Advocacy to Promote and Protect Naturopathic Medicine

The WANP works tirelessly to promote and protect the practice of Naturopathic Medicine in Olympia so that you can maintain and increase your scope of practice, enjoy greater awareness of your profession, and get full and fair reimbursement for your work.

Below, we’ll keep this page updated with everything happening in our advocacy efforts. But first...

WANP's Legislative Priorities

  1. Receive a positive recommendation from the Washington State Department of Health on the Sunrise Review of our effort to expand naturopathic scope to better align with naturopathic medical training and responsibilities as legally designated Primary Care Physicians. (Read our applicant report HERE!)
  2. Achieve pay parity for Naturopathic Physicians.
  3. Monitor bills and testify on legislative efforts that would impact the practice of naturopathic medicine.

Here’s how you can Take Action Today to support our efforts:

Help Support WANP's Legislative Efforts!

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Why we need YOU to get politically active!

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3 Simple Steps to Becoming a Political Ally

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Everything you Need to Know About Scope Expansion

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Helping you help us! Here is your Legislative Action Toolkit!

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Learn more at our Pints & Politics events!

Why we need YOU to get politically active!

A core part of the mission of the WANP is to protect and expand naturopathic scope of practice to better meet the healthcare needs of our communities. As naturopathic training requirements, therapeutics, and complexity of illness advance with time, so must our scope! Naturopathic physicians have long played a prominent role in the primary care of their patients, and increasing numbers of naturopathic physicians are working in community health, tribal health, and rural clinics providing care to traditionally underserved populations. We believe that these doctors should be empowered to provide the full scope of primary care services their patients require (and that the state recognizes them to provide), and we are constantly working with our state legislature on their (and your!) behalf.

Any effective political effort requires extensive grassroots support, and that's where YOU come in! We need you to help us make sure that our legislators and other elected officials know who we are and why they should support our efforts! Politics is fundamentally about relationships. Just like you don't expect your patients to do what you recommend until you have established some rapport and trust, we cannot expect our elected officials to heed our calls if they don't even know who we are.

This page aims to help you learn how to be a wonderful political ally and advocate for naturopathic medicine. We are here to help! If you ever have questions or need additional information or support, let us know at info@wanp.org.

Support the WANP's Political Action Campaign (PAC) Fund

Our Political Action Campaign (PAC) funds help facilitate face to face meetings with our state's lawmakers. While campaign contributions are by no means required, they are the primary way our organization supports the legislators who work hard to support us. These funds can assist in opening doors for the WANP and they make our legislative work much easier. Our 2023 PAC fundraising goal is $15,000. Help us get there by making a contribution today!

3 Simple Steps to Becoming a Political Ally

 

  1. Learn what Legislative District(s) you live and work in.
    Use the Washington State Legislature's District Finder to enter the physical addresses for your home and work. Memorize this information! (Or jot it down in a note somewhere.)
  2. Learn who represents you in the Washington State Legislature.
    After you enter your address, the District Finder will show you a map of your legislative district as well as your state senator and representatives. Each name is hyperlinked and you can click on each one to learn more about your local elected officials - including ways to contact them and their legislative assistants, a link to their home pages, and the committees they serve on in their respective chamber. You will also be able to identify if your local legislator is a member of their caucus leadership and what role they play. Feel free to click on the hyperlinks to explore and learn more about the lawmakers who represent YOU!
  3. Contact your local legislator and introduce yourself!
    Use any of the methods of contact you just found to reach out to your local lawmaker and introduce yourself! Take this opportunity (now! do it right now!) to send an e-mail or leave a voice mail simply introducing yourself as a constituent. Tell them you are a naturopathic physician (or a patient or ally of naturopathic medicine). If you are in practice, tell them a little about your practice and what types of patients you see. If you are a patient or ally, tell them what naturopathic medicine has done for you or a loved one. Establish yourself as a subject matter expert and provide them with a way to contact you (ideally, personal cell or e-mail address) should they have any questions at all about naturopathic medicine. (See below for some language suggestions if you need some extra help!)

