there are a number of other states that are making significant progress in their licensure battles. AANP continues to convene monthly webinars for state legislative leaders on a wide variety of state licensure strategy issues. Members use the webinars to share tips about strategies relating to lobbying, marketing, grassroots organizing, fundraising, etc. Our State Alliance also continues to meet in person twice per year to give state leaders coaching and support. Finally, our state legislative toolbox has grown to well over 100 documents and is now widely used by states looking for resources that can help them in their advocacy efforts.
Full implementation of the provider nondiscrimination provision (Section 2706) of the Affordable Care Act also continues to be a high priority.
AANP is a leader in advocating for enforcement of the ACA’s requirement that insurers include all types of licensed health care providers in their plans. Not only have we met with congressional and agency leaders at the federal level, but we convene frequent meetings and conference calls with state associations to share information and strategies. We’ve conducted a full court press in conjunction with our state associations to ensure that state insurance commissioners are familiar with Section 2706. We are now rallying the grassroots to urge state leaders to ensure the law is enforced. (If you’re in a licensed state, you may want to hang this flyer
in your office, which encourages your patients to make their voices heard by visiting AANP’s www.CoverMyND.org
.) With Section 2706 scheduled to become effective in less than three weeks, we are seeing progress, although more is needed. The largest health plan in the country for federal employees has now gone on record that it will reimburse for services delivered by all types of licensed health care providers. Other plans around the country are beginning to do the same. Our work on this important issue is indeed bearing fruit.
Inclusion in Medicare is perhaps the single most important gateway to eliminating other barriers to full ND participation in the health system...
Finally, the Board declared that inclusion of NDs in Medicare is a high priority for AANP.
Inclusion in Medicare is perhaps the single most important gateway to eliminating other barriers to full ND participation in the health system for those who wish to be fully integrated. According to our recent membership survey, 49% of respondents would participate in Medicare if they were eligible. We recognize that such a breakthrough is not likely to happen quickly given the political environment in the nation’s capital, but we are beginning to build our case and marshal our resources.
Beyond the above priorities, AANP will continue to be opportunistic in advancing policies favorable to NDs. For example, we have had many discussions with the Department of Veterans Affairs about including NDs in VA programs. Still, it’s important that we be clear on our priorities.
Advancing these policy issues is why it’s important for every ND in the country to be a member of AANP. Success in these areas is critical to the long-term health of naturopathic medicine, and, in order to succeed, the entire naturopathic medicine community needs to be pulling in the same direction.
Today’s naturopathic physicians owe an enormous debt of gratitude to those who came before and paved the way for success. I hope you will do everything you can to pave the way for future generations of naturopathic physicians.