Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Game is On

Michael Cronin, ND
AANP President

We are in for big changes in the US healthcare system with the re-election of President Obama and the successful review by the supreme court of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

From the original ED to the excited new CEO
in AANP's new office - Let's go! 
The AANP and Jud Richland, our CEO, are ready to engage. The AANP office has moved into a more effective workspace three blocks from the White House. Our State and Federal Affairs, Public Education and Media Outreach, and Scientific Affairs Committees have been very productive in giving advice to the 2013 workplan to optimize our efforts in achieving our common goals. The Board of Directors has now approved the AANP 2013 strategic plan.

The 2013 strategic plan has three main focuses:

  1. Public Education and Media Outreach
  2. State Licensure
  3. ND inclusion in the healthcare system using the language of the ACA

Public Education and Media Outreach
Physicians who listen will continue to find their voices in the New Year. AANP is focused on using media to drive new patients to our members. AANP plans to bring on a media specialist who will work with naturopathic experts to increase the amount of positive media attention naturopathic physicians receive. The raised awareness of naturopathic medicine will ultimately drive traffic to our Find an ND. We will continue to improve our online patient educational tools, for example the downloadable article through Natural Health Insights. Have you visited from your mobile phone recently? The mobile landing page directs patients straight to the find-a-doctor search tool.

State Licensure
AANP will bring a renewed focus, increased energy, and more resources to this arena in 2013. The leadership of the State and Federal Affairs Committee is dedicated to better coordination and support for states. The State Alliance is where this work occurs. I encourage you to watch the video on our release of the state legislative toolbox, and invite you to participate in the monthly webinars. The toolbox provides a variety of resources to support the states. One example tool is safety and effectiveness data on the naturopathic profession in licensed states. The webinars will help attendees how to best utilize this data in state licensure efforts. Other examples include AANP and the colleges teaming up to provide expert testimony to legislators and ideas on how to engage the voice of your patients and the support of our conventional colleagues to gain licensure in more states.

Affordable Care Act
This law affects every facet of healthcare and the 6 sections that include “licensed CAM providers” open many possibilities for inclusion of ND’s in a wide variety of programs. These opportunities will require us to fight for inclusion in every state and require us to establish a precedent early in the game. The inclusion of NDs is vital to continuing our momentum. AANP is honored to have engaged the services of Deborah Senn as our federal lobbyist. She is engaged on this issue nationwide and has the commitment, connections, and experience to optimize our efforts. We are focused on enabling NDs to participate in the best of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act health plans, provide the preventive medicine services outlined by the ACA with no out-of-pocket cost for the patient, and have access to new employment opportunities.

I would like to ask all AANP members to join and get active in your state associations. If your AANP or state association membership has expired, please renew it and get involved so that we all have the resources we need to be successful.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Staying in the Country

By Jaclyn Chasse, ND
2013 AANP Board Member

We’ve just come off of a busy time. I live in NH, a swing state, so we had been inundated with political ads, mostly negative ads slinging mud at the other side.  I was looking forward to the negativity ending, but it seems that since President Obama’s re-election, there is still a palpable tension among Americans. There is frustration, disappointment, and anger among Romney supporters. Meanwhile, there is a large proportion of Democrats who are filled with relief, gratitude, and excitement at what’s in store in America’s near future. I don’t want to get too much into politics, but I bring this up because I also hear one question which I greatly appreciate—the quiet voice asking, “We are where we are. Now, how are we going to move forward?”

I think this question represents our times, and it is one of the great challenges of being alive, being in relationship. In the naturopathic community, we actively embrace the commonalities between us—our love of patient relationship, our respect for the whole person, for individualized medicine, and our undying curiosity in figuring out the human body. However, we also are challenged by our different perspectives. Should we try to integrate more into the current medical model or should pharmaceuticals or hydrotherapy dominate a patient’s treatment plan?

I am so excited to join the AANP Board of Directors, and come to it with that quiet voice asking, “How are we going to move forward?” I was so pleased to attend my first AANP board meeting and see that question resonate with the members of the board. I can share with you that although there are differing opinions among board members, communication happens in a respectful, thoughtful, and productive way. The way I wish it could happen on a larger, national level within our legislative houses. Dissenting opinions, delivered respectfully.  I feel so grateful to be a part of such a thoughtful group. I also feel grateful that the future of the AANP is in their hands. I am confident that the diversity of members’ ideas and ideals will be represented there, and that the Board will continue to move the association in a direction that meets the needs of the members it serves.

Since the election, I’ve seen Facebook posts of acquaintances’ saying, “Forget it, I’m leaving the country.” That’s not what we need. If you have not been wholly satisfied with the work of the AANP, you shouldn’t “leave the country” either. We need your voice and for you to provide feedback through the member survey, and to connect with a board member to share your ideas, share your solutions, and share your time to make the organization and our profession better. In joining the Board, I am choosing to have an open-door policy. Please share your thoughts and most importantly, your ideas, to make this the best organization it can be.