[Pro tip: ALWAYS cc your legislator's legislative assistant. Most likely, you will not hear back directly from your legislator, but rather from their LA. Be super nice and make friends with the LA as well as the legislator! You can find the full legislative roster, including LAs, HERE.]

That's it! You did it! You took the first steps in advancing naturopathic medicine in our state! Thank you for your efforts!

Everything you Need to Know About Scope Expansion

Why Support Naturopathic Scope Expansion?

The expansion of Naturopathic scope of practice enables naturopathic physicians to practice the comprehensive primary care they are trained and licensed to provide as primary care physicians. Increasing numbers of naturopathic physicians are working or seeking work in community and tribal health systems, providing primary care to diverse and traditionally underserved populations. Naturopathic doctors truly shine in these settings with their focus on prevention, lifestyle intervention, and whole person care. However, patients who seek out naturopathic primary care often come in on many pharmaceutical medications - some of which are not currently in naturopathic scope of practice. This leads to patients suffering because they need to maintain care with secondary providers to manage prescriptions that are routinely managed in the primary care setting. This duplication of care creates undue burden on the patient and the system, increasing costs (both to patients and to insurers/Medicaid) and often delaying necessary care. In worst case scenarios, patients must be referred to already-stressed emergency departments for care that could be easily provided by a primary care physician. The COVID-19 global pandemic highlighted the need for highly competent primary care providers, and naturopathic physicians can and should be allowed to help meet this need.

Scope Expansion and the 2024 Legislative Session

Expansion of naturopathic scope to better align with our training and recognition as primary care clinicians has been the top legislative goal of the WANP for over a decade, and we have filed bills in support of this goal every session since a favorable Sunrise Review was completed in 2014. (A Sunrise Review is the process through which the Washington State Department of Health makes a report and recommendation to the legislature on the expected impacts and safety of any health care profession legislation.) During the 2023 summer interim, we were given the unique opportunity to undergo a second Sunrise Review on our bill - filed as Senate Bill 5411 during the 2023 Legislative Session. This has enabled us to make a very clear and compelling case - complete with data, training comparisons, and references to statute - and accounting for the incredible changes that have taken place both in Washington and federally in the decade since our last Review.

The Sunrise Review process is incredibly thorough, and it takes the Department of Health many months to complete its report. Therefore, our work on SB 5411 will continue, but it may appear to be more "behind the scenes" during the 2024 Legislative Session. There will be several points (primarily before and after the 2024 Session) when we will ask our allies to get involved by submitting supportive comments on this effort. Beyond that, continuing your efforts to reach out to and build relationships with your personal elected officials and let them know why they should support us is the best thing you can do to help advance the naturopathic profession.

Make sure you are signed up to receive our advocacy alerts and keep an eye on your inbox and on this page to stay informed about our immediate calls to action and needs with respect to our scope expansion.

Pay Parity and the 2024 Legislative Session

The WANP continues to educate legislators about and to explore legislative strategy on advancing our bill that would require insurance companies to reimburse naturopathic physicians the same amount as our conventionally trained colleagues for the same services. We are closely monitoring similar efforts by nurse practitioners and physician assistants here in Washington and by naturopathic physicians in Oregon. We continue to recognize this as a top priority for our doctors and we are laying a foundation that we will build on until we make this a reality.

Outside of our efforts on our own priority bills, we constantly monitor and weigh in on bills that could impact naturopathic physicians in Washington State - during both Legislative Session and during interim.

