Health Care Reform

I believe that we must change how we manage our health in the United States. Health care costs are higher in the United States than in any other industrialized nation, whether measured in total dollars spent, or as a percentage of the total economy, or on a per capita basis. Worse still, they have been rising faster than the overall economy or personal incomes for more than forty years! The big question is, of course, how to "fix" a system which is clearly "broken".

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Vermont Act No. 96: An Act Relating to Naturopathic Physicians

The Vermont Legislature, much to the chagrin of an unknown number of conventional health care providers, is one of the few state legislatures that understands the role that naturopathic medicine can play in addressing how to manage health care costs in the state more effectively. They passed legislation in 2007 that allowed us to practice as primary care providers in Vermont and, more recently, to serve as a patient-centered medical home, either within or outside of the Vermont Blueprint.

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Financial Incentives

There is an old saying (and I don't know where it came from) that "it's not easy to teach an old dog new tricks", and apparently this is true for health care reform. The industry's answer to this problem is to offer financial incentives to physicians to make desired changes in how they practice medicine and manage their practices. For example, did you know that a medical practice can get up to 44K if they replace a paper medical record system with an electronic one? Of course, this doesn't apply to naturopathic practices. We aren't eligible to receive the incentives, even if we use an electronic medical record system! But that is another story. This discussion is about financial incentives for practicing medicine according to certain standards.

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Coming later in 2013.  We're knee-deep in our certification process to become an Advanced Primary Care Practice in the Vermont Blueprint for Health!  Thanks for your patience.


Executive Director's Blog

My reflections are personal opinions and perspectives. They are offered as points of departure for further exploration and dialogue among readers and people in the communities where they live and work.

Social reform is never easy; institutional transformation on the magnitude that is currently underway in the United States has probably not been seen since the creation of Social Security in 1935. We need to be patient with ourselves and our governments, both at state and federal levels, as they attempt to navigate us through and out of the quagmire of an unsustainable health care system.

Reform of our health care system will not be easy; many of us will be disappointed in various ways. It is important to remember that providing equal access to adequate and affordable health care for millions of people is a complicated task, and one that has no simple solution.  

Dr. Ani Hawkinson ND