Good news, bad news for Coloradans

Good news, bad news for Coloradans

Last year, legislation passed in Colorado permitting naturopathic doctors who graduate from naturopathic "medical schools" to practice. All the usual pseudo-scientific naturopathic diagnoses and treatments are allowed.  Coloradans will now find themselves diagnosed with diseases of which they were previously unaware, such as chronic yeast overgrowth and adrenal fatigue. The reason for their new diagnoses is not some medical breakthrough, but the fact that NDs made up them up.  Having created these diseases, the NDs can then proceed to treat patients with the faux diagnoses with dietary supplements, homeopathy, colonic irrigation and the like. They can also employ real prescription drugs as long as the drugs are listed on the naturopathic formulary.

Another bill passed which allows pretty much anyone (convicted felons included) to practice medicine. Except they don't call it "medicine."  They call it "complementary and alternative health care services." The bill provides a safe harbor from prosecution for the unlicensed practice of medicine. No education or training is required to offer these services.  In fact, the practitioner can simply make up a treatment and legally sell it to the public. Or he could employ a ready-made fabrication like reiki, therapeutic touch, iridology and the like. 

Thankfully, under the new law, NDs cannot treat children under 2 years old. If the child is between 2 and 8, the ND had to advise parents to have a relationship with an MD or DO who practices pediatrics.  In addition, the ND must advise parents of the current recommended vaccination schedule and that the Department of Health and Human Services recommends the schedule be followed.  NDs are required to have 3 hours of continuing education each year in pediatrics.  The same limitation on patient age and requiring recommendation that the pediatric patient see a doctor applies to complementary and alternative health care services practitioners.

Colorado Senate Bill 14-032 would do away with all of these important patient protections. NDs and CAM practitioners could see babies with any disease or condition. NDs could spout their anti-vaccination rhetoric to parents, sell them dietary supplements for their children, treat young children with homeopathic remedies, and diagnose these children with their fabricated diseases. For example, "food sensitivities" (as opposed to medically recognized food allergies) is a favorite, requiring children to avoid certain foods for no good reason.

In addition, as a sop to traditional naturopaths, who were left out of last year's ND law, Sentate Bill 14-128 would allow them to practice if they met certain requirements. These traditional naturopaths have not graduated from naturopathic "medical schools" and generally don't pretend they are primary care practitioners with the same qualifications as MDs and DOs.

But all is not bleak.  Senate Bill 14-128 would take away ND prescription privileges, granted just last year. As well, they could not perform minor office procedures. This is the second bill we've seen this year which attempts to push back against ND prescribing privileges, the other being a bill introduced in Hawaii to require the same education and training for NDs as MDs and DOs if they want to prescribe medications.

For a look at other CAM practitioner bills pending in the U.S., see "Legislative Updates," which includes bills introduced during the past week. 

Bring Out Your Science
Acupuncture as Gamma-hydroxybutyrate

Related Posts