From the Executive Director: Fall 2013 Overview

Welcome to our Fall 2013 issue of Vital News. Each change of season seems to provide the opportunity for pause as we transition through the year. This is especially true for me in the fall – the traditional time to celebrate the Harvest and, of course, Thanksgiving. So before reviewing some of the topics in this issue, I’d like to share some appreciations related to the WANP.

Specifically, I’d like to share my gratitude for the following:

Thank you to the WANP Board of Directors for the time they volunteer to govern and guide our association – and for the opportunity they give me to serve in this role as executive director. They are: Drs. Mona Fahoum, Ralph Capone, Laura Flanagan, Joanna Forwell, Adam Geiger, Amy Hobson, Sabrina Kimball, Nicole Maxwell, Bizzy Riley, Nina Walsh, and student representative Lisa Yang.

Special thanks to Dr. Fahoum, who serves as WANP President and Communications Committee Chair; Dr. Geiger, Governmental Affairs Chair; and Dr. Wells, Continuing Education Chair. Our accomplishments in these areas are the result of their individual dedication and extraordinary commitment on behalf of our profession.

Thank you to our members – now over 300 strong and growing! You supply the fuel that makes our work possible to ‘promote and protect naturopathic medicine’ throughout Washington.

Many thanks to our lobbyist, Terry Kohl. Without Terry, our ability to navigate in the world of legislation and bureaucracy would be far less effective.

Thank you to our sponsors! Please see their ads and logos in this issue (with one click you can visit them!)

Special thanks to Bastyr University, a Gold sponsor via Dr. Jane Guiltinan’s Department of Naturopathic Medicine, and also our partner in producing CE conferences via Sue Russell and her team in the Certificate, Community and Continuing Education Department.

While it may not exactly take ‘a village’ to run the WANP, there are certainly a lot of people involved and it is essential that we take a moment at least once a year to recognize their continued dedication. Please consider adding your own thanks to any of the individuals mentioned above at your next opportunity!  And, thank you to you as well for your interest in reading our newsletter!

Below are some highlights from our 2013 Harvest. Hopefully, most of this will be ‘old news’ for you already:

NDs are now eligible to apply for Medicaid. This occurred through inclusion in the budget passed by our state legislature at the end of their session last spring. While not all of our doctors will choose to participate in the Medicaid system directly, the opening of this door to NDs is very significant and realizes aspirations that our profession has had for many years. Not only does this facilitate direct patient care to a new population of Washingtonians, it also enables community clinics to hire NDs and get reimbursed for their services. In addition, Medicaid inclusion brings recognition in Washington State that strengthens naturopathic medicine in the rapidly evolving system, now being shaped by health care reform.

We don’t yet know all the details about what it will take to enroll and participate in the Medicaid system, but with help from Dr. Stacy Bowker, we’ve got a starting place for those of you who are interested in this issue.

The WANP has two new websites: WANP.org for our membership management and related issues, and FindaNaturalDoctor.com, the new public search directory. Both of these have been in the works for quite a while, and we’re quite pleased with the final result. One of the features of our public search directory is that, unlike other commercial directories, you’ll find no advertisements and no distractions for the public. This is dedicated entirely to helping prospective patients find our doctors. Once enough of our member profiles are complete, the WANP Communications Committee will be focusing public outreach and marketing efforts to promote the Find a Natural Doctor site.

If you are a WANP member, please complete your profile as soon as possible – and include a photo of yourself! Pictures convey so much more than words and have become standard in professional search engines. If you are not a member of the WANP, please consider joining! Not only will you support the legislative and outreach work that our association does for the whole profession, but you also will get your own profile on Find a Natural Doctor – a real plus for your practice!

Legislatively, the WANP Governmental Affairs committee under the chairmanship of Dr. Adam Geiger is gearing up for the coming legislative session. For a variety of reasons, we are not planning to offer specific legislation at this time, but we are very involved in policy-making procedures with the goal of further strengthening inclusion of NDs in third party reimbursement and, ultimately, reimbursement parity. Anyone interested in assisting this process is welcome join the Governmental Affairs committee!

Other highlights in this issue include:

– An update on HIPAA requirements by Amy King of The CHP Group, one of the WANP sponsors.

– A Guest Commentary by WANP member Dr. Chris Cotner on the addition of controlled substances to the naturopathic prescriptive scope.

– An article from Chris Baumgartner at the Washington Department of Health on the Prescription Monitoring Program and the value this brings to clinicians tracking controlled substance prescriptions and potential abuse of the same by their patients.

– The third article of a three-part series by Dr. Joie Meissner on healthcare reform – single payer health insurance in particular – and its potential impact on naturopathic medicine.

– An early look at an exciting abstract of a yet-to-be published article by Dr. Dean Ornish, submitted by Dr. Davis Lamson on groundbreaking evidence affirming the power of dietary and lifestyle interventions on aging.

– Oh, and don’t forget to visit the Classifieds page!

Due to the launch of our new websites, this issue is coming out a bit late. As new web launches go, ours was extremely smooth – however not without bumps and the unexpected time requirements for learning a new system, correcting minor issues and such. Overall, I hope you enjoy this issue – and that you’ll not only visit our new websites, but consider submitting an article or letter of your own for the next issue – due out in January.

In health,

Bob May

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