State Legislative Update
Jud Richland, MPH, AANP CEO
Many state associations are busily preparing for the 2013 state legislative session
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
by: Jud Richland, MPH, AANP CEO

Section: State and Federal Advocacy

On the most recent webinar of AANP’s State Legislative Alliance, six states reported on their plans for 2013.  While these reports represent only a fraction of the activity planned for 2013, they demonstrate the thoughtfulness and sophistication of state leaders.
In Pennsylvania, expect to see more than one bill introduced, including a title protection bill.  Gaining passage of a title protection bill is a strategy that has been used successfully by several other provider groups.  Most activity has historically occurred in the House; state leaders believe they are now beginning to gain support in the Senate. 
Maryland is working hard in its licensure efforts to overcome the strident opposition of the state medical society.  A physician from Johns Hopkins University has been assigned to help mediate differences between MDANP and the medical society.  Licensure may ultimately come under the oversight of the Maryland Board of Physicians.  Webinar participants reported that having non-NDs on the licensing board can often be advantageous and help build bridges to other medical specialties.  MDANP leaders have made the strategic decision to brand themselves as experts in natural medicine rather than as primary care physicians.
Democrats in Colorado have recently gained control of both the House and the Senate.  State leaders believe they now have a two-year window of opportunity to gain licensure.  They have decided to dedicate 2013 to building the foundation for a strong legislative push in 2014 and to build relationships with legislators and other advocates.  Colorado’s lobbyists recently traveled to Bastyr University to learn more about naturopathic medicine to better prepare a successful strategy. 
In Illinois, ILANP is hoping to capitalize on the accreditation of NUHS to give a boost to licensure efforts.  A bill has been introduced in the Senate with a broad scope of practice.  The association is considering working to amend the Illinois Medical Practice Act to add NDs to the list of enumerated providers alongside the chiropractors and others.  This would obviate the need for a stand-alone practice act.
TheCalifornia Naturopathic Doctors Association will be focusing, in 2013, on passage of sunset review legislation.  The association will continue to work toward establishing good relationships with other medical groups.  This will help lay the foundation for future scope expansion efforts regarding independent formularies.
In 2013, Vermont state association leaderswill focus on implementing two recently enacted laws.  The first law eliminated the formulary and gives NDs full prescribing rights, i.e., the right to prescribe anything NDs are trained to prescribe.  The second law allows NDs to serve as primary care physicians and the lead providers in medical homes.  There is much work to be done to successfully implement these two important laws.
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