Physicians Who Listen Have Found Their Voice

A special message from AANP President Micheal Cronin, ND - This is the last article of my two-year presidency. The state of the AANP is strong and stable. AANP membership is up by nearly 20%. We have a talented CEO, a focused 2014 workplan, and a balanced budget with financial reserves. We have re-established 5 committees composed of dedicated AANP members that provides guidance to the Board. The Naturopathic profession in the US continues to grow and our potential for continuing strong, steady growth is excellent. Our challenge is having the bandwidth to manage all of our opportunities. In this short article I will briefly address a few of these.

In the U.S. the topic of conversation is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Section 2706 is a huge game changer for our profession and our patients that becomes effective January 2014. Section 2706 prohibits insurers from discriminating against licensed health care providers with respect to participation in insurance.

AANP has been working with state associations in licensed states to educate the state insurance commissioners so that they recognize that insurers must include naturopathic physicians. This has been a challenging process. As of January 2014 this effort takes a new shape as patients who are denied claims for ND medical care can challenge the denial to the insurance company and then the insurance commissioner. Patients who have been harmed by denials may have legal recourse supported by federal law. We have to be ready to support those patient reimbursement efforts.

We continue our focused efforts to license new states with the lessons learned from the success in Colorado. It is clear that these efforts need additional support in several ways. One is countering the daily misinformation put out by the medical societies. Having supportive MD's and DO's write letters and give testimony is one component. Other important issues are a strong ND team with a good lobbyist and staff support that prepares and distributes responses to the daily misinformation. I believe that we have resolved 2 uncomfortable facts in our legislative efforts: that progressive legislation is our best strategy which requires an initial licensing bill that may not have prescription privileges to be followed by full scope legislation and, secondly, that in some states grandfathering limited scope natural health practitioners is a price we must pay.

Globally there are many opportunities for exporting our medicine. The World Health Organization has a poor definition of naturopathy and training standards. In 2013 there was an international ND meeting in Paris. There is planning for a 2014 conference and formation of an “International Congress on Naturopathy” to apply for WHO recognition. This arena will require significant ND involvement in cooperation with AANP and Canadian guidance. Globalization has opened an opportunity for ND's to apply for recognition as a physician in some countries as a ‘foreign trained graduate”. The flexibility of “foreign trained graduates” needs to be investigated and have doors opened for our graduates. These policies allow countries to open to our graduates and embrace our medicine. The global arena will require effort and attention that our AANP budget is not adequate for.

When I ran for president of the AANP, I proposed the re-establishment of AANP committees to provide guidance to the Board of Directors and CEO. I am pleased that these committees are established and working to stay on top of many complex issues that the time limitations of AANP board meetings do not permit. The committee structure also develops our future AANP leaders. It has been an exciting two years with many positive changes in how the Association functions and in our key staff. We had a great conference in Colorado and we celebrate their legislative success.

I wish the best to Kasra Pournadeali, ND, who begins his term as AANP President in January and to the new board members, Stephanie Stark, ND, as HOD speaker, Jaquel Patterson, ND, and Darin Ingels, ND.

I would end by thanking all the AANP members for your commitment. I thank the members of the Board of Directors and my committee chairs and members for their dedication and great work. Thanks to Drs Joe Pizzorno, Michael Reece and Bruce Milliman as they complete their terms on the board. I'd thank those ND's serving in the House of Delegates. Thank you to our dedicated AANP staff. I would specifically thank Mandisa Jones for her work and for standing with us during our transition. I would thank Jud Richland, our CEO, for his excellent work, gentle guidance and leadership. My grateful thanks to my friends Drs. Rick Brinkman, Pamela Snider, John Weeks and Michelle Simon and my wife and life partner Dr. Kyle Cronin for the personal support.

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve our great effort.

Mike Cronin, ND

But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government.
~Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837