NDs Added to Loan Forgiveness Program in Oregon
The Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OANP) successfully lobbied the state’s House Health Care Committee to introduce and pass an amendment to add NDs to Oregon’s loan forgiveness program. The program is intended to partially compensate physicians who practice in rural communities by helping repay some of their medical school loans. Legislature introduced in February expanded the program to compensate participants up to $25,000 per year for serving 3-6 years in a qualified site. The bill also proposed expanding the program to include underserved urban communities in addition to rural communities, but maintained the existing definition of “physician” as MDs or DOs. Despite opposition from three conventional medical groups, the OANP amendment including NDs in the definition of “physician” passed both the Oregon House and Senate, and will be signed by the governor. This was only the first step in the process, according to Laura Farr, OANP executive director. She notes that the vote was merely a “policy victory” because the program is presently unfunded. Step two of the process will be to work with the 2011 legislature to allocate funding so that all professions included in the program will be able to manage their debt payments while working in rural and underserved communities.
The Colorado Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CoAND) is not introducing legislation this year, but is networking with allied health groups to build awareness of naturopathic medicine and forge bonds for future efforts.
In other CoAND news …The group continues to seek speakers on hydrotherapy, botanicals, homeopathy and autoimmune disease for its 3rd annual Nature Cure conference Oct. 22-24 at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, Colo. For more information on the conference, visit www.coloradond.org.
Naturopathic Pharmaceutical Course a Success NDs in British Columbia who complete BINM’s pharmaceutical upgrade course will gain prescription rights of up to 550 medications, according to Quinn Rivet, ND, director of continuing education at BINM. The first cohort session of the course was completed earlier this spring, and educated 80 attendees. Two more cohorts remain, for a total of 240 attendees. According to Rivet, the overall consensus from attendees is that the course is a great success. BINM’s continuing education department, in conjunction with the British Columbia Naturopathic Association, will endeavor to continue upgrades for pharmaceutical prescribing in years to come.