MANCHESTER — U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., shared her affinity for naturopathic medicine with the staff at Emerson Ecologics in Manchester on Tuesday, as she toured the Elm Street offices of the company that distributes nutritional supplements, vitamins and other non-prescription health products.
The company employs 65 workers in Manchester, 40 at a distribution center in Virginia and another 35 at a distribution and call center in California. It specializes in servicing the naturopathic and chiropractic market, although 21 percent of its business is with medical doctors.
The First District representative wanted to hear about the success of the company, which is growing at a rate of about 15 percent a year, according to CEO Andy Greenawalt. It’s one of several companies owned by Liberty Lane Partners, based in Hampton.
While she came to discuss the economy, job creation and the health-care industry, Shea-Porter also shared a personal account of her husband’s struggle with diabetes and her interest in the services Emerson Ecologics provides.
“There has been so much resistance through the decades to naturopathic and chiropractic medicine,” she said. “It’s amazing where we are now, compared to then, and the explosion of knowledge and effective treatments. This is not crazy science.”
Jaclyn Chasse, the company’s medical director and herself a naturopathic doctor, said the products and training that the company offers are designed to work in tandem with healthy living and traditional medicine.
“We can’t claim that dietary supplements treat disease,” she said. “That’s why they’re called supplements. They work to supplement the good practices in your life.”
She told Shea-Porter the company is optimistic about provisions in the Affordable Care Act that will take effect in January 2014, enhancing opportunities for licensed health-care providers who are not medical doctors.
The Non-Discrimination in Health Care section of the law requires that if a service is covered when provided by one type of licensed provider, it must be covered by other providers licensed to offer the same service.
She used as an example a pap smear, which in some policies would be covered if done by a medical doctor, but not by a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant licensed to do the same procedure.
“It’s a very small paragraph in a very big document,” she said, “but it will have a significant impact on our industry.”
Shea-Porter asked how the company weathered the recession.
“We saw virtually no slowdown,” Greenawalt said. “Consumption of supplements has increased as people become more concerned about preventative health care and keeping health costs down.”