Increasing access to Naturopathic Medicine
By Lindsey Harding, ND
If you live in Washington, you've probably heard of Naturopathic Medicine. Washington law requires insurances to cover appointments with Naturopathic Physicians without discrimination. However, NDs are considered specialists in natural medicine. Despite this being an accurate description, it limits what insurance companies will cover, and by being labeled as a specialist, we are often out-of-network and some services are denied coverage.
I want to live and practice in a place where people receive the health care they need and desire, not what their insurance company dictates they should have. Why should you have to jump through hoops required by insurance companies to receive a diagnosis or get laboratory testing needed. It's more costly to you, as a patient, more time consuming, and often results in poorer quality care and longer recovery periods.
Naturopathic physicians and advocates are constantly trying to expand our reach in the community. As a member of the community, you too can help us achieve these goals.
Naturopathic Doctor vs Naturopath
If you or someone you know does not know the difference, it is important for the safety of the public to understand that there is a difference in education between these two titles, despite the fact that they are often used interchangeably.
Those who identify as "naturopaths" often have no or limited medical training, have not attended a medical school, taken standardized board exams, carry malpractice insurance, or are licensed by the state. This impacts your safety as a patient or potential patient. This is not a prevalent discrepancy in the state of Washington, but is in many other states. Education of the public is essential to ensure that individuals are seeing a doctor with the appropriate level of medical training for each patient's health.
To learn the difference, please visit the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges: