January 2011: Things to Watch in the New Year

By Karen Howard, Executive Director

The Future for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

While the House of Representatives votes to repeal PPACA (the health insurance reform bill), implementation itself is in high gear. The Department of Health and Human Services is tasked with writing regulations, the Institute of Medicine is defining the basic medical benefit, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is defining universal terminology, and state boards have been established and are working feverishly to establish governance standards for the state exchanges (which may or may not survive court challenges). This is not the time to take your eye off this moving target – regardless of how you personally feel about the law itself.

Defining Integrative Health-Care Practitioner – What does it mean for NDs?

For the past three Congresses we’ve lobbied for language that recognizes the providers who treat the person and not just the disease. Defining an “integrative health care practitioner,” as referenced in the new health-care law, could result in a new category of provider and a transformation of the system itself. Click here to write the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Health-Care Insurance Reform – What Constitutes Prevention and Wellness?

The National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council (created by the new law) issued a draft report for comment. Click here to read the AANP’s response.

As part of our continued effort to support continued access to naturopathic medicine across the country, we are assimilating a ‘tool box’ for our state leaders that will provide links, documents and timelines for implementation. It will stand as the first step towards a robust dialogue we are creating that traverses state lines – all for the sake of ensuring people has the information needed to support the doctors in their states.

The FDA and Vitamin C

We’ve received many questions regarding FDA’s actions enforcement letter to McGuff Pharmaceuticals, dated 12/28/10. As naturopathic physicians, the availability of therapeutic injectables is an important component of patient care. Is the FDA on a quest to restrict access to intravenous Vitamin C? Only time will tell. In the meantime, the AANP is seeking scientific documentation to support continued access to therapeutic injections of all types. I encourage each of you to review the FDA letter yourselves.

Please know that the AANP will continue to monitor the potential impact this issue could have on your practice.