Background information: Currently, eleven states license naturopathic medicine (Alaska, Arizona, Conneticut, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington). Other states have naturopathic licensing bills pending.
There’s some controversy in the alternative health care community regarding naturopathic state licensing bills. Naturopathic licensing bills apply to individuals who have received a naturopathic doctorate from an accredited naturopathic university. These schools are only available in states that currently license naturopathic medicine.
Those arguing in favor of these bills say they are needed to allow ND’s that have been trained to do medical practices (such as giving an intravenous drip (IV), stitching a wound, or lancing a boil) the freedom to practice to the full scope of their training. In states in which naturopathy is not licensed, ND’s are prohibited from these practices - thus limiting the nature of the care they can provide to individuals with advanced illness. This is especially true in cancer care, in which IV’s with high concentrations of vitamin C, antioxidants, and other immune system support supplements are commonly used.
Those arguing against these licensing bills argue that most licensing bills include an exclusivity clause, which, if the bill passes, would preclude other complementary and alternative health care practitioners from practicing. This would include all traditionally trained naturopaths, aroma-therapists, nutritionists, homeopaths, and herbalists who have not graduated from an accredited naturopathic university. In addition, opposition groups argue that the healing arts should remain within the public domain, and that because most modalities are extremely safe, their practice should not be subject to regulation. Some
Obviously, both groups have valid concerns. Having said this, Cancer Cure Foundation includes mention here of the California naturopathic licensing bill. For information on other state licensing bills, see www.naturopathic.org.
California ND Licensing: “The California Association of Naturopathic Physician’s (CANP's) proposed legislation to license Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) to practice in California was released in October 2001 in the form of a pre-print bill, submitted by Senator Don Perata (D-Oakland). A pre-print bill allows the CANP to negotiate details of the proposed legislation with various stakeholders before formal introduction next session. The bill accomplishes these major goals:”
1. “Defines the qualifications for a practitioner to use the title Naturopathic Doctor/Physician.”
2. “Defines a scope of practice based on education and examination”
3. “Provides the ability to legally prevent, diagnose and treat patients”
4. “Provides an independent practice status”
5. “Does not restrict access to any practitioner or therapy”
For more details, see the CANP website, www.canp.org.
Under S.B. 577
S.B. 577 Update December 2001 - “The CHFC made an excellent and well-received presentation of their bill, SB577, during a Senate Hearing on alternative medicine that took place on October 23 in Sacramento. CHFC secretary David Palmer first presented the overall rationale and approach behind SB577. Namely, that as long as a person does not perform a potentially dangerous medical procedure or harm anyone, he or she should not be considered to be practicing medicine without a license. In essence, SB577 would narrow the scope of the Medical Practice Act -- which currently covers anything that anyone could possibly do to heal someone -- to only those medical practices that are potentially dangerous. David's presentation was followed by that of board member Amy Lansky, who described her son's recovery from autism due to homeopathic treatment. Amy made a strong and stirring case for how alternative healing therapies are truly needed in California.”
“The October 23 hearing was called by Senator Liz Figueroa, chair of the Senate Business and Professions Committee -- the committee that regulates medical practice in the state. She initiated the hearing because she has strong interest in complementary and alternative medicine and recognizes that there are currently problems surrounding this issue in California. During the hearing, testimony was given by various groups including: the naturopathic physicians who are seeking a licensing law for their form of practice; groups who are opposed to licensing approaches to alternative medicine; the CHFC; insurance industry representatives; and a few doctors who feel they have been unfairly prosecuted by the medical board because they use alternative methods.” (from the chfc web-stie)
The CHFC expects SB 577 to be reviewed by the Senate Business and Professions Committee in late January/early February 2002. See the CHFC website for more details - www.californiahealthfreedom.org.
S.B. 2100 Update December 2001 - California Citizens for Health presented testimony at the October 23rd California Senate Business & Professional Committee Hearing on Alternative Medicine. (This was an informational hearing organized by Senator Liz Figueroa’s office and included testimony from a number of groups on a range of issues related to alternative medicine in California. (e.g. MD right to practice alternative medicine (SB2100), naturopathic physician licensing, and narrowing the scope of the Medical Practice Act (SB 577). Most likely additional informational hearings on legislative issues related to alternative medicine in California will follow in the coming year. To order a videotape of the hearing, see www.citizenshealth.org/video.htm.
California Citizens for Health also submitted a list of recommendations to the California Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee on December 4, 2001. The recommendations pertain to the California Medical Board’s policies for dealing with physicians in private practice that are using alternative methods. For details, see www.citizenshealth.org/recommend.htm.
Licensed practitioners granted freedom to provide complementary and alternative therapies (enacted March, 2001):
Senate bill1324 passed both houses after a barnstorm session of committee hearings and votes. House bill 1077 by Rep. Connie Mack and Senate bill1324 by Senator Durell Peaden, M.D. were introduced on 3/9/01. Senator Charlie Clary Co-Sponsored. (Both Senators Peaden and Clary serve on the Senate Health, Aging, and Long-Term Care Committee, and Senator Clary chaired the Committee for the past two years).
Special thanks to Julie Hilton, a lawyer/mediator turned lobbyist in the crunch, and to Florida Citizens for Health.
Senate bill 1324 authorizes provision of and access to complementary or alternative health care treatments; requires patients to be provided with certain information regarding such treatments; revises Florida’s Patient's Bill of Rights & Responsibilities to include right to access any mode of treatment patient
The new law requires that practitioners offering alternative treatments disclose specific information to their patients before providing care:
“(3) COMMUNICATION OF TREATMENT ALTERNATIVES.--A health care practitioner who offers to provide a patient with a complementary or alternative health care treatment must inform the patient of the nature of the treatment and must explain the benefits and risks associated with the treatment to the extent necessary for the patient to make an informed and prudent decision regarding such treatment option. In compliance with this subsection: “
”(a) The health care practitioner must inform the patient of the practitioner's education, experience, and credentials in relation to the complementary or alternative health care treatment option.”
