Happy 2021! Last year was an unprecedented and stressful time for so many, and CNPA is no exception. After making the decision to postpone our annual conference just as the pandemic began to sweep the nation, we found ourselves unsure of how to navigate “essential services,” insurance reimbursement, telemedicine laws, and other issues that had previously never been on our radar. I am so pleased to report that with the help of our Board, a handful of dedicated and helpful association members, our administrative team, and our lobbying firm, we have been able to provide ongoing support to naturopathic doctors throughout Connecticut and beyond. Our partnership with AANP proved invaluable as well, and guided our weekly updates on COVID testing, PPE, PPP, and legal matters.
A few members have shown interest in our legislative effort, and although we will not be headed into active lobbying this session--reduced session duration and a priority placed on COVID management makes this year’s session an unlikely time for us to find legislative success--I would like to share what our lobbying team has done for us this past year, and continues to do for our profession this session.
When organizations like ours are not actively lobbying for a bill to be raised, we pay our lobbyists “watchdog” fees. These fees ensure that our firm will be monitoring all legislation that could potentially affect naturopathic medicine in the state, and that they will advocate for us in the event of a negative impact of these bills. This year, our lobbying firm truly went above and beyond the “watchdog” role, as they oversaw all of our communications to our community, verifying that we were keeping to the letter of the law. They actively lobbied for naturopathic doctors to be included in the definition of “essential workers,” so that our community’s doors could remain open to serve the public during the worst of the lockdowns. They ensured that we were included in the insurance coverage of telemedicine services during this time, and that we were included in all extensions of coverage as well. They worked to rectify confusion regarding the licensing of new doctors who were unable to take the jurisprudence examination, so that new graduates and new residents of the state could become licensed and open their businesses in a timely manner. Lastly, they formed connections with new special interest organizations who are interested in including naturopathic medicine with their own legislative efforts, and are currently building a strategy for next year’s legislative session. Many thanks to Linda and the entire team at The Kowalski Group; we are so grateful for the impressive work you have done for us this year!
With all that said, we are gearing up for this year’s membership drive to compensate our lobbyists for their work and to continue providing support to our community. A handful of association members have already renewed their memberships for 2021--thank you so much for your continued support! I know how dramatically this pandemic has affected the financial picture for so many of us, and your trust in our association is truly valued. I welcome all who can to join us as members this year, so that we can continue ensuring the success of naturopathic medicine and the effective care of patients throughout Connecticut.
I hope to see you at the 2021 annual conference, and am looking forward to what’s ahead for us all this year!
Lindsey Wells, ND