Maryland Passes Law to License Naturopathic Doctors!
On April 14, 2014, Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law a bill allowing for the licensure of naturopathic doctors in the state of Maryland making Maryland the 18th licensed state for NDs in the U.S. The first licenses will be issued to NDs by March 1, 2016.
What does it take to get a state licensed? In the case of Maryland, passing legislation to license naturopathic doctors began with a string of fortunate events leading to the initial bill introduction four years ago, securing strong sponsors in the legislature, and finding our committed lobbyist, Jim McComb, who skillfully advocated for our cause. The next crucial component of success was developing a Team of NDs in the state who were willing to devote an incalculable amount of time, energy and resources into seeing this goal through from start to finish. Achieving our victory would not have been possible without the dedication of Drs. Stephany Porter, Kevin Passero, Carrie Runde, Kristaps Paddock, Erin Kinney and Angela Diop who joined me in dozens of conference calls, tag-teamed on numerous presentations to health care groups, organized successful fundraisers and Lobby Days, and at times dropped everything to attend pivotal meetings with legislators in Annapolis.
The amount of support that the Maryland Association of Naturopathic Physicians (MDANP) received from our naturopathic community and patients throughout this journey was remarkably generous. The MDANP extends a heartfelt thanks to all of those who offered guest testimony, answered our last-minute calls and provided expert guidance along the way.
Under the new law, naturopathic doctors will be licensed under the Maryland Board of Physicians with a Naturopathic Advisory Committee formed under the Board to support regulation. The scope of practice for NDs will include the ability to “diagnose and treat” using physical exam, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and EKGs. Naturopathic doctors in Maryland will be able to order and dispense naturopathic therapies and use physical medicine techniques include naturopathic mobilization (up to Grade IV manipulation). The law will also offer title protection and clearly define the level of education needed to become eligible for licensure.
Achieving licensure for naturopathic medicine takes more than a well-organized legislative packet or a convincing testimony, it takes teamwork that highlights the gifts and talents of individuals who are united towards a common goal. I could not be more proud of my colleagues from the MDANP in how we pulled together to overcome the opposition and allowed the spirit and integrity of our medicine to prevail.