Thank you for your interest in natural medicine. Thank you for your belief in freedom of choice in health care and working creatively towards a solution to our national health care crisis. I believe, as you do, that the solution includes promoting WELLNESS and reducing our dependency on late-stage disease management, which is typically unconscionably expensive, as well as unpleasant for the patient. Here in Alaska we have some options for choice of health care providers but these choices are rudimentary and require updating and expansion.
Recent years have seen productive expansion in scopes of practice for dental hygienists (now able to provide basic dental care in the bush), optometrists (now able to provide basic medications for uncomplicated eye complaints) and advanced nurse practitioners (full access to pharmaceutical prescription). These professionals are now able to serve more widely, reducing redundancy in health care (the patient no longer needs to make another appointment to get the treatment they need) which ultimately not only saves dollars, but increases the likeliness that the patient actually gets the care they need. None of these legal expansions of professional scope of practice has harmed existing business. It has only helped to serve more Alaskans.
My cause is that of naturopathic physicians, recognized as primary care physicians by the US Department of Labor. We have comprehensive natural medicine and disease prevention training, but are not able to work as trained in Alaska because of outdated laws. Companion bills SB 70 and HB282 will hopefully work their way through session this winter. These bills would:
Substantially, there is no controversy involved in this bill: it makes good sense for several reasons. The only resistance is, unfortunately, a "turf" war perpetuated by a small group of politically motivated MDs and DOs, and this turf war is played out in a highly organized, well-funded manner. Nevertheless, Alaska remains critically short (as do all states) of primary care providers. This malady has galvanized the creation of a coalition of 33 million health care professionals with post-graduate training in the US today, including naturopathic physicians, who are not able to serve their patients to the full extent of their capabilities. This Coalition for Patient Rights recently published a survey delineating the economic, societal and health benefits of fully empowering legitimately trained health and wellness professionals. Many prevalent, hugely expensive diseases in the US today have been shown to be treated more effectively, and at a much lower cost, by non-MD/DO providers. Please find a few moments soon to write to the bill sponsors and thank them for their forward thinking in expanding access to all qualified health care providers in Alaska. Please tell them your personal story about how access to naturopathic physicians has improved your health, or that of your friends and family members. The hard-working, dedicated sponsors are:
Kindly copy me on your letters, and pass this request along to people you think would be interested enough to write to the legislators.
Here are several more references published in the past decade, about the enormous benefits of a healthy diet, giving patient populations access to wellness coaching, and the cost effectiveness of preventing diseases, especially the rampant and preventable ones such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and many cancers.
Thanks again for your much appreciated support!