468 = the number of days until January 1, 2014
2706 = the section of the Affordable Care Act that dictates health insurers are not permitted to discriminate against licensed health care providers
33,000,000 = number of people expected to obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act
What does all this mean for NDs and AANP?
I am very honored to be serving as Interim Executive Director (ED) at AANP for a few months. The Search Committee is working very hard to find a new executive director, and current plans are for that person to be hired and on board in a permanent status by late spring/early summer.
“The Arizona Biltmore awaits.” For many of you, I know you don’t need me to say anything more. I would simply ask that you make sure your colleagues know what that means!
One of the privileges of being part of the AANP leadership is that I am in frequent contact with other leading naturopathic organizations. This provides a valuable vantage point to see how the naturopathic medicine community is moving ahead on many fronts.
Two of AANPâ€™s most important policy initiatives aim to give NDs the opportunity to participate in health insurance if they so desire. One initiative strives to ensure full implementation of the Affordable Care Act provision that prohibits insurers from discriminating against licensed health care professions. The second, newer initiative aims to enable NDs to participate in Medicare.
One common lament among the many naturopathic medicine organizations is that there are never enough resources to do all that we want. Exacerbating that is that we all have so many things to do that itâ€™s hard to make time to look for those needed resources.
The White House last week issued its response to the naturopathic community’s petition to include naturopathic physicians in the Affordable Care Act. Many people who have read the response have asked me what it means, especially with respect to naturopathic physicians’ participation in health insurance. Those are good questions. With all the political infighting surrounding the Affordable Care Act, the White House decided that not taking a crystal clear stand one way or another was the safe way to go. That’s not to say there isn’t value in the White House’s response, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
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.
I recently had the pleasure of traveling to three of our leading naturopathic medical schools: Bastyr University, NCNM, and SCNM. I do not think it is possible to come away from such a trip without having the highest hopes and expectations for the future of naturopathic medicine.
Let's savor Naturopathic Medicine Week 2013. At the same time, it's not too soon to begin thinking about how you'll celebrate Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014. That's right, mark your calendar for Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014, October 6-12. I cannot wait to celebrate the successes we will achieve between now and then.
This month legislation was enacted in Colorado allowing NDs to practice legally in the state. This was also the culmination of a lot of hard work. In fact, the fight for legislation in Colorado has been going on since before my children were born. That helped put things in perspective for me.
Your patients feel a sense of renewal when you help them address their most pressing health problems. Where does your sense of renewal come from? There is no better place than the DC FLI and the AANP annual conference to reconnect with your fellow NDs, to reaffirm your commitment to naturopathic medicine, and to reenergize your spirit.
At its October 2012 meeting, the AANP Board of Directors took significant steps in defining the essence of AANP and in establishing the framework by which AANP's success will ultimately be judged. The Board adopted a set of overarching goals and strategic objectives for the organization. These are related to AANP members, people, the naturopathic profession, the health care system, and global health.
Finally I can start answering the phone again. It turns out that living in a swing state - Virginia in my case - makes you very popular around election time, so popular in fact that my phone was ringing non-stop and someone was always knocking on my door telling me who I needed to vote for. Regardless of who you supported in the election, there is little doubt that the results will affect the delivery of health care in our country. With President Obama's victory, the possibility that we will see a repeal of the health care reform law has disappeared.
The first step in increasing public awareness about naturopathic medicine is understanding why current patients seek out NDs and how to reach those who have yet to find their way to an ND.