”(b) The health care practitioner may, in his or her discretion, communicate the information orally or in written form directly to the patient or to the patient's legal representative.”
”(c) The health care practitioner may, in his or her discretion and without restriction, recommend any mode of treatment that is, in his or her judgment, in the best interests of the patient, including complementary or alternative health care treatments, in accordance with the provisions of his or her license.”
To view the full text for the bill, see www.faim.org/news.htm#FL.
On May 11th, 2000, Governor Jesse Ventura signed the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Freedom of Access bill into law.
This law grants a right of practice for unlicensed complementary health care providers. It also provides enforcement mechanisms to protect the public from fraud and harm.
The law requires complementary health care providers to present a patient bill of rights to their patients, as well as disclose in writing background information about their training and practice. The law went into effect in Minnesota as of July, 2001.
Special thanks to attorney Diane Miller and Advocate Jerry Johnson for their efforts in getting this bill written, negotiated and passed.
For further information or to view the text of the bill, see http://www.minnesotanaturalhealth.org.
MN Natural Health Coalition,
3236 17th Ave. South, #1
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Conflict between the NV Board of Homeopathic Medical Examiners and the NV State Board of Medical Examiners has resulted in Regulations by the regular board to allow their licensees, MDs, DOs and physician assistants, to use CAM therapies under certain conditions.
In early Spring, the Homeopathic Board proposed regulations that would have expanded the scope of "homeopathic" practices overseen by that Board to include a number of CAM therapies other than Hahnamanian homeopathy, such as EDTA Chelation, herbal, vitamin and nutritional treatments, along with 'trigger point,' 'thought field' and many other therapies.
Public debate resulted in the regular board appealing the homeopathic board's regulations to the legislature. On August 22, 2000 a legislative committee overturned the Homeopathic Board's regulations ruling that the regulations went beyond the scope of traditional homeopathy and exceeded the intention of law.
Meanwhile, the regular Board reviewed their regulations and replaced a provision prohibiting treatment "in a manner not recognized scientifically as being beneficial" with new provision permitting CAM under several conditions, among them:
· A licensee shall not practice medicine by utilizing any means or instrumentality that has a risk for a patient that is unreasonably greater than the means or instrumentality ordinarily utilized by physicians in good standing practicing in the same specialty or field or that is provided as a substitute for conventional treatment that has proven to be of substantial benefit to the patient.
· Prior to offering advice about the means or instrumentality of treatment, the licensee shall undertake an assessment of the patient. This assessment should include but not be limited to, conventional methods of diagnosis ordinarily utilized by physicians in good standing practicing in the same specialty or field, and may include non-conventional methods of diagnosis which shall be documented in the patient’s chart.
· Documentation as to whether such conventional treatment options ordinarily utilized by physicians in good standing practicing in the same specialty or field have been discussed with the patient and shall include referral input, if necessary.
To view the complete text for the regulations, see www.faim.org/states.htm#NV.
The Ohio health freedom bill was signed into law on July 10, 2000 by Governor Bob Taft. House Bill 90 http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=123_HB_90 by Rep. George Terwilleger (R), passed the Ohio House of Representatives 88-0 on October 13, 1999. It has now been replaced by the Senate version of the bill SB 125, by Charles Horn (R) which passed the Senate on May 24. On May 25 the House concurred to the senate version. The new law reads as follows:
AN INDIVIDUAL AUTHORIZED TO PRACTICE MEDICINE AND SURGERY OR OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE AND SURGERY MAY USE ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL TREATMENTS IF THE PHYSICIAN PROVIDES THE NECESSARY INFORMATION IN ORDER TO OBTAIN INFORMED CONSENT FROM THE PATIENT AND THE TREATMENT MEETS THE STANDARDS ENFORCED BY THE STATE MEDICAL BOARD PURSUANT TO SECTION 4731.22 OF THE REVISED CODE AND ANY RULES ADOPTED BY THE BOARD.
AS USED IN THIS SECTION, "ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL TREATMENT" MEANS CARE THAT IS COMPLIMENTARY TO OR DIFFERS FROM CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL CARE BUT IS REASONABLE WHEN THE BENEFITS AND RISKS OF THE ALTERNATIVE MEDICAL TREATMENT AND THE CONVENTIONAL CARE ARE COMPARED.
Special thanks to Ohio lobbyist Thomas Pappas.
Supporters had presented in favor of HB.90 in three hearings before the House Health Retirement and Aging Committee which amended the bill before reporting it for a floor vote in the house. Opponents provided testimony as well on two occasions.
In the last session, Terwilliger introduced HB772 and Nancy Chiles Dix (R, Athens), vice chair of the Senate Energy, Natural Resources & Environment Committee introduced the companion Senate bill SB138.
The legislation was advocated by the Ohio Coalition for Patient's Rights (OCPR), which includes several groups, among them the nation's oldest continuous state Homeopathic Medical Society.
For more information, contact the OCPR.
Ohio Coalition for Patient's Rights
P.O. Box 14
Bluffton, Ohio 15817
The Lousiana legislature passed a statute in July 1999 which authorizes the use of chelating agents and chelation thearapy by licensed physicians. To view the text of the statue, see www.faim.org/states.htm#la.
The Professions and Occupations statute for South Dakota was modified in July of 1993 to allow for physicians to practice chelation. To view the text of the statute, see www.faim.org/states.htm#sd.