Naturopathic docs should be licensed
I was frustrated that the July 18 letter on alternative medicine (“Protect alternative health access”) repeats incorrect information about efforts to license naturopathic doctors in Colorado.
Currently, there are no standards governing who can call themselves a naturopathic doctor in the state, which means that someone who’s taken a three-month course over the Internet and someone who’s gone to a four-year post-graduate naturopathic medical school can both call themselves naturopathic doctors, even though they have vastly different levels of education and training in natural medicine. This just doesn’t make sense.
The bill that failed in the Legislature last spring would have required anyone practicing as a naturopathic doctor to obtain a license. Licenses would only be given to those who had gone to four-year naturopathic medical schools that are accredited by the U.S. Department of Education and had passed all their board examinations.
Licensing naturopathic doctors wouldn’t have stopped any other alternative medicine practitioners from practicing, it just would require someone who practices as a naturopathic doctor to obtain a license. Other alternative medicine experts ” homeopaths, herbalists, massage therapists, etc. ” wouldn’t have been effected by the bill.
This bill was intended to protect consumers who seek out naturopathic medical care. Right now, it’s incredibly difficult for consumers to know what they’re getting when they go to a naturopathic doctor, since just about anyone can call themselves an N.D. If consumers are entrusting their health to someone calling themselves a “doctor,” then they have the right to know that their practitioner meets the profession’s highest standards.
I dearly hope that the Colorado Legislature takes action on this issue next year and passes legislation that would regulate the practice of naturopathic medicine in the state.
Hilary Back, N.D., L.Ac.
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