Celebrating Past Wins

2023 Efforts: SB 5036 extends the time frame patients are allowed to establish care with a health care provider using audio + visual telemedicine in order to continue care through audio-only visits. SB 5242 prohibits insurance carriers from imposing cost sharing for abortion care. SB 5179 enables nurse practitioners and physician assistants to serve as one of the two "qualified medical providers" who can sign off on a Death with Dignity request. HB 1340 prohibits healthcare regulatory authorities from taking disciplinary action against a healthcare provider who provides abortion care or gender-affirming health care (within legal scope). HB 1357 attempts to improve the prior authorization process by establishing clear guidelines around communication and timelines. HB 1357 establishes an emergency medical reserve corps within the Department of Health. HB 1469, known as the Shield Law, establishes Washington State as a Safe Haven for abortion care and gender-affirming health care - allowing residents from other states to seek this care here in Washington without fear of prosecution either here or elsewhere. HB 1626 requires better coverage under medical assistance programs of noninvasive colorectal screening tests and coverage of colonoscopies ordered based on a positive screening test. HB 1745 requires the University of Washington, Washington State University, and any hospital or state agency that receives National Institutes of Health Funding for drug and medical device clinical trials to adopt a policy for recruiting members of underrepresented demographic groups to participate in clinical trials for drugs and medical devices. SB 5263 establishes an Advisory Board and an Interagency Work Group to provide advice and recommendations on developing a comprehensive regulatory framework for access to regulated psilocybin for Washington residents over 21 years of age. SB 5300 prohibits insurance carriers from changing the preferred formulary mid-coverage for any medications used for behavioral health conditions. SB 5581 aims to make pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum care more affordable in this state. SB 5729 helps keep the cost of insulin manageable for most patients.

2022 Efforts: HB 1821 defines "established relationships" for audio-only telemedicineHB 1866 recognizes access to housing a fundamental determinant of health and allows healthcare providers to prescribe housing for certain individuals. SB 5765 expanded the scope of practice for midwives.

2021 Efforts: SB 5124 created a new colon hydrotherapist certification process in Washington so that naturopathic physicians can continue referring patients for this therapy, with added reassurances about the training and safety of the colon hydrotherapist.  SB 5169 requires insurers to reimburse providers for the cost of PPE during the COVID-related state of emergency.  ESSB 5229 requires health equity training for all healthcare providers. SB 5246 increased the reimbursement for primary care services covered by Apple Health by 15%SSB 5325 requires reimbursement parity for audio-only telemedicine visits.

Helping you help us! Here is your Legislative Action Toolkit!

Advanced Political Allyship: Engaging in Legislative Session

It turns out it's fairly easy to keep track of what is happening in our state legislature during session - so long as you know where to look. The state keeps updated committee rosters, bill information, meeting schedules, agendas, and live streams or recordings posted on our legislature's official website. Below, we'll link to the pages we frequent during Session:

  • Homepage of the Washington State Legislature. During Session, this displays the full calendar for each day and provides links directly to legislative committees as well as bill information, rosters, and more.
  • Committee Schedules, Agendas, and Documents. This is where we go to check out which bills have been scheduled for a hearing in any particular committee. Of course, our focus is on the health care committees (Health Care & Wellness in the House or Health & Long Term Care in the Senate), but you can search any committee you're interested in. Simple include which chamber, which committee, and the dates you are interested in, and click "Search." Once in the desired committee, you can see meeting agendas, documents, or click on "View Video" to access the live stream or the recording.
  • Livestream and recordings. TVW provides access to any active livestreams of legislative hearings and to recordings of prior hearings. There's a lot to explore here if you're interested!
  • House Health Care & Wellness Committee. Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. These pages have all of the current members and staff of these committees of great importance to the WANP.
  • Bill information. This page has links to all kinds of ways to search and find what bills have been filed. You can see all bills that have been introduced, bills that have been voted out of committee, and activity reports. You can search for bills by topic, sponsor, or status. Once you click on a bill, you can see the bill's sponsors, note exactly where it is in the legislative process, access the original bill language and any amendments or substitutions, read any bill reports developed by legislative staff, access any relevant videos related to the bill, and comment on the bill.

There is a lot more information available, but this list should get you started to becoming a more informed ally and advocate for our profession. We hope you find it helpful!

Learn more at our Pints & Politics events!

Join the WANP's Legislative Affairs Committee and our lobbyist to receive up to the minute updates on our legislative efforts and progress. You can learn a lot about our political efforts, ask questions, and interact with your colleagues in these casual settings. (Sometimes we even have legislators join us!)

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Providing the resources, community, and advocacy that Washington’s Naturopathic Physicians need to thrive and grow.