Naturopathic Licensure in Maryland: Legislative Update

March 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

This is the first year that legislation has been introduced to license the practice of naturopathic medicine in Maryland by the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians. The bill, as written, would allow naturopathic physicians who have graduated from an accredited naturopathic medical school (accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education) to practice as primary care physicians. Without licensure, Maryland residents do not have a clear way to differentiate from naturopaths who received their training through on-line correspondence courses from non-accredited schools and those of us practitioners who completed pre-medical prerequisite coursework, graduated from accredited 4-year naturopathic medical schools, and passed rigorous licensing exams. Licensure of naturopathic physicians in Maryland will also help to address the growing shortage of primary care practitioners in the State and bring a greater focus to chronic disease prevention in primary care settings.

HB 1100 was heard by the Health and Government Operations Committee in the House of Delgates on Tuesday March 8th and SB 560 was heard by the Education, Health & Environmental Affairs Committee in the Senate on Wednesday March 9th. We were grateful to have as part of our testimony panel Dr. David Schleich, President of National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon and Karen Howard, Executive Director of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. In addition, we had several patients who have experienced great benefit from naturopathic medicine share their healing stories with the legislators. While our testimony was generally well-received in both the House and Senate, the voice of opposition from the Board of Physicians and the Maryland Medical Society had significant influence in halting further movement of our bill this session.

The next steps in this process require continued education of the legislators, the Board of Physicians, and the Maryland Medical Society regarding the vital role that naturopathic medicine can play in strengthening the delivery of quality health care in Maryland. The Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians plans to continue a dialogue with groups who opposed our bill over the next several months so that we may move forward with greater success during the 2012 legislative session.

Special thanks to all of the patients and healthcare practitioners who wrote letters of support to encourage passage of this bill and to our gentle-hearted, yet brilliantly-minded lobbyist Jim McComb for his tireless efforts on our behalf.

Entry filed under: Community Updates.



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