As the Vice-President of ANA-Vermont | Nursing Network, Board of Trustees, and Chair of the Government Affairs Committee, I am honored to take a leading role in helping Vermont nurses advocate for much needed and positive changes!
This year, one of the bills I am rallying ANA-VT to supports is one that’s dear to my heart:
Introduced by Representative James McCullough of Williston, H.24 is an act relating to coverage for complementary and alternative health care services.
As introduced, the bill’s statement of purpose reads: “This bill proposes to require health insurance plans, including Medicaid, to provide coverage for all health care services, including complementary and alternative treatments, if at least two studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals find such services to be safe, to be directly related to statistically significant improvements in individuals’ health status, and to reduce associated medical costs.”
For many years, I worked with a very special population: pregnant and parenting families struggling with opioid and multi substance use disorders, and confounded by mental health complexities. I also dealt with neonatal abstinence - aka newborn withdrawal due to in utero exposure to addictive pharmaceuticals. I adored these patients, and they are people who need so much love and support.
We are not educating, empowering or supporting patients by continuing to push pharmaceuticals on them over alternative and natural options.
I watched as financial constraints dictated all their decisions for themselves and their families. Multiple pharmaceutical prescriptions are affordable for these patients, but it’s rarely affordable to add alternative and complementary medicine, such as supplements and vitamins, which cost far more than the $1-30 co-pay someone would be charged for opioids.
So I have to ask what are we offering and teaching our patients? What are we modeling? We are not educating, empowering or supporting patients by continuing to push pharmaceuticals on them over alternative and natural options. In fact, it’s likely we’re exacerbating their problems, rather than preventing issues from the start, or offering an alternative treatment option. Basically, we are using pills as bandaid, to cover the wounds, and nothing more.
Things need to change, and now is the time. I am part of that change, and I invite you to join me in making both alternative and traditional medicine affordable and accessible to all. Together we can make this bill a legislative priority and help get it passed!
Contact your representatives, make a call, be heard!
Tell them you support H.24 and want to see it passed!
If you believe in plant medicine, and/or the power of alternative therapies, please, do your part, speak up, and reach out to your local legislators and representatives.
Unlike bigger states, In Vermont we have the unique ability to be heard, and make a difference. A few dozen phone calls can - and will - make changes happen! Please join me, and together, we can help patients get better access to holistic, alternative and complementary medicine.
Phone calls are a powerful way to contact your legislator, but if that makes you uncomfortable, you can always write a letter or an email. Just be sure to personalize it, and write from your own experience and perspective. Legislators know when something is copied, pasted, or automatically generated, and those kinds of communications carry less weight.
If you need some help, here’s a basic template for writing your elected officials:
The Honorable [name of official]
Vermont [State Senate or House Representatives]
115 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05633
Thank you for your efforts to help complementary and alternative health care services more affordable and accessible to patients.
[2-3 sentences about yourself and your affiliations]
[2-3 sentences about why you advocate for insurance coverage of complementary and alternative health care services.]
[2-3 sentences about why you believe they should approve the Bill H.24]