There are a lot of questions about how the affordable healthcare act will affect individuals and healthcare providers. Though no band-aid approach to our current healthcare system will fix all of our problems, there are some potentially interesting aspects of the bill that may affect your ability to access “alternative” healthcare options, specifically naturopathic care.
In our clinic, we describe ourselves as providing conventional and integrative healthcare rather than alternative healthcare, because we are diagnosing and sometimes treating using the same methods as your general practice medical doctor: we order and evaluate lab work and diagnostic imaging (x-rays, MRI, CT); we prescribe both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical medicines (herbal and nutriceutical medicines); we partner with your other healthcare providers and we refer to specialists when needed. The word “alternative” comes into play because we have a different style of practice and many other treatment tools at our disposal. And the state of Oregon has recognized that we are appropriately trained to provide this care by licensing naturopathic physicians as primary care providers.
This hasn’t stopped insurance companies in Oregon from denying patients coverage for our services or from reimbursing naturopathic physicians at substandard rates. A clause in the Affordable Healthcare Act provides that there shall be no discrimination against state licensed providers, the effect of which, we hope, will be coverage to see a naturopathic physician for any insured person. To read more about the placement of naturopathic physicians and the effect of the Affordable Healthcare Act, click here for an article by Dr. David Schleich, President of the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. To learn more about how naturopathic medicine can help you or to schedule an appointment, please call 503-691-0901.