October State Affairs Update Plus a Report on Supplements and Health Care Costs
Mike Jawer
Vermont Wins Full Prescribing Rights While Alaska Suffers Setback
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
by: Mike Jawer

Section: State and Federal Advocacy

Success in Vermont!
NDs in Vermont have won a major battle – the ability to prescribe medications based on their scope of practice rather than a defined formulary.  The change comes after years of work, and over opposition by the Vermont Medical Society.  Strong support came from legislators (including an important committee chair) and, crucially, from Health Commissioner Harry Chen.  Under the plan that was approved, NDs who wish to prescribe will have to pass a pharmacological exam, and their first 100 prescriptions must be reviewed by another physician with an unlimited prescription license.

Congratulations to the VANP, and in particular to Drs. Gabriel Archdeacon (Legislative Committee Chair), Bernie Noe, Michael Stadtmauer, Bill Warnock, Sam Russo, and Lorilee Schoenbeck.  NDs in Vermont will now join with their peers in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona in having expansive prescribing rights.

Difficulties in Alaska
Changes recently enacted by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development prohibit naturopathic doctors from writing any prescription, even for natural substances such as injectible vitamins.  The Alaska State Medical Society is behind the rule, which was implemented despite the absence of any malpractice suits against Alaskan NDs since licensing was obtained in 1986.

The Alaska Association of Naturopathic Physicians is working hard to remedy this major obstacle to practice in the state.  Dr. Dan Young quotes John Bastyr: “No matter what legal barriers they try to erect, those in need will always seek us out, for our medicine is often the only hope they have.”

Report: Supplement Usage Reduces Health Care Costs
A new study indicates that nutritional supplements not only provide health benefits but significantly reduce health care costs because they help prevent illnesses that require medical treatment.  The study, conducted by the research firm Frost & Sullivan and issued by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), analyzed the cost-benefit ratio for 8 regimens of supplement use, such as for diabetes, osteoporosis, age-related eye disease, and coronary heart disease.  The results suggest that supplements taken at “preventive intake levels” by patients who are at high risk for these illnesses could save hundreds of millions of dollars.

Steve Mister, president of the CRN, points out that, while 75% of health care dollars in the US are spent on preventable chronic illnesses, just 3% goes to prevention itself.  More information about the report – which systematically reviewed hundreds of relevant studies – can be found here.
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