Redefining Health Care


Saturday night’s Supermoon in DC (click picture for a linked photo credit and more great shots)

With all the buzz around health care these days and no real answers, Americans are being forced to take a good look at all the options.  I believe that Naturopathic Medicine could be the solution to the Healthcare problems that we have today.  I would not have moved my family 3,000 miles if I did not believe in what I was doing.  If everyone was working with an ND, we would be a much healthier nation overall, and less focused on disease, more on prevention and cost effectiveness.

I’ll speak for myself in that I’m anxiously awaiting the verdict of the ACA trial: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida; and pray that some ounce of clarity comes out of it all.  My excitement around health care reform is heightened because there is a bill going through the NH Senate right now (!!) that, if passed, would require all NH insurance companies to cover naturopathic care.  Now, this does not mean that all NDs will contract with all insurances, but at least, NH residents who carry insurance and could not otherwise afford to pay out of pocket to see an ND, would gain access to Naturopathic Medicine.  This is huge, and for me, very exciting!  So many of my friends and family members would be able to experience the power of Naturopathic Medicine and as a result, start to experience heath (and life) at it’s fullest.  A big thank you to all the NH ND’s who have been working very hard on this for many years!

I wrote this on the plane heading from Seattle to Washington, DC (read night and day).  This is my second year attending DC FLI and although I tend to stay clear of politics, I love having the chance to spread the word about Naturopathic Medicine.  This medicine is my second love (my sweetheart my first bien sur) and I really believe that the more people who know about it the merrier.

Friday night’s moonrise over DC from the plane

When I get to DC, the contrast is always stark.  Seattle:  most people know what an ND is and generally speaking, most are hip to integrative medicine and use it regularly.  There is a yoga studio on every corner; organic food options in convenience stores; farmers markets everywhere; and Naturopathic Doctors function as primary care providers and accept insurance.  DC:  not so much.  Texting while running (seriously, though I won’t say I’ve never done it …); fast food on the way to work; and immense amounts of stress, naturally fall on the leaders of our country in such a competitive environment.  I have a lot of friends and family in DC, and I am so exited to see them and to get the chance to educate policy makers on The Hill about preventative medicine.  It lowers overall healthcare costs, including insurance premiums, increases QOL, and most of all:  IT WORKS!

I’m ready for anything this year.  Blank stares, rude comments, welcome arms … bring it on DC!  When I talk about Naturopathic Medicine with people, although there is no one typical response, usually: people have either 1) seen a naturopath, love it and have had it change their lives; 2) want to know if I have anything for (insert uncomfortable medical condition that they’ve been struggling with for years); or 3) they think that I am studying to become a homeopath or witch doctor.  (One of my family members when discussing my trip to DC, actually told me to pave the road for homeopathic health care.  I wish I were kidding.)

So, as you probably already know, there is a lot of discrepancy and misunderstanding around health care and the medical education of Naturopathic Doctors on all levels.

Let me revert to the current situation in the Granite State.  By allowing patients choice of primary care providers and specialists, whether it be NP, ND, MD or DO, they can make the decision to work with whomever best suits them.  Are you an 80 year old with CHF?  Or a mother of 4, looking for less stress around cold and flu season and more education about vaccinations and nutrition for all stages of life?  Both situations would be well suited for an ND, but with the first, a cardiologist need be on board, and with the second, I can think of many situations that would result in referral to a specialist (whether it be ND, MD, DO, NP).  NDs are experts in integrative medicine and are trained as Primary Care Providers to manage your health, and to refer and work with your specialists as necessary (many NDs also choose to work as specialists).  Maybe you have hypertension or high cholesterol and it could be treated naturally with diet, exercise and stress reduction techniques.  Maybe it’s out of the range to use natural therapies first.  NDs are trained to know when and where to implement natural therapies, when to use pharmaceuticals and when to refer.  And of course, how to work with other medical professionals and help you get off medications by diet and lifestyle counseling as well as natural substances as appropriate.  NDs shine when it comes to hard to treat conditions.

Crataegus laevigata, a botanical that works as a cardiovascular tonic and is indicated in CHF, atherosclerosis, hypertension and angina. It also tastes delicious when prepared right.

So, here I am happy as a clam spending time with my big sister, my niece and their entire family, who I don’t get to see more than once a year these days.  We spent some very fun evenings out in Old Town after my long days of training with 200 other NDs and ND students for Monday’s big day on the Hill.  As my Dad’s would be 80th Birthday approaches, I’m nostalgic knowing he once walked the streets of DC when he served on the PEC for the Carter administration.  I think he would be proud for speaking up for what I believe in and sure wish he was around to give me some advice.  I know he’s shining down on me this weekend and always and maybe even with me as I roam the same halls he once roamed.  Life is precious, cherish those you love.

Life is precious. My grandmother, family and friends when my Dad was only 36 years old and Democratic nominee for Governor. NH was a very red state then, he lost 48% to 52%, went on to marry my mom and have the five of us. ‘Life is short, things change, have fun.’