Although naturopathic doctors (NDs) have been providing medical care to veterans who pay out of pocket for decades, a contract signed with a naturopathic clinic in Washington marks the first time that the VHA (Veterans Health Administration), or any federal payor, has recognized NDs as an eligible provider type. This is a life-changing win for veterans, a significant milestone for the naturopathic profession, and a history-making moment for Bastyr University alumnus John Finnell, ND.
In addition to the contract credentialing an ND clinic to provide care to veterans, the VHA has also hired NDs to oversee two of its Whole Health initiative flagship locations: John S. Finnell, ND, MPH, LAc, at the South Texas Veterans Health Administration in San Antonio, TX; and Teri Davis, ND, at the Tucson, AZ VHA facility.
“This is a great partnership between naturopathic physicians and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to support the health and wellness of our nation’s veterans,” said Arianna Staruch, ND, Dean of Bastyr’s School of Naturopathic Medicine. “In addition, it provides exciting opportunities for our graduates to provide individualized care for veterans experiencing chronic health concerns.”
The VHA is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care nationwide to nine million enrolled veterans each year; the number of individuals who ultimately stand to gain from expanding contracted services to cover care by NDs is astounding.
Whole-person health means a tremendous amount to us at Bastyr. It is the cornerstone of our education, in which students receive the training they need to make a healthier world for all.
“Veterans who want to see a physician trained in non-drug, drug, and nutritional options for a full range of conditions can finally do so,” said Kasra Pournadeali, ND, Bastyr alumnus and former president of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) who has played a pivotal role in introducing naturopathic care to the VA.
For more information, visit https://bastyr.edu.