July 2012: Legislative Gains in Licensed States Will Help All NDsBy Gene McGill, Director of State Government Relations
Over the past several months, several licensed states have had significant gains in legislation. New Hampshire added insurance coverage for naturopathic physicians; Vermont was able to have naturopathic physicians included in medical home legislation and “shall recognize naturopathic physicians who practice primary care to be primary care physicians” included in the bill. These gains are significant to our profession and impact other states and territories that are looking for direction when considering licensure, scope expansion, or insurance coverage.
Take for example Puerto Rico — there is currently legislation pending that mirrors the New Hampshire bill for insurance coverage. The bill has passed both the house and senate and awaits the governor’s signature. There is still time to help with this effort. The Puerto Rico association is looking for any willing NDs to write the governor in support of this legislation. If you can help, please contact the AANP for details.
Massachusetts, the NH and VT neighbor, has a licensure bill that in the last week was attached with a favorable report by the Joint Committee of SB 1158. Everyone in Massachusetts is encouraged to get involved with this push for licensure. Click here for more information on how to support their legislative efforts. The session will end shortly so your participation is critical.
States continue to look to other states for success stories. In Massachusett,s the legislature only has to look north or south for licensed NDs providing quality health care. With medical homes in VT and insurance coverage in NH, their decision should be obvious. Legislators in Puerto Rico asked, “What other states include insurance coverage for NDs?" It has been incredibly valuable to point to the success in NH as an example of how insurance coverage is being addressed.
Always keep in mind these small steps, and others, are making a huge difference for the naturopathic profession.