There were just a few bills added to our roster this week, but it does include that rare attempt to actually curb the normally expansive scope of practice enjoyed by CAM practitioners.
Hawaii licenses naturopaths who graduated from an accredited naturopathic "medical school" and allows them a broad scope of practice. Unfortunately, this includes prescription privileges for drugs listed in a formulary devised by the naturopathic board. And there are some real drugs in this formulary, including anti-depressants, steroids, anti-coagulants, and drugs for impotence. With additional training, naturopaths can administer drugs IV and IM. This being naturopathy, injection privileges includes
A new bill filed in Hawaii would require naturopaths to have the same education, examination, and training as MD and DO physicians before they can prescribe, administer or dispense the drugs in their formulary. Fortunately, the bill would leave it up to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, not the naturopathic board, to decide what might fulfill these new requirements.
Never thought I'd see the day when a legislator realized that, if you are going to be allowed to do the same things as medical doctors, you need to have the same education and training as medical doctors, and you should take the same exams to help insure your competency in these skills. Thank you Senator Green! Seems simple enough, but apparently, to date, all naturopaths have had to do is to tell state legislators they attend
Needless to say, the Hawaii Society of Naturopathic Physicians is upset about this development and is urging naturopaths to attend a January 27th committee hearing and voice their opposition. In sample testimony suggested by the Society, naturopaths are urged to tell the legislators that
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct profession with its own educational, examination and training requirements that have been found to be equivalent in breadth and depth to those of conventionally trained physicians.
Really? Who made that finding? They don't tell us.
Lest your hopes for bringing some sanity to CAM provider legislation be unduly buoyed, we report this week on companion bills filed to license naturopaths in another state, Maryland, and a bill to expand the scope of chiropractic practice, in Hawaii.
One step forward, two steps back.