In this weeks episode we talk with Mike Jawer, the federal legislative and government affairs director for the AANP, about the DC FLI. If you’re not sure what the DC FLI is don’t worry, we’ll answer that question for you. Already know what it is? Cool, we talk about how things went this year including our ask to be included in medicare.
Press play to learn more about:
- What the DC FLI is
- Why your participation matters
- How it works
- What it costs
- Progress that has been made
- Our asks from 2014 including inclusion in medicare
The DC FLI is short for DC Federal Legislative Initiative. It’s a yearly event to increase awareness of naturopathic medicine in Washington, DC and work for the interests of naturopathic medicine on the federal level.
The way this takes shape is that one weekend, usually this has been in April sometime, students and practitioners meet for a conference where there is training and speakers on Saturday and Sunday. Monday is lobby day. On Sunday you are given a packet with the senators and congressmen you’ll meet with on Monday. It’s usually their healthcare aids that you meet with, but occasionally the senator or congressman will be part of the meeting. We have an ask or asks every year which we tell them about. This is how the political process works. Last year our ask was for the passage of national naturopathic medicine awareness week and the resolution passed. As Mike talks about in the podcast, without all of the meetings that the DC FLI attendees had on that Monday the resolution wouldn’t have passed. The awareness week was a one time thing, so our ask this year was for it to be passed again. Another ask we had was to be included in medicare. This is a big ask, but at the same time not so big. If patients could see naturopathic doctors who are trained in preventive medicine than it could save the system overall lots of money. The majority of chronic disease is preventable and naturopathic physicians are trained in how to support the patient to implement those things that prevent illness (diet and lifestyle).
If having a conversation with a congressmen or their aid sounds intimidating that’s normal, but in my experience the meetings have been mostly positive. I’ve been to the DC FLI 3 out of the last 4 years and there was only one visit where the person I met with didn’t seem to have any interest. Healthcare costs are out of control in this country and when the congressmen or their aid sits and talks with a trained professional that has a solution to these costs (by preventing the disease in the first place) you’ll have their ear. They have likely heard of naturopathic medicine before and their job is to represent you.
From my own personal experience the weekend is incredibly fulfilling. You have a chance to meet colleagues from other schools and practitioners that have made the trip to lobby. We are always well received and it seems that every year our message is being heard more clearly and we’re growing. We had a couple congressmen speak at the Monday evening reception and that was the first time that has happened. If you’re on the fence about going, do it. If it’s not for you than that’s OK, but at least you tried and you helped further the cause of naturopathic medicine. If you’re not directly involved in naturopathic medicine you can help support the lobbying effort by donating to the naturopathic medical school of your choice. Every year students from all of the school fundraise, to help pay for the cost of the trip.
Here’s a link to Mike’s summary of 2014 on the AANP website.